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Job: Righteous & Rich

The Book of Job

Sep 5, 2021

by: Jack Lash Series: The Book of Job | Category: Righteousness | Scripture: Job 1:1–1:5

I. Introduction
A. Masterpiece
B. The Bible has a concept of being who we’re supposed to be, inside and out, of being right, not like an answer is right, but like we refer to the potential of a world where everything is right, where everything is the way it’s supposed to be.
C. The way the Bible refers to this rightness is with the word righteousness.
D. Now we usually think of Job as a sufferer. And we’ll get to that. But before he was a great sufferer, Job was righteous, and Job was prosperous. And that’s what we’re going to talk about this morning.
E. Job 1:1–5 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. 4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
1. Job was rich. He was showered with the blessing of God. And this made sense, for...
II. Job was righteous. What does righteous mean? What was the essence of Job’s righteousness?
A. Righteousness does not consist in lineage or in ceremony.
1. He is not the son of whoever.
2. Like Melchizedek and Jethro, Job was not connected to Israel.
B. — Nor does it consist of sinlessness, as is clear in Job 7:21.
C. Job 1
1. Job feared God and turned away from evil (Job 1:1). This summarizes Job’s righteousness.
a. Righteousness isn’t primarily something you do. What you do outwardly flows out of what is going on inwardly. It all starts with the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov.1:7; 9:10). The fear of the Lord is also the beginning of righteousness.
b. The fear of the Lord isn’t something easy to explain. We think of fear as an emotion, but the fear of the Lord is not talking about the emotion of fear. It is a description rather of something relational. It is the recognition that no matter where you go or what you’re dealing with, the holy, almighty, all-knowing, sovereign God is the big reality you have to deal with.
2. We also see that his righteousness involved diligence concerning his children’s relationship with God. Job 1:5 When the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
a. This says two things about Job.
(1) It says that he loved his grown children very deeply, deeply enough to go out of his way for them, deeply enough to be concerned about their welfare every day.
(2) And it also says that he understood that a person’s spiritual welfare is the most significant aspect of their lives. It doesn’t mention his concern about their health, their safety, their careers or their financial situation. He was worried about how they were doing with God.
D. Job 31 (pass out)
1. Introduction
a. In Job 31, Job gives us a list of some of the aspects of his righteousness.
b. In order to understand what Job is saying here, you need to understand that he is at the end of the very long argument with his three friends.
(1) They have been saying over and over again that he must be suffering because of some hidden sin. And he keeps answering that he has not secretly rebelled against the Lord.
(2) And so here in his final response to his friends, he says, “If I had lived an unrighteous life, if I done this sin or committed that evil deed, then all kinds of sufferings would be perfectly understandable.”
c. And, even though one of the main points of the book of Job is that sufferings don’t always come as a direct result of sinful deeds, let us not fail to notice that a person who lives a life of active rebellion toward God should not be surprised if it results in “many a pang” (1Tim.6:10).
2. Job’s righteousness involved sexual self-control.
a. Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
(1) A covenant is a solemn promise made before God. Since Job had pledged his eyes to God, how could he use his eyes in a wicked way such as staring lustfully at a young woman?
(2) And he grasped this long before Jesus ever uttered it – Matt.5:28.
b. Job 31:9-12 “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door, 10 then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down on her. 11 For that would be a heinous crime; that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges; 12 for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my increase.
(1) “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman” reminds us of David gazing down at the bathing Bathsheba. Only instead of summoning her, as a king might do, Job is thinking of someone hanging around his neighbor’s house hoping to run into the woman.
c. When it comes to sexuality, Job is very aware that our hearts can mislead us. He knows that righteousness does not involve going along with what your heart tells you to do, but restraining your eye and your heart – in order to do the thing which God requires.
3. Job’s righteousness involved truthfulness.
a. Job 31:5 “If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; 6 (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!)
b. Job didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t.
c. There was no double-dealing or duplicity, no pretense. He was the same inwardly as outwardly.
d. Job wasn’t playing any games. He didn’t have an angle. He was sincere and true.
4. Job’s righteousness involved walking according to the will of God, not human appearances.
a. There are always two directions you can get off the lord’s path. But Job didn’t turn to the right or to the left (Josh.1:7; Prov.4:27).
b. Job 31:7 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, 8 then let me sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me be rooted out.
c. Also, his heart did not go after what he saw but what he knew. He did not keep his eyes fixed on “the things that are seen but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2Cor.4:18)
5. Job’s righteousness involved a determination to act justly.
a. Job 31:13 “If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me, 14 what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?”
b. If someone had a complaint against him, he would sit down and listen – and address the concerns raised against him.
c. If his workers felt like they were being treated properly, he was eager to make it right.
d. You see, Job understood that the same One who had created him also created those who worked for him, and that he would have to answer to the One who made us all as to how he treated his fellow creatures.
6. Job’s righteousness involved generosity toward those in need.
a. In Job 22:6-9 based on Job’s suffering, Eliphaz had assumed the opposite: “You have...stripped the naked of their clothing. 7 You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry...9 You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.”
b. But Job knows how he has lived, and he pleads his case in Job 31:16-20, “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, 17 or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it 18 (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow), 19 if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering, 20 if his body has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep.”
