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(Part 14)


A verse from today's reading from the letter to the Romans tells us, "Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness." (Rom 6:18). Today we look at the righteousness of Job.

Our theme for 2010 tells us that God is just and righteous. As children of God, we too must be just and righteous. In this we can look to Job who is a model of righteousness. "In the land of Ur there was a blameless and upright man named Job, who feared God and avoided evil." (Job 1:1). When he experienced terrible affliction and suffering, Job could not understand why. He had difficulty accepting what happened to him because "he was righteous in his own eyes." (Job 32:1). Elihu quoted him as saying: "I am clean and without transgression; I am innocent; there is no guilt in me." (Job 33:9).

Job looked over his life, examined his conscience, and found no unrighteousness. He confidently "challenged" God to judge him. "Let God weigh me in the scales of justice; thus will he know my innocence!" (Job 31:6). What was the righteousness of Job? How are we ourselves deemed to be righteous? Let us look at the varied and practical ways by which we, like Job, will be judged to be righteous (as expounded on by Job in chapter 31).

One, there should be no falsehood or deceit (Job 31:5). Two, we must not abuse the land or the environment (Job 31:38). Three, there must be just compensation for the work of tenant-farmers (Job 31:39). Four, we must not lust against a woman (or a man), whether in deed or in thought (Job 31:1,9). Five, there must be just treatment for servants or employees (Job 31:13). Six, we must love, care for, and share our resources with the poor (Job 31:16-17,19). Seven, we must not afflict the innocent or the poor (Job 31:21). Eight, we must not trust or find our security in wealth, or find our joy in material possessions (Job 31:24-25). Nine, we must not engage in idolatrous worship (Job 31:26-28). Ten, we must not find joy in the misfortunes of our enemies (Job 31:29). Eleven, we must be hospitable (Job 31:31-32). Twelve, we must not live hypocritical lives, as we hide our sins and guilt in order to gain the approval of others (Job 31:33-34). Such as these, very varied attitudes and actions, are what make for righteousness and holiness.

Job indeed was righteous. Why then was he afflicted? Why did God allow him to suffer terribly? Was God just in His ways? This was what precisely bothered Job. And so at the end of his discussion with his three friends, with all his protestations of innocence, Job exclaimed, "This is my final plea; let the Almighty answer me!" (Job 31:37c).

God does answer later, after Elihu's speeches. But God does not directly answer Job's concerns. Rather, God simply points to His great power and majesty. In all this, there is much for us to ponder. How inscrutable and mysterious are God's ways!

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? There are many ways to answer this, which we leave for another time. But what is important, what will help us humbly accept and endure, is simply the truth that God is just and righteous. Elihu had it right, when he said, "Surely, God cannot act wickedly, the Almighty cannot violate justice." (Job 34:12). The Almighty! Just and righteous is He!

God bless you all.


(October 21, 2009)

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)

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