January 11, Job 29-31

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29 Job continued his discourse, saying:

If only I could be as in months gone by,
in the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone above my head,
and I walked through darkness by his light!
I would be as I was in the days of my youth
when God’s friendship rested on my tent,
when the Almighty was still with me
and my children were around me,
when my feet were bathed in curds
and the rock poured out streams of oil for me!

When I went out to the city gate
and took my seat in the town square,
the young men saw me and withdrew,
while older men stood to their feet.
City officials stopped talking
and covered their mouths with their hands.
10 The noblemen’s voices were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
11 When they heard me, they blessed me,
and when they saw me, they spoke well of me.[a]
12 For I rescued the poor who cried out for help,
and the fatherless child who had no one to support him.
13 The dying blessed me,
and I made the widow’s heart rejoice.
14 I clothed myself in righteousness,
and it enveloped me;
my just decisions were 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 examined the case of the stranger.
17 I shattered the fangs of the unjust
and snatched the prey from his teeth.

18 So I thought, “I will die in my own nest
and multiply my days as the sand.[b]
19 My roots will have access to water,
and the dew will rest on my branches all night.
20 My whole being will be refreshed within me,
and my bow will be renewed in my hand.”

21 Men listened to me with expectation,
waiting silently for my advice.
22 After a word from me they did not speak again;
my speech settled on them like dew.
23 They waited for me as for the rain
and opened their mouths as for spring showers.
24 If I smiled at them, they couldn’t believe it;
they were thrilled at[c] the light of my countenance.
25 I directed their course and presided as chief.
I lived as a king among his troops,
like one who comforts those who mourn.

30 But now they mock me,
men younger than I am,
whose fathers I would have refused to put
with my sheep dogs.
What use to me was the strength of their hands?
Their vigor had left them.
Emaciated from poverty and hunger,
they gnawed the dry land,
the desolate wasteland by night.
They plucked mallow[d] among the shrubs,
and the roots of the broom tree were their food.
They were banished from human society;
people shouted at them as if they were thieves.
They are living on the slopes of the wadis,
among the rocks and in holes in the ground.
They bray among the shrubs;
they huddle beneath the thistles.
Foolish men, without even a name.
They were forced to leave the land.

Now I am mocked by their songs;
I have become an object of scorn to them.
10 They despise me and keep their distance from me;
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
11 Because God has loosened my[e] bowstring and oppressed me,
they have cast off restraint in my presence.
12 The rabble[f] rise up at my right;
they trap[g] my feet
and construct their siege ramp[h] against me.
13 They tear up my path;
they contribute to my destruction,
without anyone to help them.
14 They advance as through a gaping breach;
they keep rolling in through the ruins.
15 Terrors are turned loose against me;
they chase my dignity away like the wind,
and my prosperity has passed by like a cloud.

16 Now my life is poured out before me,
and days of suffering have seized me.
17 Night pierces my bones,
but my gnawing pains never rest.
18 My clothing is distorted with great force;
he chokes me by the neck of my garment.[i]
19 He throws me into the mud,
and I have become like dust and ashes.

20 I cry out to you for help, but you do not answer me;
when I stand up, you merely look at me.
21 You have turned against me with cruelty;
you harass me with your strong hand.
22 You lift me up on the wind and make me ride it;
you scatter me in the storm.
23 Yes, I know that you will lead me to death—
the place appointed for all who live.

24 Yet no one would stretch out his hand
against a ruined person[j]
when he cries out to him for help
because of his distress.
25 Have I not wept for those who have fallen on hard times?
Has my soul not grieved for the needy?
26 But when I hoped for good, evil came;
when I looked for light, darkness came.
27 I am churning within[k] and cannot rest;
days of suffering confront me.
28 I walk about blackened, but not by the sun.[l]
I stood in the assembly and cried out for help.
29 I have become a brother to jackals
and a companion of ostriches.
30 My skin blackens and flakes off,[m]
and my bones burn with fever.
31 My lyre is used for mourning
and my flute for the sound of weeping.

31 I have made a covenant with my eyes.
How then could I look at a young woman?[n]
For what portion would I have from God above,
or what inheritance from the Almighty on high?
Doesn’t disaster come to the unjust
and misfortune to evildoers?
Does he not see my ways
and number all my steps?

If I have walked in falsehood
or my foot has rushed to deceit,
let God weigh me on accurate scales,
and he will recognize my integrity.

If my step has turned from the way,
my heart has followed my eyes,
or impurity has stained my hands,
let someone else eat what I have sown,
and let my crops be uprooted.

If my heart has gone astray over a woman
or I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
10 let my own wife grind grain for another man,
and let other men sleep with[o] her.
11 For that would be a disgrace;
it would be an iniquity deserving punishment.
12 For it is a fire that consumes down to Abaddon;
it would destroy my entire harvest.

13 If I have dismissed the case of my male or female servants
when they made a complaint against me,
14 what could I do when God stands up to judge?
How should I answer him when he calls me to account?
15 Did not the one who made me in the womb also make them?
Did not the same God form us both in the womb?

16 If I have refused the wishes of the poor
or let the widow’s eyes go blind,
17 if I have eaten my few crumbs alone
without letting the fatherless eat any of it—
18 for from my youth, I raised him as his father,
and since the day I was born[p] I guided the widow—
19 if I have seen anyone dying for lack of clothing
or a needy person without a cloak,
20 if he[q] did not bless me
while warming himself with the fleece from my sheep,
21 if I ever cast my vote[r] against a fatherless child
when I saw that I had support in the city gate,
22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my back,
and my arm be pulled from its socket.
23 For disaster from God terrifies me,
and because of his majesty I could not do these things.

24 If I placed my confidence in gold
or called fine gold my trust,
25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth is great
or because my own hand has acquired so much,
26 if I have gazed at the sun when it was shining
or at the moon moving in splendor,
27 so that my heart was secretly enticed
and I threw them a kiss,[s]
28 this would also be an iniquity deserving punishment,
for I would have denied God above.

29 Have I rejoiced over my enemy’s distress,
or become excited when trouble came his way?
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin
by asking for his life with a curse.
31 Haven’t the members of my household said,
“Who is there who has not had enough to eat at Job’s table?”
32 No stranger had to spend the night on the street,
for I opened my door to the traveler.
33 Have I covered my transgressions as others do[t]
by hiding my iniquity in my heart
34 because I greatly feared the crowds
and because the contempt of the clans terrified me,
so I grew silent and would not go outside?

35 If only I had someone to hear my case!
Here is my signature; let the Almighty answer me.
Let my Opponent compose his indictment.
36 I would surely carry it on my shoulder
and wear it like a crown.
37 I would give him an account of all my steps;
I would approach him like a prince.

38 If my land cries out against me
and its furrows join in weeping,
39 if I have consumed its produce without payment
or shown contempt for its tenants,[u]
40 then let thorns grow instead of wheat
and stinkweed instead of barley.

The words of Job are concluded.

We see in Job 30 that all respect for Job has faded. Job states that younger men are mocking him and they despise him. Remember, Job is an upright and righteous man, as declared by God. This is not a situation in which Job brought this mockery upon himself. Yet, God is doing something in his midst, even as people are mocking him. Even when Job is at his lowest point, God is still working and moving.

Sometimes we can feel as if God has grown silent. We can feel as if God has left us to fight our battles all alone. Just know that God has not. This is a recurring theme throughout the discourse in the book of Job. Stay strong in your faith today because God is working.

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