Job 29-31: Job's second monologue: A review of earlier days
(Job 29) contrasted with Job's present situation (Job 30); a silent repudiation
of evil and an appeal to God (Job 31).
Job 29; 30: "This is Job's final review and appeal to his
friends concerning his sad state (Job 29:1-31:40). He recalls his previous
state, and explains his view of the matter. Then in Job 30 he contrasts his
present state and declares that he suffers for no purpose. Thus the chapters
reveal:  His prosperity in the past was a blessing from God: Job 29:1-6. 
The honor previously afforded him: vv 7-13.  The extent to which Job tried to
help others: vv 14-17.  He confidently had anticipated that his prosperity
and honor would continue: vv 18-25...  But he is now treated disrespectfully
by the lowest of society: Job 30:1-11.  He is despised even by the youth: vv
12-14.  His mental depression: vv 15,16.  His physical suffering: vv
17,18.  His lack of communion with God: vv. 19-24.  His personal
frustration: vv 25-31.
"As a leper, Job was treated with disrespect by the absolute
dregs of humanity, unemployable wretches who obtained their sustenance by
scavenging (Job 30:1-8). The experience of Job was shared by the Christ (cp v 9
with Isa 53:3-5; Psa 35:15; 69:12; then cp v 10 with Isa 50:6; Mat 26:67;
26:30). But whereas Job did not understand the purpose of his sufferings, the
Lord Yahshua did. We now benefit from the record of Job and the example of the
"Job 29 is a significant [chapter], because it is here that
Job makes his crucial error. In his desperation to prove that he is a righteous
man, he neglects the role of God in his life -- he fails to acknowledge that it
is God who has set him up as a pillar in his ecclesia. He resents the loss of
his prosperity and reputation. He claims that God has brought him so low that he
can do nothing more in his community. But this is untrue.
"He speaks of the time 'when the Almighty was with me', but
his mistake is in assuming that God has ever left! He laments that men no longer
respect him, but he forgets that in God's eyes, he has not changed! 'You are
still the same person,' says God, 'And there is no reason why you cannot still
lead a productive life.'
"This is the hardest step for Job to take -- to accept that
God speaks the truth. And surely we know how he feels. Similar disappointments
and trials have arisen in our own lives. We have lost things that we worked hard
for; we have not received things that we needed; we have been misunderstood,
misrepresented, humiliated. But we cannot afford to dwell on the past.
"For if our own expectations have gone unfulfilled; if we do
not achieve some of the goals that we had hoped for, we must learn to let them
go, instead of striving vainly for them as if they are ours by right.
"We proclaim the righteousness of God when we resign ourselves
to our current circumstances and submit to the life that He has decided we must
have. And if, at some stage, we find ourselves in a position of responsibility
and authority, guiding the congregation and assisting our brethren and sisters,
let us praise God for this privileged role. For if we do not, we will repeat the
sin of Job and Moses, in claiming that it is by our own power that we have
brought water from the rock" (David Burke).
Whereas Job was plainly a righteous, indeed a "perfect" man
(Job 1:1) -- under extreme testing, physical and mental and spiritual, he came
up short. But this should be no reflection on him; almost certainly, none of us
would have fared nearly so well as did he.
And that seems, to me, to be one of the key features of the
Book of Job. Even though Job is a type of Christ -- and that is very plain to
see -- he can, of necessity, be nothing more than an imperfect type! The very
best of men, tested in something like the way that Jesus would be tested, while
comporting himself very well in the beginning, and enduring fairly well the
continued trials (brought on by his "friends"!)... still came up short: drifting
down into self-pity and anger and bitterness.
But, of course, it would ill become us to make any disparaging
remarks about Job's reactions to his extreme trials. What might our reactions
have been, in similar circumstances? I almost hesitate to ask the question, for
fear of... whatever!
The Book of Job is there in the Bible, I think, to remind us:
here's what the VERY BEST or men could do with something approaching the VERY
WORST of trials. Job is both a comparison and a contrast, to Christ. And in his
great trial, and his (relative) coming short, Job simply emphasizes to us the
incredible nature of the character and trials and sufferings of our Lord. How
humbling is that!
I am a sports fan, and baseball is my game, especially. It's
interesting, from a historical perspective, to note that in the history of
baseball -- with literally thousands of players participating on the highest
level for well over 100 years -- there have been maybe a dozen pitchers who
could consistently throw a baseball over 100 miles per hour. Hundreds and
hundreds of pitchers can hit, maybe, 95 miles per hour; and thousands could
generate, say, 90 miles per hour. But only the very, very greatest could have
occasionally thrown a baseball at 100 or 102 miles per hour -- and they are
legendary: Walter Johnson, Satchel Paige, Bob Feller, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson.
(For perspective's sake, very good amateur pitchers might hit 80 mph -- and
ordinary people, on the best days of their young lives, might have thrown a
baseball 60 mph.)
Anyway, with that in perspective, suppose there came along a
pitcher would could consistently throw a baseball... let us, say, 150 miles per
hour. Well, first of all, it would revolutionize the game of baseball -- such a
baseball would be, for all practical purposes -- unhittable. The very rules of
the game would have to be changed. (120 miles per hour would be unhittable, for
In the realm of such pitching (which, admittedly, has limited
value otherwise -- but just for the sake of discussion), a Walter Johnson or a
Bob Feller would be... Job. The extraordinarily talented or gifted man -- one
among thousands -- whose feats are so far beyond other mortals as to make their
comparison with him ludicrous.
But alongside such a "superman", how would we characterize the
man who could throw 150% as fast as he?
Symbols of prosperity and plenty: Job 20:17; Deu
STREAMS OF OLIVE OIL: Cp Deu 32:13: olive oil out of
stone presses, ie bountiful harvests. Oil sym. abundant light. Goodness came to
him from the most unexpected sources.
PUBLIC SQUARE: "Broad place" (RV mg), where justice was
administered (2Ch 32:6; Neh 8:1).