Love Your Neighbor
Think about those with whom you live, work and socialize. Pray for those you find hard to get along with.
Read JOB 31:1-40
 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.  For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high?  Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?  Does he not see my ways and count my every step?  “If I have walked with falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit-  let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless-  if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled,  then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted.  “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,  then may my wife grind another man’s grain, and may other men sleep with her.  For that would have been wicked, a sin to be judged.  It is a fire that burns to Destruction; it would have uprooted my harvest.  “If I have denied justice to any of my servants, whether male or female, when they had a grievance against me,  what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?  Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?  “If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,  if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless-  but from my youth I reared them as a father would, and from my birth I guided the widow-  if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments,  and their hearts did not bless me for warming them with the fleece from my sheep,  if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court,  then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint.  For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.  “If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’  if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained,  if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor,  so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,  then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.  “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune or gloated over the trouble that came to him-  I have not allowed my mouth to sin by invoking a curse against their life-  if those of my household have never said, ‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’-  but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler-  if I have concealed my sin as people do, by hiding my guilt in my heart  because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside-  (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense-let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.  Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown.  I would give him an account of my every step; I would present it to him as to a ruler.)-  “if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears,  if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants,  then let briers come up instead of wheat and stinkweed instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does Job assert his innocence and confidence?
Job trusts in God’s fair judgment for all sin (2-4). The sins that Job so graphically describes are those that humans have been guilty of from the beginning. Sexual sin (1-4,9-12), deceit and dishonesty (5-8), selfishness (16-23), exploitation of others (13-15,29-32,38-40), love of money (24,25), and hiding our sinful ways from others for fear of what they might say (33,34)—all are known to us.
Lust and adultery are often not regarded as sin today. “It doesn’t hurt anyone,” we say. But each child born out of wedlock, each broken marriage, sends ripples of hurt through the families involved and out into society.
And it is our own society and societies in other countries that are also hurt when we deny justice (13) or exploit others (38,39) by reason of race, nationality or status. Begrudging regular help for those struggling to make a living or to cope with the aftermath of disasters (16,19,20) can be closely linked with love of money (24,25) and the possessions it can buy. All are sins for which we must account.
Read the passage again, and ask God to show you where you have sinned. Ask his forgiveness because of Jesus.
Holy Lord, help me to grow in sensitivity to temptation and sin so that I can resist and avoid them more and more.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.