Chapter’s 29-31 make up Job’s last speeches. In this one, Job remembers how happy he was before all of these troubles began. He looks back longingly to those days, believing that God was with him then – and that such is no longer the case (verses 2-5). In verse 6, he remembers “when my steps were washed with butter, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil.” This is likely a reference to his great wealth, which included much cattle and olive groves.
Job fondly remembers that he had his own place at the city gate (always the gathering place for the important men of a city in those days). He was respected and deferred to by the young men as well as the old – and even the nobles and princes (verses 7-10). His thoughts and opinions were valued, and many sought his counsel. He then spends some time remembering how he helped the poor, the orphans, the lame, and those who were oppressed by the unrighteous.
As he speaks of all of these things, he does not do so in a manner that is boastful or vain. And he does not long for such times simply because he longs for the respect of his station in life. Job was happy in those time because of the good that he was able to do to others. We were made to serve to serve God, and to serve our fellow-man. Of the things that he has lost, being deprived of his health and his wealth, as well as being held in disdain and shunned by others has cost him something much more dear. Job has been deprived of his ability to serve, and he knows what many of us never learn. We are happiest when we serve others.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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