Job 29-31 When the friendship of God was upon my tent

From Job 29-31

18 Job three friends

In today’s passage Job speaks about his life before. He was blessed by the LORD in a number of ways. Read more about the ways in which he was blessed by the LORD. See how his current suffering has changed all this for Job and what Jesus says about suffering as well.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Today’s reading is Job’s last argument against his friends.

29 And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

2 “Oh, that I were as in the months of old,

as in the days when God watched over me,

3 when his lamp shone upon my head,

and by his light I walked through darkness,

4 as I was in my prime,

when the friendship of God was upon my tent,

5 when the Almighty was yet with me,

when my children were all around me,

6 when my steps were washed with butter,

and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!

7 When I went out to the gate of the city,

when I prepared my seat in the square, (Job 29.1-7)

Job looks back to when he was in his prime. Of note he remembers when God watched over him and blessed him. He highly regards the presence of the LORD. Job refers to God’s blessing in a number of ways. Children, butter, oil and a position of regard in the community.

What are ways in which you believe God blesses people today?

Having his step ‘washed with butter’ seems an interesting expression.

8 the young men saw me and withdrew,

and the aged rose and stood;

9 the princes refrained from talking

and laid their hand on their mouth;

10 the voice of the nobles was hushed,

and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.

11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed,

and when the eye saw, it approved, (Job 29.8-11)

The people respected Job. In normally the aged, the princes and the nobles would be above him in social rank. But instead Job was higher up.

Are you aware of some sort of pecking order in your community?

There are reasons why Job was highly regarded in his community.

12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help,

and the fatherless who had none to help him.

13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,

and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

my justice was like a robe and a turban.

15 I was eyes to the blind

and feet to the lame.

16 I was a father to the needy,

and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.

17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous

and made him drop his prey from his teeth. (Job 29.12-17)

Job had many good works. He helped the poor, the fatherless, the widows and the needy. He punished the unrighteous. Not tolerating their works. Job uses a clothing analogy to describe his behaviour. He ‘put on righteousness’. Which refers to his good works in helping the people and standing against evil.

How do you understand the concept of righteousness? Does it motivate you to live like Job?

18 Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,

and I shall multiply my days as the sand,

19 my roots spread out to the waters,

with the dew all night on my branches,

20 my glory fresh with me,

and my bow ever new in my hand.’ (Job 29.18-20)

Job thought he would continue to prosper. He rejoiced in his behaviour and the blessing God had given him.

How his situation has changed. The righteous suffer as well.

His dialogue will reflect this change describing the reception he received from people now. People laugh at him. Younger men treat him without respect. He has become a telltale of what happens when someone sins. Once again he points the finger at God and laments his physical condition (Job 30).

Job describes a series of sins that had he done he would have accepted the punishment for. ‘If I had done this or that, then I would have been punished appropriately’. But Job is not aware of any sins (Job 31).

Story of Jesus

Job’s story reminds us that living the way God wants us to does not guarantee a life free of suffering. There were times when Job prospered and no doubt this was from the LORD. But Job reminds us his people should also be ready to endure hardship and adversity.

Jesus warns us about this in the gospel.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Mt 10:34–39)

We need to remember following Jesus involves giving up and letting go of the things of this world.

Job never lost the things that count. He still knew the LORD. He still hung on to his integrity. He lamented the loss of worldly riches. Its through his story that we and him realize what is important in life.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.