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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 29 (ESV)

Posted on June 09, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 29 (ESV) - And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
    as in the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone upon my head,
    and by his light I walked through darkness,
as I was in my prime,
    when the friendship of God was upon my tent,
when the Almighty was yet with me,
    when my children were all around me,
when my steps were washed with butter,
    and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
When I went out to the gate of the city,
    when I prepared my seat in the square,
the young men saw me and withdrew,
    and the aged rose and stood;
the princes refrained from talking
    and laid their hand on their mouth;
the voice of the nobles was hushed,
    and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
When the ear heard, it called me blessed,
    and when the eye saw, it approved,
because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
    and the fatherless who had none to help him.
The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
    and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
    my justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy,
    and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
I broke the fangs of the unrighteous
    and made him drop his prey from his teeth.
Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
    and I shall multiply my days as the sand,
my roots spread out to the waters,
    with the dew all night on my branches,
my glory fresh with me,
    and my bow ever new in my hand.’

“Men listened to me and waited
    and kept silence for my counsel.
After I spoke they did not speak again,
    and my word dropped upon them.
They waited for me as for the rain,
    and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
I smiled on them when they had no confidence,
    and the light of my face they did not cast down.
I chose their way and sat as chief,
    and I lived like a king among his troops,
    like one who comforts mourners.

Question to consider: Why do you think Job starts his closing arguments by reminding people of the good old days?

The next few chapters bring us to Job’s closing arguments to what seems like some kind of cosmic trial. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have given their arguments against Job which were nothing more than false accusations followed by vain declarations of their own righteousness like ancient virtue signalers. 

Job began by hearkening back to a simpler time in which Job experienced God’s blessing, and he was respected as an honest and great man of the people. People often talk of “the good old days” as they present fond memories through a biased lens to paint the past as superior to the present. We know from God’s own testimony that Job was a righteous man. This is saying a lot considering Job was from Edom.

Outside of the material blessings and ease of Job’s life, it was apparent that he commanded respect because nobles and princes shut their mouths and listened when he spoke. Even when he was done speaking, people still remained silent because he spoke with wisdom that didn’t need additional commentary.

Job sat as a chief among his people and gave them encouragement, support and comfort. He was a purveyor of justice and mercy and cared for the poor, a fact that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar called into question when trying to come up with an explanation for the calamity that had come upon him. In all of this, Job was not being boastful but reminding people of who they knew him to be.

People are quick to dehumanize others and can easily forget a reputation that took a lifetime to build. Sometimes people deserve to lose their good reputation if they have performed some kind of heinous act. However, all the accusations against Job had been false so to smear his good reputation was unjust and unfair.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for being the final arbiter of truth. Help us to praise You that we bear the name of Christ even if it causes us to lose favor with the world. Help us also to act blamelessly before others so that our righteousness in Christ shines brighter than the dark things done against us. Amen.