c. Some of these phrases probably need a little explanation.
(1) Generosity is a different quality than justice. Justice is giving someone what they are owed. Generosity/charity/philanthropy is giving a person what they need. “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired.” And this isn’t birthday-list kind of desire, but beggar kind of desire. Beggars don’t hold up cardboard signs which say, “Need a McFlurry.”
(2) Causing the widow’s eyes to fail refers to the widow’s eyes wearing out from looking for help from Job in vain.
(3) In v.17 Job says that he hasn’t eaten his food alone but has shared his food with the fatherless.
(4) In v.18 he says that orphans basically grew up in his home – he treated them like his own kids – and that from childhood he has helped the widows.
(5) In v.19-20 he says he’s never allowed the needy to suffer in the cold, and that in response that their warm bodies have blessed Job in gratitude.
d. In Job 29:12-16 he says something very similar: “I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. 13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy... 15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. 16 I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.”
7. Job’s righteousness involved avoiding all oppression.
a. Job 31:21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, 22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. 23 For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty.
b. The weak are easy to exploit, because they can’t defend themselves. But if Job lived like that, he would be in terror of the judgment of God, he couldn’t bear to face the Lord’s majesty.
c. In fact, Job did the opposite of oppress people. Job 29:17 tells us that he “broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth.” There was a time when the compassionate Job acted ferociously. It was when someone else was exploiting the weak.
8. Job’s righteousness involved putting no confidence in money or any other earthly thing.
a. Job was a very rich man — VERY RICH. V.3 “He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” And “greatest” here means in terms of wealth/fame/influence.
b. And when a person is rich, he experiences special temptations: in 1Tim.6:17-19 we see that they’re tempted to “be haughty,” “to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches,” and to use their riches for themselves.
c. But Job did not give in to those temptations, as we see in Job 31:24-25 “If I have made gold my trust or called fine gold my confidence, 25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant or because my hand had found much,” “...this would be an iniquity to be punished... for I would have been false to God above.” (Job 31:26, 28)
d. Job wasn’t a lover of riches (1Tm.6:9). He wasn’t so much a collector of money as a distributor of it.
e. Not only did Job not put his trust in riches, but he also did not put his trust in the false gods – like the sun and moon. He didn’t throw kisses to these great celestial bodies – as many of his day did.
f. Job 31:26-28 if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, 27 and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, 28 this also would be...false to God above.
9. Job’s righteousness involved having no disdain for his enemies.
a. In Job 31:29-30 he says that he has not “rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him” or “let [his] mouth sin by asking for his [enemy’s] life with a curse.”
b. Thousands of years before Jesus taught us to love our enemies, Job knew that God’s people must do exactly that, and that it’s wrong to rejoice when your enemy suffers. It’s very easy to do so, isn’t it? And yet, it’s not of the Lord, but of the devil to do so.
10. Job’s righteousness involved hospitality.
a. Job 31:31 if the men of my tent have not said, ‘Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?’ 32 (the sojourner has not lodged in the street; I have opened my doors to the traveler),
b. In Job 31:31-32 Job says that it is common knowledge that Job is so hospitable that everyone in town has eaten at his house. “Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?” And even those who are just passing through town don’t sleep on the side of the road, because Job welcomes them to spend the night at his house.
11. Job’s righteousness involved no hypocrisy or the fear of man.
a. Job 31:33 if I have concealed my transgressions as others do by hiding my iniquity in my heart, 34 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...
b. Job wasn’t ashamed of how he lived. He didn’t live for the approval of other people. He wasn’t terrified by the possibility that others wouldn’t approve of him if he didn’t act in the way they wanted him to act.
12. Job’s righteousness involved no exploitation.
a. Job 31:38 “If my land has cried out against me and its furrows have wept together, 39 if I have eaten its yield without payment and made its owners breathe their last, 40 let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.”
b. Job didn’t exploit people and he didn’t even exploit the things God had entrusted to him.
III. The study of Job’s righteousness is immensely practical.
A. First of all, it helps us to understand Job the man and Job the book.
B. Secondly, it helps us to better understand what righteousness is.
C. Thirdly, it helps us to better understand Jesus, who was the epitome of righteousness.
1. Righteous = Jesus, so Job gives us a glimpse of Jesus. The thing which was so special about Job was that he was more like Jesus than other men.
D. And fourthly, it helps us understand what God is trying to do in us, as He works by His Spirit to conform us into the image of His Son.
1. Job’s righteousness was very practical righteousness.
2. Job’s righteousness is bursting with compassion. His heart goes out to people in their need.
3. Righteousness involves how you treat other people, and especially how you treat little people, who often are mistreated by others.
4. Treating even the little people right is such an essential part of a righteous life.
5. Who else shows us this? Jesus.
E. We see the gospel in Job’s compassion.
1. Job’s righteousness tells us about how we came to be saved.
2. It’s because Jesus was like Job that we are saved. We have been given salvation because Jesus – like Job – had compassion on needy, hurting people: like us.
3. And if you have never seen the love and compassion in Jesus’ eyes, then read His story.
4. Just as everyone in town knew that if you were really in trouble, you could go to Job and he would help you, so we now have a greater Job, who can and will help us if we go to Him.
5. No matter how broken we are, even if no one else will help, Jesus is our new and greater Job. He has all the resources to provide us with all the help we need. When weak and hurting people turn to Him, His heart goes out to them, and He is more than willing to help.