Job’s story in the Bible is heart-wrenching and encouraging. How could the Father let one of His righteous people go through so much? I know, I know, the Book of Job is also just plain difficult to read in its own right with all of the poetic language and metaphors that the various people use throughout their interactions, sometimes it can be difficult to see what’s going on. There are a lot of lessons that can be gleaned from the text, some more obvious than others. From time to time we get these glimpses, these moments where something profound is said or hinted at if only we take a moment to really consider the words on the page. I found one of those occasions in Job chapter 29:11-16.
11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it approved,
12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him.
13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
At this point in the narrative, Job is retelling what his life was like before the Adversary was given permission to shake him, to take things from him. Job’s life was inspiring, at least to me. Listen to all that the Father accomplished through him, the influence he had in his community, and how he was walking a life of loving his neighbor and loving his god.
They (the people) listened to what he had to say and saw the wisdom of it and supported him. Why? Because he saved the needy who cried out for help. He saved an orphan who had no other form of support (v. 11-12).
In verse 13 we find that those who were about to die would bless Job, even in their own moments of despair. Other translations say it was those who were wretched, such as when someone on their deathbed passes on their blessings to those they care about. Consider times like Genesis 49 when Jacob pronounces blessings on his sons or Genesis 27 when Isaac calls for his firstborn son to bless him before he died. Such blessings were important, and they were being given to Job because of how he affected people’s lives. Job would also make the widow’s heart to sing for joy; this would only happen if he were living a life loving his neighbor and taking care of the widows as God commands His people to do.
The next three verses are all further illustrations of Job living a righteous life, living according to the command of the Most High God, Creator of the Universe. Loving God by walking in his ways (Deuteronomy 6:5, Deuteronomy 11:1, 1 John 5:2-3), loving his neighbor (Leviticus 19:16-18). How does he put on righteousness and have it clothe him?
And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord [YHWH] our God, as he has commanded us.’ (Deuteronomy 6:25)
Job was clothed in righteousness because he was careful to all the commands of the Father. Does being clothed in righteousness sound familiar? What’s another time we are told to be clothed in such?
…put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14b)
The armor of God includes the breastplate of righteousness. We need to be clothed in righteousness, following the ways of the Father, and when we fail to do that, we need to repent and let the Messiah’s perfect righteousness clothe us. Being righteous is important, and the only way we can be clothed in it is to follow the ways of the Father and having faith in His Son.
Note what piece of our armor the righteousness is. It’s the breastplate, it’s the piece that protects our hearts, our lungs, and all of our vital internal organs such as the diaphragm. Without the breastplate of righteousness, we have little protection for the largest target that houses some of the most important pieces of our bodies. Living righteous lives, following the Father, and living right in the ways He wants us to is crucial for our lives and the lives of others. We cannot be righteous before the Creator if we aren’t loving our neighbor, much like Job did. Let’s look at what Job did one more time.
When the ear heard, it called me blessed,
and when the eye saw, it approved,
because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to help him.
The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
my justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy,
and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
Here are some (there are many others) Scripture verses where these sorts of actions are commanded to the people who claim to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
1 Timothy 5:3
1 John 3:17
Are you living like Job before he was tested? We should all examine our lives and see if are living a life worthy of being called our Father’s child. Are we following His ways, His instructions, living righteously before Him by loving Him (1 John 5:2-4) and loving our neighbor (Leviticus 16:18) and thus wearing the breastplate of righteousness? Or are we following the instructions of another and only loving ourselves and what is wicked, being god unto ourselves, and leaving ourselves wide open with no protection?
May the Father bless and guide you.
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