In chapter 29, Job begins to reminisce his better days. You can hear his mourning in his speech. We know how much he has lost, but of that, here, we learn what he most misses.
In verses 2-6, Job mourns the loss of God’s favor. He implies that he feels God is no longer watching over him, no longer lighting his way, no more his friend and no longer with him. How terrifying.
Next, in verses 7-17, Job mourns the loss of his good reputation as well as the respect he’d earned by his good life. This is not so much about him being disgraced as it is about him being disqualified for good use. We know because he was most upset about his loss of ability to serve, to protect, to do justice, and to be used due to his state and others’ presumption about its cause. The fact that people think he’s spiritually unfit, sinful, and deserving of punishment make him the last person on earth they will ever trust, believe, lean on or look to. How devastating.
Finally, in verses 21-25, Job mourns the honor he formerly had. He who had much wisdom, much experience, and the most right to be heard had not one who was still listening. How frustrating.
Verses 18-20 tell us that Job fully expected to live out his days in the blessing he’d been experiencing. Naturally, if you’re doing right, being faithful, and being blessed, it’s easy to begin to believe that the blessing is a result of the service – and sometimes it may well be. God does reward faithfulness – both on earth and in heaven. A man reaps what he sows. It’s just that, sometimes, he chooses to do it on earth and other times he waits until heaven.
The truth is that we are never promised earthly blessings in exchange for faithfulness to God. We are only promised heavenly ones (which, I really have a feeling, are much better anyway.) If we happen to get earthly blessings, it’s an extra gift. And it’s not because we were perfectly faithful anyway (we never are), but because God is.
So, what do you do when you’ve dotted your i’s, crossed your t’s, lived in God’s favor, and then it all goes terribly wrong? What do you do when you’ve truly done your very best to please God and be faithful, and yet, life becomes terrifying, devastating, and sickeningly frustrating?
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ~Mark 15:34
You remember Jesus. God’s favor was removed from him for a time, too. His reputation was quite sketchy despite his…perfect life. He, who was most deserving of honor, was dishonored most severely.
Faithfulness is not a free ticket to earthly blessing, but, usually, just the opposite. Rest assured that even if no one else ever does, God sees and he will surely reward you in heaven.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. ~Hebrews 11:6