Job continues his response to Bildad. No matter what his friends say, Job will NOT admit to doing wrong. “I hold fast to my righteousness” (verse 6a).
All the arguments thrown at Job have done nothing to his confidence. He has searched his own heart and finds nothing there to condemn him. He will NOT admit wrong when there is none. He also intends to continue to stand firm, even up to death.
There is NO way I would ever say that about my own conduct. I know my own heart, and past, too well. What I would, and do, hold that strongly to is God’s forgiveness. He has said that if I confess my sins to Him, He will forgive them and remember them no more. Because of this I can stand in righteousness.
One word that grabbed my attention when reading our text was the word “right.” Job was asserting that God stripped him of his rights. I’m wondering what “right” he is referring to. Is it his “right” to live a blessed life? Is it his “right” to not suffer pain? Is it his “right” to not have his conduct called into question? What “right” is it?
When I think about “rights” I think about the Constitution of the United States of America. This is a natural thing for me to do as I live in the USA. But some of the things that I think of as “rights” are not universal for every nation. The ‘three biggies’ probably are; the right to 1) life, 2) liberty, and 3) pursuit of happiness. I’m sure they probably mean something a little different in each country though. What constitutes “liberty” in the USA most likely looks different than that in China or Russia. These rights, no matter how differently they are defined, are to be for ALL people. Another thing about a “right” is that no government is supposed to be able to take them away.
Thinking about Job’s words; “As God lives, Who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, Who has made my soul bitter” (verse 2) I wonder about this word “right.” No government is supposed to be able to take away a person’s “rights” but Job says that God did it to him.
God is NOT a “government entity” so He is NOT restrained by their constructs. But even under the right circumstances, governments DO take away people’s “rights.” The right of “liberty” is taken away from people who have committed a crime. They are placed in prisons and told nearly every move they can make. Even the “right” of life is stripped in the case of those who receive the death penalty for their crimes. The “preborn” or “unborn” children who are terminated through abortions are stripped of their ALL their “rights” in the favor of the mother’s “rights.”
I’m feeling like we don’t have ANY “rights” at all. Everything is a “privilege” instead. From the beginning, God granted us the “privilege” of life. He didn’t have to make man, He chose to. And when man broke God’s rules, God continued to allow man the “privilege” of a mortal existence. He let us live when He could have simply wiped it all away and started over.
Maybe a mortal existence could be termed a “right” that God granted to each of us. It is not the “life” He intended for us in the beginning but it was what remained after man broke God’s one law. The “privilege” of TRUE life came through Jesus. It is accessible to ALL but is only given to those who choose to surrender their current lives to Him.
A “privilege” is something that is granted to those meeting certain criteria. It could be any delineating factor. With driving a car, it is based on age and successful completion of some set skill standard. Something important about a “privilege” is that it can be revoked by the grantor at any time or the standards by which it is granted may change. The car example fits here too because in the United States of America, recent rules have changed to only allow driving privileges to those who can prove they are in the country legally; through birth or legal documentation demonstrating immigration status in accordance with the country’s laws. This change is fairly new and its enactment revoked the driving privileges of numerous people.
My long winded point is that a perfect life, or even a “blessed” one are NOT rights Job can claim God stripped from him. Yes, there is evidence of a correlation between being a godly person and having blessings in life, but it is not an iron clad guarantee. As I have said before, bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Job’s innocence did not guarantee he would never suffer difficulties. It did not make him immune to the fallen nature of our world.
What it did do was make him special to the Lord. And that specialness required fine tuning and training, just like the rest of God’s children. As God’s children, He teaches us, corrects us, and loves us. It is a privilege to be His child! But it is one that is open to EVERYONE. It is also one He will not revoke or change the requirements of. God will NOT strip it from you!
I’ll take God’s “privileges” over the “rights” of this world anytime!
God gives good things to His children. That is what Job was complaining about losing. But he NEVER lost God’s love. His circumstances didn’t dictate or demonstrate God’s love for him. And that love would see him through his trouble. Why? Because Job refused to give up on God.
Job had hope that God would again give him what he firmly believed was his “right” as a righteous man. In the final balance there is indeed a balancing. Job will see it again in his lifetime but we are not guaranteed it until we stand before God. On THAT day there will be justice.
Between now and then, I have to trust God to take care of me. No matter what comes in my life, I will hold fast to Him. God is my ONLY hope. And whatever comes in my life, He will sustain me. I am His child and I enjoy all the “privileges” of that relationship; the greatest being eternity with Him.
Father God, You put down so many conditions in Your Law. I could NEVER live up to them! But I can, and did, make the most important choice ever in choosing to surrender my life to You and Your Son. In doing so You gave me ALL the “rights & responsibilities” and “privileges” of sonship (daughtership). I am only able to make this choice because of You and Jesus. You could have completely locked me out but You didn’t. You loved me right into Your family and out of this world! I don’t know ALL the “rights and responsibilities” or even ALL the “privileges” associated with being Your daughter but I’m willing to spend a lifetime learning them. Or better yet, spending time with You.