This chapter contains Job's final "oath of innocence." He looks up to God and pleads:
Let Him weigh me with accurate scales,
And let God know my integrity.
It is like a legal defense where he swears to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him, God." He talks of his innocence from the sin of lust (31:1-4), deceit (31:5-8), adultery (31:9-12), harsh treatment of his servants (31:13-15), ignoring the needs of his fellow man (31:16-23; 29-32), worshiping other things besides God (31:24-28), and not stewarding God's land well (31:38-40). In the end, He asks for judgment if God can prove that he is guilty of any of the above. Then Job rests his case (31:35-37,40).
I wonder how God will respond.
Job seems to have a solid case before God, but, honestly, "who is able to stand" before Him (Revelation 6:17)? The answer to the question of who can stand is: nobody!
All have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God.
Even Job has sinned.
The prophet Isaiah said:
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
With all Job's legal pleading, he does not have a leg to stand on. It is true that Job is innocent of the specific charges leveled against him by his "friends," but he is not sinless. That was reserved for Jesus who died for all men's shortcomings in the righteousness area. Only His blood can avert the "wrath to come" (Revelation 6:17). Without it, no one would stand.
I am writing this post three days after Christmas 2011, but I cannot stop listening to Handel's Messiah. It really is more an Easter oratorio (and was performed at Easter for many years before it became a Christmas Holiday favorite). The verses from the songs playing right now are so appropriate for what I am trying to say:
But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ (laundrymen's) soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. (Malachi 3:2-3)There is none righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10, Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3). We will discover more when God speaks to Job, but I want you to consider any areas where self-righteousness may have crept into your life. Is there anywhere where you are "defending" yourself before the Lord when it would be better to just confess and repent before the Lord?
Each new year, I try to have an extended evaluation/prayer time that often leads me into confession and repentance before the Lord. An application for you might be to schedule one today!
We stand before You, a most Holy God, as sinners in need of a Savior. You gave us Your only begotten Son to bear our sins. We stand before You because of His blood. Thank You. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.