Job 31:23-40 “The Words of Job Are Ended”

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With Comments by Larry Groenewald

Job 31:23 For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
Job 31:24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
Job 31:25 If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
Job 31:26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;
Job 31:27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:
Job 31:28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
Job 31:29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:
Job 31:30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
Job 31:31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.
Job 31:32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
Job 31:33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
Job 31:34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?
Job 31:35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
Job 31:36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.
Job 31:37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.
Job 31:38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
Job 31:39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:
Job 31:40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

Introduction

These will be Job’s last words in his own defense. We have seen that he and his friends, both types of you and me as self- righteous ‘Babylonians’, have both spent all their time belittling each other. They are telling him that he is obviously a very great sinner because God would never treat a righteous man as He is treating Job.
Job claims that if he and his friends were able to change places that he would comfort them.

Job 16:4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
Job 16:5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

But the very fact that Job reproves His own Creator and takes credit to himself for his righteousness, demonstrates that he would do nothing of the kind. In reality Job would have done exactly what his “miserable comforters” are doing to him. There is no other way to react to the evil which befalls mankind when we believe that we are responsible for our own actions. When we truly believe that we are righteous of ourselves, we automatically place God in the position of holding us responsible for our own sins, and therefore in need of being punished for those sins. On the other hand we also feel that God is indebted to us for our goodness and righteousness. God, of course, is not the least bit impressed or indebted, and tells us plainly that our very righteousnesses are nothing more than filthy rags to Him. He is not indebted to us for what He had written in our books before were were ever even born.

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.

Job does not know that His days were all “written in [ God’s] book… when as yet there was none of them”. He is totally unaware that flesh is in and of itself, corruption, and he actually believes that if God would only consider how righteous he is then He would certainly not treat Job as His enemy.

Job 31:6 Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.

It is that very self- righteous ‘integrity’ which is the very problem we have and which is so “filthy” before God.
As Elihu, who we will come to know in our next study, repeats Job’s own words to him:

Job 33:8 Surely thou hast spoken in my hearing, And I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
Job 33:9 I am clean, without transgression; I am innocent, neither is there iniquity in me:
Job 33:10 Behold, he findeth occasions against me, He counteth me for his enemy:

So Job knows that he, in his present state, is indeed God’s enemy. He also knows that God is bent on his destruction. He just does not yet understand why that is:

Job 10:7 Although thou knowest that I am not wicked, And there is none that can deliver out of thy hand?
Job 10:8 Thy hands have framed me and fashioned me Together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.
Job 10:9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast fashioned me as clay; And wilt thou bring me into dust again? (ASV)

“Will [ God] bring me to dust again?” The answer for us all is, ‘yes , indeed, God will indeed bring all flesh “into dust again”. We are all marred vessels of sin. We are all first “brute beasts, made to be… destroyed… by the brightness of His coming”, and we will all be ‘brought into dust again’, and without a resurrection from the dead we will all perish.

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Jer 18:4 And when the vessel that he made of the clay was marred in the hand of the potter, he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
2Pe 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed [ to be in sitting in the temple within], whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Did Job, the type of us, “speak evil of things [ he] understood not” as 2Pe 2:12 says? Here is his own confession:

Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
Job 42:3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

These are Job’s last words before God sends Elihu to correct Job and His miserable comforters, and before God Himself rebukes him. Yet Job is still in the process of condemning God for the way he is treating him. Remember this is the story of our own lives. We see God’s hand is destroying and terrorizing us. But we have no idea why He is doing so, and it infuriates us that he would do so:

Job 31:23 For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.

God’s destruction of our carnal. rebellious, old man is the breaking down of our “high walls” and our “high towers”:

Isa 30:13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you [ you and me] as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.
Isa 30:14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potter’s vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.
Isa 30:25 And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

In our last study we mentioned how our reproving, contending with and condemning of our God, as Job typifies us, amounts to a potsherd contending with God. This is all a process that must take place, and the contending of the potsherd with God, begins only when God begins “breaking the potter’s vessel”. That is when we, the broken vessel, which is broken into potsherds, begin to contend with our Maker. “He shall not spare” (Isa 30:14), and we do not understand the need to be broken. We do not understand why He does not spare, and we do not believe we need to be broken. Truly his ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts .

Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

When we come to see that this book of Job is a perfect reflection of the spirit of our own carnal- minded, old man when God pours out the seven vials of His wrath upon that corruptible, old man, only then will we begin to understand that when we reprove, contend with and condemn Him for His ways, we are blaspheming Him for doing with us what must be done to bring us face to face with what our flesh is. It is our rebellious, carnal- minded old man who will blaspheme his own God. The book of Revelation is a condensed version of the experience of Job, which we all must read, hear, and keep (Rev 1:3). Like Job we will all blaspheme our God when we claim His name and yet condemn Him for His ways.

Rev 16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
Rev 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
Rev 16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
Rev 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Rev 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
Rev 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Rev 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Rev 16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
Rev 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

So our condemnation of our Maker continues within our questions which always glorify our own righteousness at our Lord’s expense.

Job 31:24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
Job 31:25 If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
Job 31:26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;
Job 31:27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:
Job 31:28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.

When we claim our righteousness as our own, we have made our gold our help and our confidence. Of course, our righteousness is really all God’s work, but we don’t know that. When we claim our righteousness for ourselves we are rejoicing in our wealth and we are claiming that our own hand “has gotten much”. All of this is nothing short of worshiping the creature and is certainly “kissing [ our own] hand”. Giving ourselves credit for anything we do in this life is no different than worshiping the sun or the moon, and is nothing less that worshiping the beast within us.

