Job 31:1-23: Suffer and Bleed for Us
December 8, 2018
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Job is now coming towards the end of his final defense. In this first section of this ending part of his final defense, the section we are looking at today, Job lists the things that he has not done. He is describing how he has acted in ways that are righteous beyond what many people do in their own lives. Job’s point, again, is that he has not done anything specifically evil to merit the kind of suffering that he is experiencing. Once again, we are learning that some suffering comes in this world whether we deserve it specifically or not. All of us are sinners, and in rebellion against God we all deserve the just judgment of a wrathful God, in hell for all eternity. That somber truth taken fully into account, we still must acknowledge (or else hide our eyes from facts) that sometimes wicked people in this world prosper, and sometimes people who play the game of life according to the rules do not prosper, but even suffer greatly.
Why is this? What is the answer to the so-called “problem of suffering”? Job is wrestling with all this. The very fact that he is doing so, that this Book of Job even exists in the Bible, will be of great comfort to many people. What other book in the whole world that affirms the love of a sovereign God is also so frank about the sufferings of relatively speaking good people? The reason why the Bible can be so frank is because it does have an answer to this often cited “problem of suffering.” And that answer, explored by Job, but not fully and finally fulfilled in his life, lands at the feet of Calvary, is embraced in the bloodied hands of the Savior, and is washed clean by the tears of our beloved Lord and Crucified King, Jesus himself. If you, dear one, are wrestling with suffering today, if it is personal for you today, wrestle along with Job. And then go where Job could only hope, but you can believe through the revealed Word of God in the New Testament. Go to the cross, and there lay your burdens down at the feet of the nail pierced Lord.
Along the way, Job gives testimony to some remarkable principles of holiness, and discipline towards holiness, that we should not miss or skim over. He has made a covenant with his eyes. Would you do that if you have not done so already? Do not take a second look at the woman as she walks down the street. Do not linger on the Internet page with the lingerie model. Do not search for those words in the Internet browser or google them. Make a covenant with your eyes. Keep your eyes only on your wife or husband, and let all your other energy be channeled into serving God. And if you are single, then also keep a covenant with your eyes. Singleness, and the discipline it requires, is real but not exclusive to singleness. There are people who are similarly requiring discipline even with marriage: we are to love our husbands or wives in sickness and in health. At all stages of life, a covenant with your eyes is a powerful principle to control your desires.
But then, also, note how gracious Job was to those who were under his care. He took care of the poor. He did not abuse his authority. Perhaps you are a person of great power and authority. Perhaps you have the opportunity to do great good with your wealth or your influence. Be careful to steward it well. One day you will have to give an account for how you treated your staff or how you have invested your money. Take Job’s example for yours: lean over to be compassionate to the needy. When there is good to do, then do it while it is in your power to do so.
But the point of this discourse is not primarily to function as a model of holy discipline to emulate, though there is much here of that kind. The main theme is to wonder that such a man as this could suffer. And to lead us to a great wonder, that the Son of God himself could suffer and bleed for us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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