Job’s Final Appeal
31 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I gaze at a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is not calamity for the unrighteous,
and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
Does not he see my ways
and number all my steps?
“If I have walked with falsehood
and my foot has hastened to deceit;
(Let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!)
if my step has turned aside from the way
and my heart has gone after my eyes,
and if any spot has stuck to my hands,
then let me sow, and another eat,
and let what grows for me be rooted out.
“If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,
then let my wife grind for another,
and let others bow down on her.
For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my increase.
“If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant,
when they brought a complaint against me,
what then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
Did not he who made me in the womb make him?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?
“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the fatherless has not eaten of it
(for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father,
and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow),
if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or the needy without covering,
if his body has not blessed me,
and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
because I saw my help in the gate,
then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.
For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.
“If I have made gold my trust
or called fine gold my confidence,
if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant
or because my hand had found much,
if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,
and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand,
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I would have been false to God above.
“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me,
or exulted when evil overtook him
(I have not let my mouth sin
by asking for his life with a curse),
if the men of my tent have not said,
‘Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?’
(the sojourner has not lodged in the street;
I have opened my doors to the traveler),
if I have concealed my transgressions as others do
by hiding my iniquity in my heart,
because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
Oh, that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)
Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it on me as a crown;
I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.
“If my land has cried out against me
and its furrows have wept together,
if I have eaten its yield without payment
and made its owners breathe their last,
let thorns grow instead of wheat,
and foul weeds instead of barley.”
The words of Job are ended.
Job 31 Commentary
by Hank Workman
In what is the lengthiest response of Job yet, he declares his innocence hitting aspects of human nature and desire. Boldly he tells of how he’s not committed adultery, or even allowed his eyes to wander in such a way. He speaks of how he has stayed clear of letting money dictate his life and decisions. As he says, “I’ve not put my trust in gold.”
He also speaks toward his heart being set on justice and has not mistreated the poor or those in need. In fact, from what he says, he has attempted to supply them with whatever want they may have had. Through his outward living that really when you think of these things began on a battlefield within, he has not wavered. He has lived to the best ability he can in Godly righteousness.
These are all tough fleshly things to battle. A battle we all go through to some degree as they are at the very base of our human nature. The fact that Job can declare he has not faltered in these arenas is more than impressive. It’s downright amazing. So, how was he able to do this? Tucked in the his speech is the answer:
“What will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?” (Job 31:14)
This isn’t supposed to be a scare tactic here – it really is simply a hard reality for each of us. We all are and will be called into account before God one day. I think we tend to relegate these thoughts to the back of our mind many times. First we don’t really want to think about it. But second, in particular if we are feeding on the lusts of our heart whatever those may be, it is convicting and yes, can be scary. But for Job this seems to be what helped drive him toward living in righteousness.
Sure, he could have been fearful of what would happen if people found out of his sins. But it appears to me at least, he was far more concerned about what God saw and what it would mean for him. This also speaks toward his being adamant of his innocence. Even though his friends had tried to pigeonhole him with some secret sin, he knew he had been forthright because of one day being drawn into account with God.
This is not to drive a bunch of fear in us but to keep our heads to the reality that for each of us we will be drawn to account one day. I think we all tend to justify our behavior at times and as our human nature drives us so often if we’re not careful our conscious can be seared. Staying pure in motive and action is something we cannot do on our own.
Once again this is where we are in such desperate need of the Holy Spirit to come and strengthen us. This is where we need to pick up the spiritual armor every day in our walk. This is where we need to stand firm in Him and hold the ground Jesus has won in our lives so far.
The battle is tough. We all know that and are living it. How much are you allowing the Holy Spirit to control your decisions and surrendering to Him everyday so you can stand firm?
Job 31 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The tenderness of Job’s heart comes through in this chapter. He is certain that even if he were weighed by God Himself, there would be no transgressions held against him. He has put forth every effort in this life to honor God and keep His commandments near to his heart.
I remember one time hearing a man tell a story about how he had been saved from his past as a porn addict. He had made a covenant with his eyes, just as Job did, that he would honor God the rest of his days and not fall to this weakness in his life. Fortunately, though his sin was severe, he was able to reconcile with his wife and kids and renewed his commitment to his family. It was a picture of true repentance and forgiveness.
That covenant he made would be honored — no matter what. When he went on business trips, he would request that the front desk remove the television from his room. Actually, he would demand it. If it could not be done, he would make accommodations elsewhere on his own dime. You see, he knew that this temptation was always at his doorstep and brewing in his flesh.
He knew that if he was alone at night with access to a TV, it could lead to him watching something that would spiral back into his treacherous sin. He took his second chance seriously because he loved his God more than the inconvenience of rearranging his work schedule no matter what the cost.
Some today would call this legalism. I personally think it’s inspiring. This was a man who had nearly lost everything and was given a second chance. He would do anything to protect that covenant. He would do anything and everything to stay true to following Christ with all his heart. He loved Jesus more than anything. Can you say the same?