The Portrait of a Good Man

Wendy Pope

Day: 29 | Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Today’s Reading: Job 29

Job 29:2-3 (NIV) “ How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness!

When we are facing possible death, we tend to open the pages of our past. This is where we find our suffering friend. Job wants to return to the past, the days when God “watched over him” (Job 29:2) and he was in prime (Job 29:4) – the time when blessings seemed limitless and suffering limited. These were the days before his children were taken and his health failed – the days he felt God close. As the “friendly” dialogues have become more forceful, Job has been emphatic in his argument of his innocence. He reminds himself and his remaining friends of all the good things in the good old days.

As Job looks back, he paints a beautiful portrait of God’s bountiful blessings and how Job used them to benefit others.

  • Job was a respected leader in his community. Community leaders conducted business in the open square and at the city gate. At these meetings, they rendered justice and made business and judicial decisions. The young, old, noble and common folks would stop to listen when Job spoke. His wisdom and knowledge made him a sought member of the town. People would approach him in the streets to glean discernment in important personal matters.
  • Job leveraged his blessings for others in need. When the needy cried out to him, he helped them. (Job 29:13-17) He paid special attention to those who no one helped, the widow and orphan. Job fought fiercely against evil.

In a matter of moments, Job disproved the arguments of his friends. He had not been the ogre and evil man they had portrayed him to be. (Job 22:4-11) He was the portrait of a good man and had the blessed past to prove it. Job’s trip down memory lane not only disproves his friends, it proves what God said in his conversation with Satan in Job 1:8, “ Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.

As I grow older I like remembering the good old days — our past is important to our future. “ Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past” (Deuteronomy 32:7). Remembering helps us stay grounded in who we are, and most importantly who we are not.

The God who blessed us in the past is present with us in the now, and will lead us in our great future. Our past, including present suffering, is a precursor to the amazing new things God has in store for us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for my past and I long to trust You for better days. Everything that I have accomplished is because of You working through me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to view my past so that I can reset myself in alignment with Your plan and Your greatness. I look forward to where You will lead me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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