June 20, 1999, Father's day, too much here. I used first half

The Virtuous Man, Job 29-31

Here we see the counterpart of "The Virtuous Woman" of Proverbs 31.

The book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible. Job lived about the time of Abraham, which would have been at least 400 years before Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible. So what Job says in this book would have been given him from God in Heaven.

Job's speech here sounds prideful, but we are not dealing with that point. I will say that these words of Job were spoken in public, and no one stepped forward to challenge what he said. His three friends challenged him, but they did not live in the community where Job lived.

There are more points here than we could ever cover, so I will try to restrict myself. Nor will I take the time to develop the word meanings and cross references.

Young ladies take note: here are some things you should look for in the man you will spend your life with.

Job 29:

V. 5, the virtuous man has the Almighty was with him. And we see from Job's life that the Lord's place in this man's life will be obvious.

V. 5, Job "fell" from a place of wealth and importance to the ash heap. Yet in all these things, he did not charge God foolishly. Remember, Job's children had been killed, and all his wealth destroyed.

The virtuous man will accept God's workings in his life, even though he might go from one extreme to the other - top to bottom - without taking it out on God or on man. He may not understand God's workings, but he will accept them without taking it out on others. If he does not, then he will be very hard to live with when things don't go right.

How do we respond when we suddenly find ourselves on the "ash heap?"

Vv. 7-10 tells us of the influence Job had on young and old, and even on those in authority.

V. 7, seat in the street was the judgment seat in the market place. The virtuous man will be known for his right judgments in matters of controversy.

Vv. 14, 16, the virtuous man will search things out, both from God's word and from factual events. Only then will he make a judgment, and the judgment will be righteous.

The virtuous man will be known for his willingness to search things out before forming conclusions. Once the truth of a matter is found out, then he will stand on the truth, no matter what it might cost him.

V. 11, gave witness to me. Others will speak highly of the virtuous man's honorable character. They will respect him and his judgment.

Keep your ears open. What do others say about this man? Even the unsaved will speak well of the godly man. They may not like what he stands for, but his honorable character will be known. He will be known for his honesty, integrity and his willingness to help others.

Vv. 12-17, give us the grounds of his honorable character, as will chapter 31:

Vv. 13, 15, 16, the virtuous man will help the helpless. He supported those who needed support, both physically and spiritually. He will be known as someone others can go to for help. He will have advice worth listening to for those in distress.

Vv. 16, 17, Job searched out the cause of the helpless. And then he took action. He helped the helpless, and went after the wicked who were taking advantage of the helpless.

The vitreous man will do what he can to help the helpless, though there may be nothing at all in it for him.

Do we stand up for the helpless though there is no profit in it for us?

This was my motive for getting involved in the ZONING issue.

29:28-25 show us the positron Job enjoyed before he lost everything.

V. 18, everything was going good. He could not have asked for a better life. He was looking for a strong, vigorous, healthy (by the waters and the dew, Ps 1), long, comfortable life, surrounded by his children and their descendants. (The life span at this time was probably 200 years or so.)

He had everything a man could wish for: respect from everyone from the poorest to the rich and famous, financial security, large and loving family. He had the best retirement plan that one could have.

Vv. 22, 23, and my speech dropped upon them. Job's words affected the minds of his hearers as the gentile rain affects the soil on which it drops. In fact, folks wanted to hear Job's opinions on matters.

Job's words influenced people for good and righteousness. What more could a godly man ask for?

Our words influence people, but how do they influence them?

Vv. 24, 25, he cheered those who were despondent or depressed and hopeless.

How do our words affect others? Do they make them more depressed, or do our words cheer others, and lift them out of their afflictions?

V. 25, as one that comforteth the mourners. This statement may sound proud on Job's part, but notice:

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Job's afflictions prepared him to comfort the mourners. Christ's afflictions also prepared him to comfort all that mourn. And thus set an example for us.

None of us like the afflictions we must go through, but they prepare us to comfort those that mourn.

The virtuous man will comfort those who mourn. I am afraid though that most of our words give others more to mourn about. Do our words bring cheer or hopelessness?


Now rather than others looking up to him, he is mocked by the sons of those he would not have even allowed in his house, nor watched over the dogs that guarded his flocks.

Vv. 1-10, describes the wretchedness of those mocking him. He is not referring to his three friends.

Vv. 11-14, v. 11, because he (God) hath loosed my cord. The picture is of a bow unstrung. Everyone in here must admit that at times, we feel unstrung, at loose ends not knowing what to do.

Vv. 12b, 13 is the image of an army besieging a fortress. The enemy destroys any hope of help.

V. 14, describes a feeling that we all have experienced: EVERYTHING IS COMING APART, AND IT IS ALL FALLING IN ON ME.

Vv. 15-24, describes the lowness to which Job has sunk. His calamities affect his mind.

V. 17, the pain that gnaws at him never stops.

V. 18, his robe of honor is changed to a rob of mourning.

V. 19, Job set himself in the ash pile, and now he says that the Lord did it.

V. 20, midst his afflictions, he cries out to the Lord, but it seems the Lord does not hear him.

V. 21, he blames God for his afflictions.

V. 22, Job says that the Lord destroyed his wealth. We know, however, that the devil did it.

Vv. 23, 24, he expresses his desire for death, for then his turmoil will be over. He is confident he will be with the Lord, 19:25.

