Wednesday, April 24, 2013
the reputation of the righteous
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
The testimony that Job shares of his reputation is not bragging. He is telling the truth. He was a consciously committed person. He was resolved to be righteous; to use his wealth, position, and wisdom to make his world a better place. He cared about all the people about whom God cared. And he backed up that concern with actions and giving to make a huge difference.
Job characterized his life of just a few months back as marked by serious relationship and friendship with God (Job 29:4). His family was strong (Job 29:5). He was a wise counselor whom society respected and people sought out for advice (Job 29:7-11; 21-25). He was involved as a civic leader and judge who settled disputes and corrected injustices (Job 29:12-17). And he envisioned a full life, ending in peace, contentment, and the respect of his peers (Job 29:17-20).
Of course, Job should not have had to remind his accusing "comforters" with these facts. But the reality was that they had conveniently forgotten all of this in their zeal to explain away Job's suffering. They could have helped him like he had helped so many. All this shows that even a righteous man's reputation will be twisted by his sinful, selfish contemporaries. The only person it really mattered with was God... and God was more impressed with Job's character than his position. It would be that character that would emerge from the fire unscathed despite the loss of family, future, friends, and fortune. And from that friendship with God a new life would be rebuilt on the reputation of a righteous man.