In the book of Job we read about a very rich man who has everything and then suddenly loses it all. In one day, all his children are killed in a tornado, all his businesses are stolen or destroyed, almost all his servants are killed and then shortly afterwards his health breaks down leaving him in agony with boils all over his body.
His wife says to him, “Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But Job says to her, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” What an attitude!
In fact in the midst of his troubles in a dialogue with his friends, Job goes on to say “Though He (i.e. God) slay me, yet will I trust Him.” What kind of man is this? How did he build such integrity into his life?
We sometimes hear people speak on the characteristics of a virtuous woman using the text from Proverbs 31. What about noble men? Does the bible have anything to say about them?
The answer is yes. In Job chapter 31, Job outlines the character traits of a noble man, traits he personally lived by. I’ll let him speak for himself: Job 31:1-40 NKJV
1. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?
2. For what is the allotment of God from above, and the inheritance of the Almighty from on high?
3. Is it not destruction for the wicked, and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
4. Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?
5. If I have walked with falsehood, or if my foot has hastened to deceit,
6. Let me be weighed in a just balance, that God may know my integrity.
7. If my step has turned from the way, or my heart walked after my eyes, or if any spot adheres to my hands,
8. Then let me sow, and another eat; yes, let my harvest be rooted out.
9. If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbour's door,
10. Then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down over her.
11. For that would be wickedness; yes, it would be iniquity worthy of judgment.
12. For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all my increase.
13. If I have despised the cause of my manservant or my maidservant when they complained against me,
14. what then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him?
15. Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
16. If I have kept the poor from their desire, or caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17. or eaten my morsel by myself, so that the fatherless may not eat of it
18. (But from my youth I reared him as a father, and from my mother's womb I guided the widow);
19. if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or any poor man without covering;
20. if his heart has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21. if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, when I saw I had help in the gate;
22. Then let my arm fall from my shoulder, let my arm be torn from the socket.
23. For destruction from God is a terror to me, and because of His magnificence I could not endure.
24. If I have made gold my hope, or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’;
25. If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because my hand had gained much;
26. If I have observed the sun when it shines, or the moon moving in brightness,
27. so that my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand;
28. this also would be an iniquity worthy of judgment, for I would have denied God who is above.
29. If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me, or lifted myself up when evil found him
30. (Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin by asking for a curse on his soul);
31. if the men of my tent have not said, ‘Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?’
32. (But no sojourner had to lodge in the street, for I have opened my doors to the traveller);
33. if I have covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
34. 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
35. 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!
36. Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, and bind it on me like a crown;
37. I would declare to Him the number of my steps; like a prince I would approach Him.
38. If my land cries out against me, and its furrows weep together;
39. if I have eaten its fruit without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives;
40. Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley.”
What it takes to be a real man…
• Make a covenant with your eyes not to lust after women;
• Always walk in integrity, flee false dealings and deceit;
• Decide to stick to the path of truth and not walk after the desires of your eyes nor have spots of wickedness on your hands;
• Determine to remain faithful to your wife and not be enticed by another woman or your neighbour’s wife;
• Choose to truly listen to people when they complain against you and honour their cause;
• Choose not to hinder the poor from their desire or give widows cause to give up hope;
• Choose to share what you have with others who lack, especially orphans;
• Determine not to let others go hungry, without clothing or without shelter;
• Stand up for the cause of the weak, the orphan;
• Put your confidence in God, not gold or money;
• Do not rejoice that you are rich or that you can make money;
• Choose to bow down only to God, not to idols of money, sex or fame;
• Weep over the destruction of your enemies;
• Bless your enemies, don’t curse them;
• Fulfill all your financial obligations diligently, pay your staff generously;
• Open your doors and welcome the refugee and the poor in;
• Confess your mistakes and make good, choose not to cover them up;
• Don’t be afraid of what others will think about you or do to you;
• Choose not to pursue gain at the expense of others.
And what did God have to say about Job and these values?
Then the Lord said to satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?"
So how do you measure up?