LARRY
Verses 23-28

Mike points out that, like Job, we do not understand the need to be broken. Earthen vessels profit nothing. This is shown in the symbol of the (useless) potsherd in Isa 30:14 in Mike’s notes:

Isa 30:14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potter’s vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.

This potsherd is useless and cannot even carry a coal of fire or a drop of water, typifying the spiritual words of God. This links also to Isa 45:9 and Job 2:8:

Isa 45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Job 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

In this verse, Job associates with this (useless) potsherd while he is still trying to make it useful. This typifies his inward struggle to find a reason for his earthly life, possessions and misfortunes as all the many words of Job shows us up to this chapter. He cannot see that all the good that flesh can produce (his righteousness) is actually useless in spiritual terms (a filthy, stinking cloth) and that is the lesson we all are learning as we get to know how God is working all things through this earthly evil experience.

But it is true that we must be brought to our “wits’ end” before we can be brought to our “desired haven”. So until we come to that point, we go on in our blindness:

Job 31:29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:
Job 31:30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
Job 31:31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.

Can we condemn our God without rejoicing at the destruction of His ways which bring us to see ourselves as His enemy?

Job 19:11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.
Job 19:12 His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.

We treat our God with such little regard in comparison to ourselves that we cannot see that our condemnation of our heavenly Father amounts to rejoicing at the destruction of His ways. Yet we have the nerve to maintain that we have never “suffered [ our] mouth to sin” against our God. It amounts to lifting up ourselves against Him for what we see as evil on His part. How can we condemn our God and say we have not cursed Him? How can we blaspheme Him, and say we have not cursed His soul? But we do, and as always we see ourselves as righteous by condemning our God.

Job 31:32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
Job 31:33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
Job 31:34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?

Job is certain that he had done none of these things and is blinded by His maker to the fact that his sin of condemning his God is far greater than all these sins against his fellow man combined. Job, as the type and shadow of what we are, cannot see that his sin of self- righteousness is inherent to, and is far better hidden within the flesh of our natural, “first man Adam” than was Adam’s physical nakedness. Little do we see that “in [ our] bosom” is exactly where our transgressions and our iniquity are hidden within us.

LARRY
Verses 29-34:

Every earthly or carnal law encourages outward good works:

Exo 23:4 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
Exo 23:5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.

And if the outward laws require good works as Job claims he achieved, the inward or spiritual law require much more, and that is what Job will fint out he does not have in his self- righteous state of mind:

Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

But God is working with His creation to bring it to its wits’ end, so we cry out to Him:

Job 31:35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.

As we have demonstrated so many times, God is indeed the enemy of our “enmity against God”, carnal- minded, rebellious, old man. He has decreed that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, and a million sermons to the contrary will not change that decree. As we showed in Job 19:11, “the Almighty” and “mine adversary” are one and the same.

This is a request which is in the process of being answered for Job. God has already “written in [ His] book”, every blasphemous word Job and each of us speak as we condemn Him for His ways as they work their work in our lives.

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.

Job 31:36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.
Job 31:37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.

How proud we all are just before we come crashing down to the dust we came from:

Pro 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Job 31:38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
Job 31:39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:
Job 31:40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

Now we know that our “land” is our bodies of flesh and blood, and that it is exactly what “cries against [ us]”. Now we know that our self- righteousness “eats the fruits” good or evil, brought forth in this ‘land’ without giving God the credit. Knowing all this, we have, in effect in our own minds, caused the lawful owner thereof to die within our lives, and without a doubt, thistles, cockles, and tares are growing instead of wheat and barley. “The words of Job are ended”, but this is the second time Job has made the request he made way back in the sixth chapter:

Job 6:24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

This request is made in a spirit of carnal pride, but as we will now see, Job will indeed be “cause[ d]… to understand wherein [ he, and we] ha[ ve] erred” and we will see ourselves for the vile person we all are by nature and by birth. Job is just about to begin to be shown what King David came to see after thinking he could hide his sins against his Creator from his Creator:

Psa 51:1 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Psa 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
Psa 51:3 For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me.
Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest.
Psa 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.

LARRY
Verses 35-40:

All of us are guilty of using God’s gold to make our own images that we glory in as we lay claims to God’s work in us, good and evil. We regard God’s works in our lives as our personal liabilities and our personal assets on our balance sheet.

Eze 16:17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,
Joe 3:5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

The right way to give an account is to agree that it was all of God as He works all things in every aspect of our lives. But Job at this stage is still under the influence of God’s strong delusion as he thinks he has a good case to prove his innocence, even as he wants God to hear him. But God was present in all of Job’s life as God also was behind his calamities and the arguments of his three comforters. God knows the intents of the prideful, self- righteous heart of Job (and all our hearts more than we can ever imagine with our natural mind):

1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart [ do not look on Job’s many words].

Next week we will meet Elihu, who will be speaking on God’s behalf. God could have spoken to Job Himself as He had done to so many before and as He does to Job after Elihu speaks. But our heavenly Father wants us to know who we are in every way. We are all “the first man Adam” before we become “the last Adam”. So we are all Job, before we become Elihu, who bears witness to the words of God, in advance of our own resurrection from the dead, which Job’s conversion typifies.

Here are our verses for next week’s study:

Job 32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
Job 32:2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
Job 32:3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
Job 32:4 Now Elihu had waited to speak unto Job, because they were elder than he.
Job 32:5 And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was kindled.
Job 32:6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; Wherefore I held back, and durst not show you mine opinion.
Job 32:7 I said, Days should speak, And multitude of years should teach wisdom.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
Job 32:9 It is not the great that are wise, Nor the aged that understand justice.
Job 32:10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will show mine opinion.
Job 32:11 Behold, I waited for your words, I listened for your reasonings, Whilst ye searched out what to say.

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