Job 29 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
Most of us can relate to Job in terms of our disappointment with some aspect of life in fallen world. We also know what it is like to reminisce of the good old days when we were oblivious to certain miseries and heartache that we now know through painful experience. But notice in the first four verses that what Job misses the most is the intimate fellowship of God. Although he doesn’t know why, as part of the trial that he is under, Job does not feel the presence of the Lord, nor does he taste the benefits of that sweet fellowship, and, yet, he longs for it as the day is long.
He also misses those days in which God’s blessing upon him gave him the opportunity to be a blessing to many others. Job fondly reflects upon those days in which he ministered to the blind and the lame, the poor and the widow, the foreigner and the mourner giving each of them his wise counsel, true justice, and a helping hand. Now that he is believed to be cursed by God, he is sitting in a field all by himself neither enjoying God’s fellowship nor profitably sharing God’s blessings with others.
Then, in vv.18-20 Job reveals the early expectations of his heart prior to these difficult trials. He assumed that he would die in his nest—that is—in his home surrounded by all of his children, but now his children are all dead and he assumes that he will soon be joining them. He also assumed that he would always be healthy, vibrant and fresh in order to refresh the hearts of others, but his strength is greatly diminished and his heart is bitter with grief.
Job really was a pivotal figure in ancient times. Here, he is compared to a judge, a king and a general in battle. When anyone needed help, he was the one they looked to; he was the one they trusted in, and he was the one they counted on, but now he is out for the count. Of course, his longing will be fulfilled in part, later on in the story, when God restores Job to his honored position and pours out his blessings upon him again. But we should not look passed Job’s longings during the time of his misery and rush for a happy ending. Nor should we assume that is all there is to this story.
In this chapter, the Lord is still giving us wisdom as we wrestle along with Job in our longings for paradise. Keep in mind that we, like Job, are sons of Adam created to rule over the earth as God’s stewards. Even though we are fallen creatures, we still bear the image of God, and eternity is still bound up in our hearts. When we look back upon the good ole days, we are merely remembering times of God’s blessing, which are all foretastes of the world to come. Thus what we are really longing for is not the past but the future. We are looking for that perfect world of love in which there is no pain and there is no injustice.
In v.6, Job is looking not only for the blessing of the old days, but the One whose blessings are greater in the future than they were in the past. Although the first part of the verse sounds awkward to us with his steps being washed with butter, Job simply means something similar to living in a land of milk and honey, a land of plenty, a land where God reigns.
But in the second part of the verse he speaks of the time when oil came out of the rock for him, similar to the water coming out of the rock for the Israelites under Moses’ leadership. In 1 Corinthians 10.4 the apostle Paul tells us that the Israelites drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. In other words, the blessings that we receive and the blessings that we long for are all found in Christ. In him, all the promises of God are yes and Amen. The ongoing issue for Job and his friends are their expectations in life in light of the promises of God. We may not all be restored to our former glory in this life as Job was, but we long for the same spiritual rock that he did, and we long for a world in which Christ reigns in goodness, power and justice, where we can feel secure and find our rest knowing that we have both the smile and blessing of God. May the Lord teach us patience in this fallen world as we persevere in our faith in Christ and understand and appreciate our longings for a spiritual reality and spiritual rock that we cannot see.