With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (XIX. Job’s Final Defense – Chs. 29-31)

29 Jan

In these three chapters (29-31), Job continues his desperate discourse on the ways of God as he understands Him. Job has endured numerous sessions with his friends who have provoked more pain than promise.

Chapter 29: Job first of all laments his days gone by when “God watched over me” (v. 2). He reflects on “his prime” when the friendship of the Lord blessed his house, his children were around him, and his public presence was respected by all (vv. 7-10). Those were the days when Job rescued the poor, assisted the fatherless, made the widow’s heart sink (vv. 12-13).

He matter-of-factly states that he “was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame . . . a father to the needy.” And he was one who stood up to the wicked, snatching victims from their teeth (v. 17).

He had believed that he would die in his own house (not on an ash heap) and that his glory would not fade (vv. 18-20). People sought his wisdom and were overwhelmed when he smiled at them (v. 24). Perhaps as a criticism of his friends, Job says he was “like one who comforts mourners” (v. 25).

Chapter 30: But now young men mock him, avoid him, and spit in his face (vv. 1-10). They join the God who has “unstrung my bow and afflicted me” in attacking Job (vv. 11-14).

Job has lost all sense of safety and security; his life “ebbs away” (v. 16). God has reduced Job to dust and ashes (v. 19). And God answers Job only with ruthless silence, tossing him into the storm (vv. 20-22).

God shows no mercy in laying His hand on this broken man who has wept for those in trouble and grieved for the poor (vv. 24-25). Hoping for good, evil came; looking for light he received only darkness (v. 26). His suffering has blackened him; his body burns with fever. His singing has been turned to wailing (vv. 28-31).

Chapter 31: Continuing his defense of his life, Job declares that he has remained  sexually pure in his marriage: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (v 1).

Job’s expectation is that God’s judgment will bring ruin on the wicked (v. 3). He challenges the Lord to “weigh” him and see that he is blameless and not guilty of lust, or of denying justice to others, or of not sharing his food with the poor and the orphans (vv. 6-17). Job makes a wonderful pro-life statement when he asks, “Did not he who made me in the womb make them [his servants]? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?” (v. 15).

In fact, Job asks for God’s swift judgment upon himself if he has been guilty of sinning against the fatherless or the widow (vv. 16-23).

He grants that he would have been unfaithful to God on high if he had trusted in his wealth (vv. 24-25) or engaged in worshiping the sun or the moon (v. 26), or rejoiced at his enemy’s misfortune (v. 29). He states bluntly: “I have not allowed my mouth to sin” (v. 30); “I have [not] concealed my sin as people do” (v. 33).

Lastly, Job pleads with the Lord to answer him, to allow him to give an account of his every step (vv. 35-37). And then we read, “The words of Job are ended” (v. 40).

But they aren’t ended, as we will soon see.





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Posted by on January 29, 2023 in the book of Job


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