Long before Kipling, Job understood the power of “if,” for he uses it on himself in self-examination the way the surgeon uses a scalpel. 31 times he uses the word “if” as it is recorded in the thirty-first chapter of Job, fifteen times directly, and 16 times indirectly. Job understood the perfection of the Almighty and in the course of the bad counsel of so-called friends, Job examines himself against God, who said of him, “there is none like him in all the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:8) The fear of God is what keeps one from evil—how does Job measure up against God who is good? The baseline for examination is found in God Himself, knowing that sin must be punished (Job 31:2-4). What does God know to be true about your own walk in life?
Job first examines his integrity (Job 31:5-8). He basically says, “Let me be weighed in the scales truth, then we will know what kind of person I am.” Another way to ask this would be, “how many lies have I told?” Nobody is exempt of this examination as many centuries later, we see that God weighed the heart of Belshazzar, who came up short and he received from God his portion of calamity for his iniquity (Daniel 5). God has an attitude about truth, as “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22).
Heart and integrity go together, and Job wants to make certain that he is walking correctly before God (31:7). Job clearly states that he does not follow his eyes. Some make it very clear that they only believe what they can see, so walking by faith is absurd. Can you trust your eyes? Ask yourself this simple question: “have you ever seen the sunrise?” The answer is: no. The sun does not rise. So can you trust your eyes? Of course not! That’s why magic and slight-of-hand are so much fun! There is a blessing for the one who does not walk in the pathway of sinners (Psalm 1)!
“ . . . if any spot has stuck to my hands,” (31:7) means simply, “have I ever taken for myself anything that belongs to someone else?” Regardless of the reason or the value of the object, what has stuck to your hands? Job is examining himself to make certain his conscience is clear of any stealing. Why? Because there are consequences to stealing! “Let me sow and another eat, and let my crops be uprooted,” (31:8) implies restitution both in the human and the divine sense!
The next set of verses (31:9-12) addresses adultery and lust. He first examines his own life to find out if he has been enticed, or ever gone looking for a sexual encounter outside of marriage (31:9). If so, then let there be consequences! He admits that if someone came in to his wife, it would be a criminal and punishable offense, so why would he be any different (31:10-12)? The Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that looking with lust is the same as committing the act of adultery and this, too, is sin. Job acknowledges the consuming fire that awaits the adulterer.
How does God see your heart? Do you have integrity?
How many lies do you think you’ve told?
Have you ever taken anything that did not belong to you, regardless of the reason or value?
Have you ever looked with lust?
You are going to stand before God on Judgment Day to receive a portion from the Almighty. He sees your ways and has all your steps in His eyes—would you be “innocent” or “guilty?”