Today: [Job Thirty-One] Is God Obligated to be Fair? In this chapter we see the final and last gasp of Job’s insistence of his own righteousness. He maintains that because he is a good person (in his own view) that God is unfair to punish him. In this regard Job reveals the he and many people today as well believe that God is obligated to deal with them according to a standard that originates in the conscience of man and thereby ignoring the soveriengty of God. Do our good works require God to bless us? If so then what need of Christ?
[Job 31:1-40 KJV] 1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? 2 For what portion of God [is there] from above? and [what] inheritance of the Almighty from on high? 3 [Is] not destruction to the wicked? and a strange [punishment] to the workers of iniquity? 4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? 5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; 6 Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. 7 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; 8 [Then] let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. 9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or [if] I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door; 10 [Then] let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. 11 For this [is] an heinous crime; yea, it [is] an iniquity [to be punished by] the judges. 12 For it [is] a fire [that] consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.
In this chapter Job continues to insist upon his own righteousness. He in effect complains to God and to anyone who would hear what a good person he is and that for this reason his suffering is unwarranted. This brings up a question that is often tackled by writers regarding suffering. We tend to connect suffering with moral quality in the life of the victim. Why do bad things happen to good people? The question itself suggests that the people we would identify as good are through (erroneously) to exclude themselves from suffering by virtue of their moral excellence and good character.
In Luke 13:4-5 Jesus commented on a building collapse that killed a number of people. The people believed that the victims must have been evil sinners to have died in such a random way. Jesus corrects them for thinking bad things only happen to bad people. The opposite of this would be believing that good things happen to people because they are good or have done rightly. This is a question then of seeing events in life as being connected to temporal (or eternal for that matter) reward. He goes on to say if they didn’t change their minds about this that they would likewise perish.
It is certainly one way to look at it – that the good are rewarded and the just are punished. That is one perspective that may reflect truth but there is a deeper understanding that needs to be considered. In Gen. 2:17 let us remember that the forbidden tree was the tree of the knowledge of GOOD and evil. God does not want us to partake of or extract our understanding of the world from a comparison of moral opposites – He wants us to partake of Himself. If you eat of the tree of Good and Evil you cannot just consume the good – you are doomed to receive the whole of that food – the good and the evil. God is calling us away from those judgments and that perspective into a total reliance upon Him and obedience to His singular word. Job in this verse is partaking deeply of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in order to justify himself by a standard that does not originate in God.
13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? 16 If I have withheld the poor from [their] desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; 17 Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; 18 (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as [with] a father, and I have guided her from my mother’s womb;) 19 If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; 20 If his loins have not blessed me, and [if] he were [not] warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 21 If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: 22 [Then] let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. 23 For destruction [from] God [was] a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
Job continues complaining that he is now confused concerning his station before God in terms of his own righteousness. He doesn’t see how he can possibly stand before God if his own good works don’t count for something. He would have been benefited to spend an afternoon with the apostle Paul or reading the first seven chapters of Romans. Job thinks that his standing before God should originate in his good works. Paul in Romans 1-7 contends that man is evil in his very person therefore his works good or evil cannot justify him before God. Let us read a passage from Romans:
[Rom 3:10-20 KJV] 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14 Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.
In this passage Paul establishes man’s plight outside of Christ and why it was necessary to send Jesus to mitigate the ramifications of the fall to enable us not only to be changed in our behavior but in our very persons – becoming new creatures in Christ.
24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, [Thou art] my confidence; 25 If I rejoiced because my wealth [was] great, and because mine hand had gotten much; 26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking [in] brightness; 27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: 28 This also [were] an iniquity [to be punished by] the judge: for I should have denied the God [that is] above. 29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: 30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul. 31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. 32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: [but] I opened my doors to the traveller. 33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: 34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, [and] went not out of the door? 35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire [is, that] the Almighty would answer me, and [that] mine adversary had written a book. 36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, [and] bind it [as] a crown to me. 37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him. 38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; 39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: 40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.
Finally Job’s words are at an end. He is exhausted. He has stubbornly insisted that God is unfair to punish him because in his view he is a good person beyond the pale of any comparison to his fellow man. He is grossly in error first of all to think that God is the originator of his suffering. Further he is in error thinking that somehow by his moral character and good works that God is obligated to bless him. He is misled in believing that God’s sense of fairness must answer to the conscience of man. God is not man’s creation as Lenin suggests. God does not answer to man – rather man answers to God.
Why did all these things happen to Job? Chapter 3:35 tells us it was because of fear – rooted as we now see in a false assumption that he was protected by God because of his good works. Job has a performance based approach to God. However convinced he may have been in his mind that his good works were his fortress – somewhere in his spirit he knew better and because of this struggled with fear. God does not bless us because of who we are or what we have done. God’s favor toward us is not based upon our persons or actions but upon who Jesus is and what He did for us 2000 years ago.
Likewise in judgment – a person does not face damnation because they are immoral. Immorality and sin are symptomatic of the fallen condition. We are born in sin and therefore we are sinful in our actions. How could God judge us for sin when we have no choice in our disposition by birth to commit see and live as enemies of God? This is the misconception of Christian culture that somehow we are to concentrate on sin and decry sin and tell the world they are sinful and therefore going to hell. Again sin is symptomatic of the fallen condition. Where then is God’s judgment? The judgment of God is based not upon your fallen condtion but upon what did you do with Jesus? Just as sin is symptomatic of the fallen condition when you become a believer and draw near to Christ you will see Him and be like Him for you shall see Him as He is. Intimacy with and exposure to who God is in your life is the only thing that will change you. If as a believer you are struggling with sin it is an indicator that the real problem is a need to draw closer to Christ as a result you will be delivered of your sin debt.
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