Week 2 – Lessons From Job
Day 5: Making It Personal: Job 31:16-23
This is where the rubber meets the road. Job goes on speaking to his friends. In chapter thirty-one, he expands on his relationship to the fatherless and the seriousness with which he regards it:
“If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother’s womb;) if I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; if his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.”
If, then, because. Today we’ll look at the Ifs. Take a few minutes to consider each of them and how they translate into life today. How are we doing in comparison to Job’s example?
• If I have withheld the poor from their desire
•Or have cause the eyes of the widow to fail
•Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof
•For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father
• And I have guided her from my mother’s womb
•If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering
•If his loins have not blessed me
•And if he were not warmed by the fleece of my sheep
•If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate.
The Ifs are many, and many of them can be as hot irons to our hearts. I know very few people who can say that the fatherless and widow have eaten at their table with any sort of regularity. Sure we can say that we have given our clothes to Goodwill or perhaps a rescue mission, but how does that compare with taking the fresh wool of one’s own sheep and turning it into new clothing or blankets for the needy? At this very moment, I know of children worldwide who are in need of clothing, what will we do to meet the need?
But there is something more in this passage, that surpasses the physical needs mentioned here. It gives a beautiful description of Job’s actual relation to the fatherless. As we look at the passage as a whole, we know that these ifs are actually the opposite of what is truly the case. He has met their desire, he has shared his food, provided clothing, helped with his own hand, and has brought him up as a father and guided them from his mother’s womb. Job has stepped into their lives and loved them as if he were their own father. Nothing has been held back. He has truly loved them.
We make all kinds of excuses as to why we cannot do this, they usually involve our natural children, but Job wasn’t worried about that so much as he was worried about doing what God had commanded him to do. He knew that God would work out the other details. He knew that by doing this he was setting an example for his own children of how they should behave in the future. As mentioned before, donations to the Goodwill store are good, but they still keep us at a distance. Job was right in there with those who were in need, specifically the fatherless. He did not let them go through life without a guide or aid. He took them on as his own from his youth up. God desires that we take it so personally that we would bring them into our own home – yet at times we are not even willing to bring them into His house. What are the needs of the fatherless in your congregation? What are the needs of the fatherless in your community? How can you meet those needs and how can you use the meeting of those needs to point everyone involved to Christ?
Up Next: Week 3: Lessons from Job Cont’d
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Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption