The commitment that made Job famous

“When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him. The man who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing. I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth.” -Job 29:7-17

Job was famous in his time, and he still is in ours. I suspect that today, for most people, Job’s name is synonymous with wealth; until this weekend, that would have been my first thought whenever I heard his name. Yet that is not what he was most known for in his lifetime. Until this weekend’s sermon, which came from Job 29, I had never quite realized how committed Job was to working for the poor and the vulnerable, or that he attributed his reputation to that commitment. Based on this chapter, the respect he enjoyed was due not to his wealth, but to his work for these people.

That really makes sense. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you meet a powerful person devoted to helping the powerless. Lots of people talk and write fervently about helping the vulnerable–how many of us devote that same energy into actually helping?

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