“I smiled on them when they had no confidence, and the light of my face they did not cast down. I chose their way and sat as chief, and I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.’”
In William Shakespeare’s play Henry V, King Harry walks among his troops on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt disguised so as to comfort them, encourage them and to ascertain their morale.
I like the picture this paints of a monarch becoming just one of his own subjects in order to strengthen their resolve and spirits.
The greatest example of this, truly the personification of this, is Jesus Christ himself. God became a human being and walked among us in order to save us from our sins, from death, and from the devil.
John’s Gospel says it this way: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Job’s life prior to being attacked by the Accuser doesn’t exactly parallel this but it is similar.
In Chapter 29, Job tells his three “friends” about how he lived his life. While he was characterized as “the greatest of all the people of the east” he didn’t lord this over people.
He was well-respected by both those younger than he and those older than he. He was blessed materially by God. But he used his high-standing and wealth to help those who needed it!
He would help the orphans and the widows, to make sure they had enough to live, and even more, so that they had joy in life.
This kind of attitude would be taught by James (the brother of Jesus) as “true religion” – “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
Why did Job do this? That’s a good question. There is no direct answer given. So, the answer could be one of two things: 1) in order to get a reward, either from God or from other people – as in “Look at me! Look how good I am!” or 2) he’s doing this as a response to the abundant grace and love God has showered on him.
I think that number two is the answer, simply because in chapter 1 Job is described as “blameless and upright.”
It turns out that number one would have been a wasted effort, if that was why Job was doing all his “good works.” If Job was being kind and generous to the poor, orphans, and widows in order to bank up goodwill in case he needed to receive some for himself if things turned sour in his own life, he would be sorely disappointed!
Which is what happens, as Job will articulate in chapter 30 – which we will cover in the next devotion.
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