This morning I was reading through the book of Job, which records a very fascinating story. In case you haven’t read it before, or it’s been a while, the book centers on a righteous man named Job, who loses just about everything: his children, his land, his wealth, and his health. Still, in the midst of a terrible, painful season, with a nagging wife and awful companions, he refuses to blame God for his situation. Then, in the end, God speaks, shows his power and love for Job, and restores back everything that he lost and more.
In Job 31, we read Job’s response to his companions who had just spent many chapters trying to convince him that he had done something wrong. They whole-heartedly believed that Job had committed some egregious sin to deserve his truly abysmal fate. I encourage you to read through this chapter when you have a moment and notice how upright this man was. Keep in mind, he had no reason to exaggerate or lie or make himself seem better than he was. He was at his lowest point; he was in unimaginable physical and emotional pain, so if there was a time for honesty, this was it.
Here are some of the things he says:
Verse 1: “I have made a covenant with my eyes” (if you want to know more about this, read A Covenant with my Eyes by Bob Sorge).
Verses 9-11: “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,
then let my wife grind for another,
and let others bow down on her.
For that would be a heinous crime;”
Verses 16-17, 19-22: “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the fatherless has not eaten of it
if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or the needy without covering,
if his body has not blessed me,
and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
because I saw my help in the gate,
then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.”
Verses 24-28: “If I have made gold my trust
or called fine gold my confidence,
if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant
or because my hand had found much,
if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,
and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand,
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I would have been false to God above.”
The entire chapter goes on and on like this. Job was completely assured that he was righteous. There was no doubt in his mind about his standing with God because he had lived an intentional, God-honoring life.
What I was amazed by is that this book was written before Exodus. Job existed long before Moses did, meaning that Job never heard of the 10 commandments. Job didn’t have a list of strict rules dictating how he lived his life and approached God, he got that from the character of God.
Because he walked with God, Job knew that God values purity, faithfulness, honor, generosity, and kindness. God is passionate about the needy, the widows, and the orphans, groups of people that God’s children have been tasked with caring for. Job paid close attention to the state of his heart, knowing that there was room for no one other than God in the #1 spot.
Though the Law wasn’t physically written yet, Job was able to adhere to it because he was following something greater: God’s heart. Job loved God and chose to love others in a real and practical way, though there was nothing commanding or requiring him to do so other than his conscience.
What a great reminder that we’re not called to be perfect, we’re called to love. Job’s life reminds us that by loving God and loving others, we’ll fulfill every one of the commandments and so much more.