V. 25, Job had wept with those who wept. So now he says he has a right to complain over his own calamity.

V. 26, when he looked for good, evil came.

V. 28, he stood up as an innocent man crying for justice in an assembled court.

Chapter 31, Job continues to prove that he does not deserve what is happening to him.

Job 31:1-4. he shows that he guarded against lust.

V. 1, the virtuous man will control his eyes and thoughts against lustful glances and ideas.

Vv. 2, 3, if he had let his eyes and mind dwell on lust, then he could expect from God what is happening to him.

V. 4, the Lord knows I have remained clean of lust.

Vv. 5-8, the virtuous man will abstain from evil works.

Vv. 5, 6, the virtuous man will be willing for the Lord to examine his life:

Psalms 12:2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

Note v. 6, Let me be weighed... The virtuous man is willing to have his life open for inspection by God and man. I should say, he knows the Lord will examine his every thought and action, and he acts accordingly.

Vv. 7, 8, he places a curse upon himself if he has been controlled by covetousness, or the lust of the eyes. The virtuous man will not be controlled by his heart's desires.

Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

** Vv. 8-12, if he has been unfaithful to his wife, let her be the slave and concubine of another. Adultery is a heinous crime and sin against the community; it must be punished by civil authority. No crime provokes God more to send destruction upon a community. No crime desolates the souls of the adulterers as this crime.

Vv. 13-23, the virtuous man will always treat those under him with respect and justly in both wages and in words.

Vv. 13-15, notice that even though those under his authority treated and spoke to him unfairly, he always kept his Christian testimony. He then expected the same treatment from the Lord. Job realized that every person has the same creator, and he treated everyone in a humane way.

V. 19, the virtuous man will not be self-centered. Job did not turn his back upon the cry of those in need, the poor. He was concerned about the legitimate needs of those around him.

V. 21, in the gate speaks of judicial help for the helpless.

Vv. 24, 25, shows us Job's attitude toward money. Though he was rich, he did not trust in that money.

Job had been a rich man, and he used his riches properly. He knew that they were from God, and the purpose of riches were to properly represent God on earth.

The virtuous man will have a proper view of worldly wealth. He may not have much, but how does he use what he has? Is he selfish?

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Nor will the virtuous man's heart be lifted up with pride over the worldly goods the Lord has blessed him with.

1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Note some things here Paul told Timothy.

The preacher is to warn those who have an abundance of this world's goods.

1) don't be proud.

2) don't trust in riches, for they will surely take wings and fly away.

3) trust in the Lord, for he is the one who provided them, and he can remove them much quicker than we gained them.

4) the true riches is rich in good works, works that glorify God and help those in need.

5) the rich are to be willing to share with those in need.

6) willing to communicate in this case, goes with the marginal reading, sociable. That is, not "too good" for those who do not have as much.

7) rather than worried about a good savings account and/or retirement plan down here, they should worry about their eternal retirement plan.

8) there is a time coming, and they need to be careful that they are trusting in the Lord and not in their wealth.

Vv. 26-28. This is a reference to worshiping the sun, moon and starts. Today this would be called Astrology.

There was an article on Dateline the other day about the how astrology is being used by a good number of traders to tell them when to buy and sell stock.

V. 28 this also... Here Job calls for civil punishment against those who practice astrology. And it was punished under the Mosaic law, because it was considered witchcraft and denial of the Living God, v. 28b.

Vv. 29, 30, though Job was long before the Gospel age, he certainly had the gospel spirit:

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

The virtuous man will not work at getting even with those whom he feels has done him wrong. Job never wished evil upon his enemies. Nor will the virtuous man he be glad when trouble overtakes those whom he has had a conflict with. He will not be glad when trouble overtakes wicked men in high places.

David did not wish evil upon Saul, though Saul tried for many years to kill David.

Vv. 31, 32, the virtuous man will be hospitable, which is one of the qualifications for any kind of godly leadership.

Job never let those who came to his door looking for food go away hungry, nor did he turn any away who needed shelter. There were no Inns as we know them today, nor were folks so mobile --- they had to walk or to ride an animal to get around. So travelers were lodged by people of a community. We find several illustrations of this in the Old Testament, and we are told in the New, that many have lodged angles unawares.

Vv. 33, 34, the virtuous man will not try to hide his sins, particularly if they were public sins. Job did not care what others thought of him. He wanted to be right with God, so when it was necessary, he made public confession of his sins.

Vv. 38, 39, the virtuous man will obey the word of the Lord concerning the land. Job acquired land in an honest manner, and he paid the labourer the proper wage.

Notice vv. 35-37: it appears here that Job is depending upon his goodness to stand boldly before the Lord. We know from what is said elsewhere that he was not trying to do this.

However, I have met many men particularly who willingly go down through their list of good deeds, and it is obvious that is what they are depending upon.

The man who did the sidewalk out front: I asked him about the Lord, and he started reciting to me the good things he has to his credit.

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