As Satan gloats over the progress of his rebellion, God asks, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8).
So I find myself absorbed in the memoirs of Job. What made him such a stand-out in the eyes of God?
In the 29th and 31st chapters of his story I find this troubled man with a funny name longing for the kind of life he had before he lost his family, wealth, and health. Interestingly, in resisting the suggestion of his friends that he must be suffering because of a scandal he won’t admit, Job gives us our earliest example of a surprisingly good man.
In his own words, Job recalls how he had used the days of God’s favor to go to the rescue of the poor, the fatherless, and those who had no help. Of those better days he says, “I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the case that I did not know. I broke the fangs of the wicked, and plucked the victim from his teeth” (29:12-13; 15-17).
But this is just the beginning of Job’s reflection. In the 31st chapter of his story he goes on to say that he knew that he would have deserved the kind of trouble that had come to him if he had lusted after a woman, lived with deceit, or despised the needs of his workers. He says that if he has deprived the poor, discouraged the widow, or ignored the fatherless, then he would even be willing to call curses on himself.
That’s not all. Job goes on to add that if he has put his trust in his wealth, wished evil on his enemy, withheld hospitality to travelers, covered his sin, allowed fear to keep him from speaking in behalf of others, or even sinned against the land that gave him harvest, he would readily accept his punishment.
It’s true that, being a man of great wealth, Job had the means to help others in ways, and to a degree, that we could not. But how do we explain that he had such a finely tuned sense of social conscience, while the rest of the world was giving the Devil a lot to brag about?
And how is it that, with all of the knowledge of the Bible, I have spent so much of my life thinking that my social responsibility shakes down to believing a few of the right things?
Bible reference works consistently say that the story of Job reflects the time period and Middle East culture of 2000 BC.