A little surprised that Job 31 has so captured my thoughts this morning. In my reading plan, it’s “competing” with Revelation 5 . . . the great “reveal” of the One worthy to take the scroll from Him who is seated on the throne. The One described as both the Lion who has conquered that He might rule (Rev. 5:5), and the Lamb that was slain (5:6) that He might ransom a people for God (5:9). And maybe part of the reason why I have been so captivated by Job 31 this morning is because it details a list of the iniquities for which the the Mighty Lion Lamb was slain. And of one, in particular, that sometimes hits pretty close to home.
Job 31 is the conclusion of Job’s defense before his comforters / accusers . . . and, with a bit of an edge, before His God. While he and his “friends” have been engaged in strong debate, they have agreed on one premise:
Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? (Job 31:3 ESV)
Short answer: Not necessarily. But that’s a thought for a different entry.
For these men, the answer is “Yes,” and therefore the debate centers upon Job’s righteousness . . . or lack thereof. And so, in his last gasp at making his defense, Job details a number of actions that, if he were guilty of them, would certainly be iniquities for which he would deserve judgment.
Job declares his list of things worthy of his calamitous circumstance. “If I have walked with falsehood” . . . “if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes” . . . “if my heart has been enticed toward a woman” (other than his wife) . . . “if I have rejected my manservant or my maidservant” . . . “if I have withheld anything that the poor desired” . . . “if I have made gold my trust or called fine gold my confidence.” These things, as well as others he lists, Job says would be deserving of calamity and disaster.
And in this list is one that caught my attention in particular . . .
. . . if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above. (Job 31:26-28 ESV)
Apparently, reverence was shown to idols by kissing them. Job’s saying, I think, if I were to behold the wonder of creation and were to somehow think that it was there all for me . . . that it was about me . . . that I was the center of the universe . . . if I kissed my hand because I am the one I idolize, then I would have been false to the God of creation . . . to God above.
And it hit me how easy it is for me to look at everything around me, and think it’s about me. How easy it is for my heart to be enticed such that I think the spotlight is on me. How prone I am to be tripped up by spending time looking up and still somehow kissing my own hand. Not that I idolize myself, but that I’m overly preoccupied with self.
God forgive such times of self-centeredness. Instead, direct my eyes to the Lion Lamb . . . the focus of all of heaven . . . the One who paid the price for those times when I end up “kissing my hand.” Thank God that the blood of Jesus is sufficient not only to ransom once-for-all, but to cleanse continually from acts of the flesh which seek to soil white garments of imputed righteousness.
To Him be the focus alone . . . to Him be the glory alone.