Originally published Tuesday, 17 October 2017.
Week Thirteen Study Overview: Today, we will cover a lot of ground as we study Job chapters 25-31 and look at what it takes to be righteous.
Key Point of Struggle: Bildad asks an all-important question in chapter 25 that seems to cause all of us a fair amount of contemplation: “How then can a man be righteous before God?”
Key Proof of Comfort: Though we will discuss much today, there is a key verses we will isolate to show how we can find comfort in our ability to be righteous. (Job 27:3)
I had the beautiful opportunity to attend the IF:Lead conference in Dallas, Texas last week. There was a brilliant amount of wisdom throughout the room as one-by-one humble women of God took the stage to teach. Jill Briscoe was a keynote speaker. If you aren’t familiar with her, please do yourself a favor and order her books or YouTube some of her speaking events. You won’t be sorry.
- If you haven’t read Job chapters 25-31, now would be a great time.
You can imagine how quickly I gave all my attention to her as she started speaking on the subject of Job. She wrote a book about Job and admitted that as she was preparing to write it, she had these thoughts: “Perhaps God might give me some illustrations.” I immediately began to weep because throughout this study I’ve had my fair share of horrific illustrations. However, as she spoke those words, I was reminded of something she said in a breakout session only the day before. On the topic of fear in ministry, Jill Briscoe said, “Learn to do it frightened. I’ve never done scary things unafraid. Courage is doing the right thing. There’s enough courage on the other side of obedience.”
As we read Job chapter 25, we find that Bildad makes another appearance asking a rather deep question. It’s a question we all seem to ponder at one time or another. “How then can man be righteous before God?” As I’ve said over and over again throughout this study, this time period in Biblical history is well before the cross. These men could not see how to be righteous through the blood of Jesus. Instead, these friends of Job believed only evil people were made to suffer as a consequence of their disobedience to God. Thankfully, because we are able to see grace through the shed blood of our Lord, we have the luxury of understanding their theology was misguided.
Jill Briscoe actually gave the answer to Bildad’s question in one life-changing word: obedience. Our righteousness is a result of believing in the one and only God who paid the price on the cross. It is our obedience to answer His call that defines us righteous.
In Job 26, Job reprimands Bildad for being unsupportive to him throughout his trouble. In chapter 27, I believe Job gives us the answer to Bildad’s question in his own words.
“As long as my breath is in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. Far be it from me that I should say you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live. “
Job claimed obedience to the living God at all costs. Regardless how much he suffered, he would declare righteousness. To be righteous is to be obedient.
As we move on to chapter 28, Job gives a discourse on wisdom. It is in this chapter we find another beautiful nugget to hold tightly.
And to man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.”
Job makes the point that we cannot understand why bad things happen. Though sometimes God makes us aware, there are many circumstances for which we will never have answers. We live in a fallen world, and unfortunately, it touches each one of us. There is suffering all around. Making the decision to seek God, know God, and refuse to let go of His righteousness is the only way we will survive.
Now, if you ask me, it’s when we finally arrive in chapter 29 that we see Job begin to throw a bit of a pity party for himself. He begins a defense that possibly crosses the line. For example, Job makes the following remark:
“Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me…”
Friend, I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt this way. It’s easy to feel as if God no longer watches when we face hardship, or watches and does nothing to intervene. Feelings lie. Truth says He’s always there. He is for us not against us. (See Romans 8:31)
Job was very busy defending himself to his unsupportive, misled friends, yes. However, personally, I believe the need to defend his actions began playing with his mind. It’s just the way I see it. It’s so easy to become caught up in defending ourselves against error. If we stay in that place too long, we end up entangled in strong emotion threatening our cause. We cannot be our own defender. In my life, I’ve found that is a job reserved for God alone. If you feel unseen, or unheard by the Almighty, I want you to know He sees you, and He hears you. You are not forgotten. Job was not forgotten. You have a defender. Job had a defender.
Job did not know the whole backstory of the enemy approaching the throne in chapter one. (Refer to beginning of study for this explanation in context.) And, just like Job, there’s so much we can’t see, either. This is why faith must come into play.
Our obedience led by faith will secure righteousness in Christ.
In Chapter 30, Job continues the defense of his righteousness, which thoroughly breaks my heart while making me furious with the enemy of our souls. Job was a good man with a good heart. He was a lover of righteousness. He was weary and felt he had no other choice than to defend how he lived his life. Oh, Job, I so understand you.
- Do you believe you can live a righteous life?
- Have you ever felt overlooked by God?
- In your journal, please write a prayer asking God to help you find faith in His hand upon your life, even when you can’t see it.
- What does obedience mean to you today?
- Do the words of Jill Briscoe, where fear and obedience are concerned, cause you to think about your situation differently?
- Next week’s reading is Job chapters 33-37. We will meet Elihu.
On this week’s #WordforYourWeekend subscriber only content, we will talk faith and discuss a story where Jesus showed one woman and one man how much faith matters.