The Lord Sees All My Ways
Job Chapter 31
"I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? For what is the allotment of God from above, And the inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is it not destruction for the wicked, And disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does He not see my ways, And count all my steps?
"If I have walked with falsehood, Or if my foot has hastened to deceit, Let me be weighed on honest scales, That God may know my integrity. If my step has turned from the way, Or my heart walked after my eyes, Or if any spot adheres to my hands, Then let me sow, and another eat; Yes, let my harvest be rooted out.
"If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, Then let my wife grind for another, And let others bow down over her. For that would be wickedness; Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, And would root out all my increase.
"If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant When they complained against me, What then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
"If I have kept the poor from their desire, Or caused the eyes of the widow to fail, Or eaten my morsel by myself, So that the fatherless could not eat of it (But from my youth I reared him as a father, And from my mother's womb I guided the widow*); If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, Or any poor man without covering; If his heart has not blessed me, And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have raised my hand against the fatherless, When I saw I had help in the gate; Then let my arm fall from my shoulder, Let my arm be torn from the socket. For destruction from God is a terror to me, And because of His magnificence I cannot endure.
"If I have made gold my hope, Or said to fine gold, 'You are my confidence'; If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, And because my hand had gained much; If I have observed the sun when it shines, Or the moon moving in brightness, So that my heart has been secretly enticed, And my mouth has kissed my hand; This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, For I would have denied God who is above.
"If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me, Or lifted myself up when evil found him (Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin By asking for a curse on his soul); If the men of my tent have not said, 'Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?' (But no sojourner had to lodge in the street, For I have opened my doors to the traveler*);
If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom, Because I feared the great multitude, And dreaded the contempt of families, So that I kept silence And did not go out of the door-- Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, That my Prosecutor had written a book!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, And bind it on me like a crown; I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him. "If my land cries out against me, And its furrows weep together; If I have eaten its fruit without money, Or caused its owners to lose their lives; Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, And weeds instead of barley."
The words of Job are ended.
TAKE AWAY POINTS TO CONSIDER
Two things Job had an eye to:
[1.] God’s omniscience. It is a great truth that God’s eyes are upon all the ways of men (Prov. 5:20, 21); but Job here mentions it with application to himself and his own actions: Doth not he see my ways? O God! thou hast searched me and known me. God sees what rule we walk by, what company we walk with, what end we walk towards, and therefore what ways we walk in.
[2.] His observance. "He not only sees, but takes notice; he counts all my steps, all my false steps in the way of duty, all my by-steps into the way of sin.’’ He not only sees our ways in general, but takes cognizance of our particular steps in these ways, every action, every motion. He keeps account of all, because he will call us to account, will bring every work into judgment.
God Counts Our Steps
God takes a more exact notice of us than we do of ourselves; for who ever counted his own steps? yet God counts them. Let us therefore walk circumspectly. He stood upon his guard against the love of the world, and carefully avoided all sinful indirect means of getting wealth. He dreaded all forbidden profit as much as all forbidden pleasure.
Job never hasted to deceit. Those that deceive must be quick and sharp, but Job’s quickness and sharpness were never turned that way. He never made haste to be rich by deceit, but always acted cautiously, lest, through inconsideration, he should do an unjust thing.
Because what we have in the world may be either used with comfort or lost with comfort if it was honestly obtained. Job's steps never turned out of the way, the way of justice and fair dealing; from that he never deviated, He not only took care not to walk in a constant course and way of deceit, but he did not so much as take one step out of the way of honesty. In every particular action and affair we must closely tie ourselves up to the rules of righteousness.
Job's heart did not walk after his eyes, that is, he did not covet what he saw that was another’s, nor wish it his own. Covetousness is called the lust of the eye. Job made sure that there was no blot had cleaved to his hands, that is, he was not chargeable with getting any thing dishonestly, or keeping that which was another’s, whenever it appeared to be so. Injustice is a blot, a blot to the estate, a blot to the owner; it spoils the beauty of both, and therefore is to be dreaded. Those that deal much in the world may perhaps have a blot come upon their hands, but they must wash it off again by repentance and restitution, and not let it cleave to their hands.
Job wanted to be weighed in an even balance, that is, "Let what I have got be enquired into and it will be found to weigh well’’—a sign that it was not obtained by vanity, for then Tekel would have been written on it— weighed in the balance and found too light.
An honest man is so far from dreading a trial that he desires it rather, being well assured that God knows his integrity and will approve it, and that the trial of it will be to his praise and honour. He is willing to forfeit the whole cargo if there be found any prohibited or contraband goods, any thing but what he came honestly by.
"Let me sow, and let another eat,’’ which was already agreed to be the doom of oppressors (ch. 5:5), "and let my offspring, all the trees that I have planted, be rooted out.’’ This intimates that he believed the sin did deserve this punishment, that usually it is thus punished, but that though now his estate was ruined (and at such a time, if ever, his conscience would have brought his sin to his mind), yet he knew himself innocent and would venture all the poor remains of his estate upon the issue of the trial.
Matthew Henry Complete Commentary