With chapter 31, the long speech of Job comes to an end. In it, Job has praised the power (chapter 26) and justice (27) of God. He has confessed that true wisdom is to be found only in God (28) but he has also pined for the good old days when it seemed God was so close to him and blessing him (29-30). As he ends the speech, he describes the lifestyle that is important to God.
God wants His people to keep sexually pure. Don’t you find it interesting that Job would mention this first? God wants His people to be honest, to treat even underlings fairly, paying attention to their grievances. He wants them help those least able to help themselves, to provide for the needy and to speak up for the powerless. He doesn’t want us to be so enchanted by wealth that we cannot be awed by the power of God. He doesn’t want us to rejoice in the misfortunes of others – even though they be deserved. Nor does he want us to speak to or about others, but to be hospitable and caring to all.
Job says: “This is the way I have lived. I dare anyone to prove otherwise.”
If Job lived this way, why is he suffering? The fact is, there is no explanation for some suffering. Is it better to do evil and suffer for it, or to do good and suffer in spite of it? Given that in the end we will be judged by a righteous God, if those are my only two alternatives, the latter is the way to go. It’s certainly the route Job took.