Dr. Dave Burnette
Job 31 - The Pursuit of Wealth
Job 31 1I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? 2For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? 3Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? 4Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? 5If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; 6Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. 7If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; 8Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. 9If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door; 10Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. 11For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. 12For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase. 13If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? 16If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; 17Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; 18(For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;) 19If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; 20If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 21If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: 22Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. 23For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure. 24If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; 25If I rejoice because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; 26If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; 27And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: 28This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above. 29If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: 30Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul. 31If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. 32The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller. 33If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: 34Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door? 35Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. 36Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. 37I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him. 38If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; 39If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: 40Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.
Today's Scripture Meaning Job declares his uprightness. (1-8) His integrity. (9-15) Job merciful. (16-23) Job not guilty of covetousness or idolatry. (24-32) Job not guilty of hypocrisy and violence. (33-40) Verses 1-8: Job did not speak the things here recorded by way of boasting, but in answer to the charge of hypocrisy. He understood the spiritual nature of God's commandments, as reaching to the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is best to let our actions speak for us; but in some cases we owe it to ourselves and to the cause of God, solemnly to protest our innocence of the crimes of which we are falsely accused. The lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world, are two fatal rocks on which multitudes split; against these Job protests he was always careful to stand upon his guard. And God takes more exact notice of us than we do of ourselves; let us therefore walk circumspectly. He carefully avoided all sinful means of getting wealth. He dreaded all forbidden profit as much as all forbidden pleasure. What we have in the world may be used with comfort, or lost with comfort, if honestly gotten. Without strict honestly and faithfulness in all our dealings, we can have no good evidence of true godliness. Yet how many professors are unable to abide this touchstone! Verses 9-15: All the defilements of the life come from a deceived heart. Lust is a fire in the soul: those that indulge it, are said to burn. It consumes all that is good there, and lays the conscience waste. It kindles the fire of God's wrath, which, if not quenched by the blood of Christ, will consume even to eternal destruction. It consumes the body; it consumes the substance. Burning lusts bring burning judgments. Job had a numerous household, and he managed it well. He considered that he had a Master in heaven; and as we are undone if God should be severe with us, we ought to be mild and gentle towards all with whom we have to do. Verses 16-23: Job's conscience gave testimony concerning his just and charitable behaviour toward the poor. He is most large upon this head, because in this matter he was particularly accused. He was tender of all, and hurtful to none. Notice the principles by which Job was restrained from being uncharitable and unmerciful. He stood in awe of the Lord, as certainly against him, if he should wrong the poor. Regard to worldly interests may restrain a man from actual crimes; but the grace of God alone can make him hate, dread, and shun sinful thoughts and desires. Verses 24-32: Job protests, 1. That he never set his heart upon the wealth of this world. How few prosperous professors can appeal to the Lord, that they have not rejoiced because their gains were great! Through the determination to be rich, numbers ruin their souls, or pierce themselves with many sorrows. 2. He never was guilty of idolatry. The source of idolatry is in the heart, and it corrupts men, and provokes God to send judgments upon a nation. 3. He neither desired nor delighted in the hurt of the worst enemy he had. If others bear malice to us, that will not justify us in bearing malice to them. 4. He had never been unkind to strangers. Hospitality is a Christian duty, (1Pe 4:9). Verses 33-40: Job clears himself from the charge of hypocrisy. We are loth to confess our faults, willing to excuse them, and to lay the blame upon others. But he that thus covers his sins, shall not prosper, (Pr 28:13). He speaks of his courage in what is good, as an evidence of his sincerity in it. When men get estates unjustly, they are justly deprived of comfort from them; it was sown wheat, but shall come up thistles. What men do not come honestly by, will never do them any good. The words of Job are ended. They end with a bold assertion, that, with respect to accusation against his moral and religious character as the cause for his sufferings, he could appeal to God. But, however confident Job was, we shall see he was mistaken, chap. (40:4,5; 1Jo 1:8). Let us all judge ourselves; wherein we are guilty, let us seek forgiveness in that blood which cleanseth from all sin; and may the Lord have mercy upon us, and write his laws in our hearts!
Today's Scripture Application Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Job with Chapter 31. In our text today we see Job continuing to speak on his trials. What catches my eye is verses 24-28 when Job says that depending on wealth for happiness is idolatry. In making application we see this dependence on wealth that drives our nation. We have replaced God, Church, and Family with a lust for wealth. Many don't have a relationship with the Lord, go to Church, or spend time with their family because they embraced the pursuit of wealth as their God. How about you? Do you put your job or career ahead of your time with the Lord, Church attendance, or family time? Let us learn from our text today and the advice of Job to realize that dependence on wealth is idolatry.
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Sincerely, Dr. Dave Burnette Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc