How to Avoid Unmet Expectations

Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain dotcom. In this post we’re going to study Job 29-31 and learn how to avoid unmet expectations. When Job became wealthy and generous, he expected his prosperity to continue until his death, so when he lost everything, including his children and his health, he had difficulty understanding why this calamity happened to him. For us, this raises a question. What expectations should we have about our future health and prosperity? In this video we’re going to learn that as followers of Christ we should lower our expectations, and accept that suffering is almost inevitable.

Click on the video player to watch the video version of this post or scroll down the page to read the text version of this post.

Context

Job 1 tells us Job was blameless, God-fearing, a family man, and very wealthy.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.
Job 1:2 Seven sons and three daughters were born to him.
Job 1:3 His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Then there was a dialogue in heaven between Yahweh and Satan. Yahweh bragged about Job. Satan replied that Job only followed Yahweh because he was wealthy. Satan said if Job lost his wealth he would curse Yahweh. Yahweh allowed Satan to destroy all of Job’s possessions, kill his children, and afflict Job with boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet; however, Job did not curse Yahweh. Job stayed loyal to Yahweh.

Three friends named Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar went to comfort Job during his affliction. These four men had a long dialogue. The three friends insisted Job was suffering because he had sinned. They believed God was fair; therefore, Job would not be suffering unless he had done something to deserve his suffering. Job insisted he was innocent. Job believed God had unfairly turned against him for some unknown reason.

Job 29-31 is a speech by Job and it is the last speech of this dialogue with his friends. Job described both his former prosperity and his current suffering. Then he offered proof of his innocence. Job also revealed the expectations he used to have for his life.

One of the keys to understanding the Bible is understanding the pronouns. Many of the pronouns in the verses below are followed by words in brackets [ ] which were added by me to identify the antecedent of each pronoun.

Job yearned for the former days when he lived a life of ease and prosperity.

Job 29:1 And Job again took up his discourse and said,
Job 29:2 “Oh that I[Job] were as in months gone by,
As in the days when God watched over me;

Notice Job’s assumption that God no longer watched over him the way He used to.

Job 29:3 When His[God’s] lamp shone over my[Job] head,
And by His light I walked through darkness;
Job 29:4 As I[Job] was in the prime of my days,
When the friendship of God was over my tent;
Job 29:5 When the Almighty was yet with me[Job],
And my children were around me;
Job 29:6 When my[Job] steps were bathed in butter,
And the rock poured out for me streams of oil!

Job yearned for the former days when he was esteemed.

Job 29:7 “When I[Job] went out to the gate of the city,
When I took my seat in the square,
Job 29:8 The young men saw me[Job] and hid themselves,
And the old men arose and stood.
Job 29:9 “The princes stopped talking
And put their hands on their mouths;
Job 29:10 The voice of the nobles was hushed,
And their tongue stuck to their palate.

Job had a good reputation because he took care of the poor and needy.

Job 29:11 “For when the ear heard, it called me blessed,
And when the eye saw, it gave witness of me,

The word “ear” refers to Job’s ears. Job knew he was good because he heard people bless him with his own ears.
The word “eye” refers to Job’s eyes. Job knew he was innocent because he saw how people treated him and they treated him as a good person.

Job 29:12 Because I[Job] delivered the poor who cried for help,
And the orphan who had no helper.

Notice the word because. Verse 12 explains why verse 11 was true.

Job 29:13 “The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me[Job],
And I made the widow’s heart sing for joy.
Job 29:14 “I[Job] put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
My justice was like a robe and a turban.
Job 29:15 “I[Job] was eyes to the blind
And feet to the lame.
Job 29:16 “I[Job] was a father to the needy,
And I investigated the case which I did not know.

If Job was asked for help and didn’t know if the person truly needed help, he went and investigated their case to see if they truly needed help.

Job 29:17 “I[Job] broke the jaws of the wicked
And snatched the prey from his teeth.

In the former days Job believed he would prosper for the rest of his life.

Job 29:18 “Then I[Job] thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
And I shall multiply my days as the sand.

The word “then” does not mean verse 18 came after verse 17. “Then” means “back then”. Back when Job was prospering, he thought he would die in his nest. Think about Job’s expectations. Job believed his prosperity would last until he died. He forgot life is fragile.

Job 29:19 ‘My[Job] root is spread out to the waters,
And dew lies all night on my branch.
Job 29:20 ‘My[Job] glory is ever new with me,
And my bow is renewed in my hand.’

Once Job gave advice, everyone did as he recommended.

Job 29:21 “To me[Job] they[men in the gate] listened and waited,
And kept silent for my counsel.
Job 29:22 “After my[Job] words they[men in the gate] did not speak again,
And my speech dropped on them.
Job 29:23 “They[men in the gate] waited for me[Job] as for the rain,
And opened their mouth as for the spring rain.
Job 29:24 “I[Job] smiled on them[men in the gate] when they did not believe,
And the light of my face they did not cast down.
Job 29:25 “I[Job] chose a way for them[men in the gate] and sat as chief,
And dwelt as a king among the troops,
As one who comforted the mourners.

Job described weak and worthless men who now mocked Job.

Notice the word “but” at the beginning of Job 30:1. Up through Job 29:25 Job described what his life used to be like. Starting with Job 30:1 Job described what his life had become.

Job 30:1 “But now those younger than I[Job] mock me,
Whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock.
Job 30:2 “Indeed, what good was the strength of their[fathers of v.1] hands to me?
Vigor had perished from them.

Job disdained to put the fathers with his dogs because their vigor had perished; thus, they didn’t have enough strength to be useful to Job. In verses 3-8 Job described these old men as destitute and foolish (verse 8)

Job 30:3 “From want and famine they[fathers of v.1] are gaunt
Who gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation,
Job 30:4 Who[fathers of v.1] pluck mallow by the bushes,
And whose food is the root of the broom shrub.
Job 30:5 “They[fathers of v.1] are driven from the community;
They[the community] shout against them as against a thief,
Job 30:6 So that they[fathers of v.1] dwell in dreadful valleys,
In holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Job 30:7 “Among the bushes they[fathers of v.1] cry out;
Under the nettles they are gathered together.
Job 30:8 “Fools, even those without a name,
They[fathers of v.1] were scourged from the land.

Job was victimized by the sons of the old, weak fools.

Job 30:9 “And now I[Job] have become their[young men of v.1] taunt,
I have even become a byword to them.
Job 30:10 “They[young men of v.1] abhor me[Job] and stand aloof from me,
And they do not refrain from spitting at my face.
Job 30:11 “Because He[God] has loosed His bowstring and afflicted me[Job],
They[young men of v.1] have cast off the bridle before me.

Notice the word “because”. Job blamed God for his calamity.

Job 30:12 “On the right hand their[young men of v.1] brood arises;
They thrust aside my[Job] feet and build up against me their ways of destruction.
Job 30:13 “They[young men of v.1] break up my[Job] path,
They profit from my destruction;
No one restrains them.
Job 30:14 “As through a wide breach they[young men of v.1] come,
Amid the tempest they roll on.
Job 30:15 “Terrors are turned against me[Job];
They[young men of v.1] pursue my honor as the wind,
And my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.

Job was greatly afflicted.

Job 30:16 “And now my[Job] soul is poured out within me;
Days of affliction have seized me.
Job 30:17 “At night it[affliction] pierces my[Job] bones within me,
And my gnawing pains take no rest.
Job 30:18 “By a great force my[Job] garment is distorted;
It binds me about as the collar of my coat.

Job believed God was afflicting him, but when Job cried out for help, God did not answer.

Job 30:19 “He[God] has cast me[Job] into the mire,
And I have become like dust and ashes.

At verse 20 Job switched to second person and began speaking to God instead of about God.

Job 30:20 “I[Job] cry out to You[God] for help, but You do not answer me;
I stand up, and You turn Your attention against me.
Job 30:21 “You[God] have become cruel to me[Job];
With the might of Your hand You persecute me.
Job 30:22 “You[God] lift me[Job] up to the wind and cause me to ride;
And You dissolve me in a storm.

Job believed God was the one who caused his calamity, but Job did not know the truth. Satan was the one who destroyed Job.

Job 30:23 “For I[Job] know that You[God] will bring me to death
And to the house of meeting for all living.
Job 30:24 “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
Or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?

Job gave compassion, but he was receiving affliction.

Job 30:25 “Have I[Job] not wept for the one whose life is hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
Job 30:26 “When I[Job] expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.

Notice Job’s expectations. Job wept for those who were suffering and expected he would receive good; instead, Job lost everything.

Job 30:27 “I[Job] am seething within and cannot relax;
Days of affliction confront me.
Job 30:28 “I[Job] go about mourning without comfort;
I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help.
Job 30:29 “I[Job] have become a brother to jackals
And a companion of ostriches.
Job 30:30 “My[Job] skin turns black on me,
And my bones burn with fever.
Job 30:31 “Therefore my[Job] harp is turned to mourning,
And my flute to the sound of those who weep.

Job 31:1 “I[Job] have made a covenant with my eyes;
How then could I gaze at a virgin?

Job 31:1 is slightly odd from a poetical standpoint. Hebrew poetry is about repetition, addition, and contrast. In repetition a Hebrew poet makes a statement and then says the same thing in different ways. In addition a Hebrew poet makes a statement and then adds something to it. In contrast a Hebrew poet makes a statement and then says the opposite. This means in a Hebrew poem there are usually several sentences that go together to form one thought. Job 31:1 is different. Job 31:1 is one sentence, and there is not another sentence that goes along with that verse to repeat it or embellish it. That is very unusual.

Job believed God brought calamity to the unjust.

Job 31:2 “And what is the portion of God from above
Or the heritage of the Almighty from on high?
Job 31:3 “Is it[heritage] not calamity to the unjust
And disaster to those who work iniquity?
Job 31:4 “Does He[God] not see my[Job] ways
And number all my steps?

Since Job believed God brought calamity to the unjust, why did God not see Job’s goodness and reward him with good.

If … Then …

Job 31:5-28 is a series of if/then statements. Sometimes the word “then” is implied. In each if/then statement Job mentioned a sin and then said what his punishment should be if he was guilty of that sin. Job’s point was he was willing to accept his punishment if he was guilty of these sins, but he believed he was not guilty of any of these sins; therefore, he should not be suffering as if he was guilty of these sins.

Job 31:5 “If I[Job] have walked with falsehood,
And my foot has hastened after deceit,
Job 31:6 Let Him[God] weigh me[Job] with accurate scales,
And let God know my integrity.

Job 31:7 “If my[Job] step has turned from the way,
Or my heart followed my eyes,
Or if any spot has stuck to my hands,
Job 31:8 Let me[Job] sow and another eat,
And let my crops be uprooted.

Job 31:9 “If my[Job] heart has been enticed by a woman,
Or I have lurked at my neighbor’s doorway,
Job 31:10 May my[Job] wife grind for another,
And let others kneel down over her.

Job 31:11 “For that[lurking] would be a lustful crime;
Moreover, it would be an iniquity punishable by judges.
Job 31:12 “For it[lurking] would be fire that consumes to Abaddon,
And would uproot all my[Job] increase.

Notice the word “for” in verses 11 and 12. These two verses explain why the lurking mentioned in verse 9 would be wrong.

Job 31:13 “If I[Job] have despised the claim of my male or female slaves
When they filed a complaint against me,

Job 31:14 What then could I[Job] do when God arises?
And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?
Job 31:15 “Did not He who made me[Job] in the womb make him[slave],
And the same one fashion us in the womb?

Verses 14-15 are a parenthetical expression explaining why it would be wrong to despise his slaves.

Job 31:16 “If I[Job] have kept the poor from their desire,
Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
Job 31:17 Or have eaten my[Job] morsel alone,
And the orphan has not shared it

Job 31:18 (But from my[Job] youth he[orphan] grew up with me as with a father,
And from infancy I guided her[orphan?]),

Verse 18 is a parenthetical expression explaining that Job took care of the orphan.

Job 31:19 If I[Job] have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
Or that the needy had no covering,
Job 31:20 If his[needy] loins have not thanked me[Job],
And if he has not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
Job 31:21 If I[Job] have lifted up my hand against the orphan,
Because I saw I had support in the gate,
Job 31:22 Let my[Job] shoulder fall from the socket,
And my arm be broken off at the elbow.

Job 31:23 “For calamity from God is a terror to me[Job],
And because of His majesty I can do nothing.

Job 31:24 “If I[Job] have put my confidence in gold,
And called fine gold my trust,
Job 31:25 If I[Job] have gloated because my wealth was great,
And because my hand had secured so much;
Job 31:26 If I[Job] have looked at the sun when it shone
Or the moon going in splendor,
Job 31:27 And my[Job] heart became secretly enticed,
And my hand threw a kiss from my mouth,
Job 31:28 That[sun worship] too would have been an iniquity calling for judgment,
For I[Job] would have denied God above.

Job stated his innocence again.

Job 31:29 “Have I[Job] rejoiced at the extinction of my enemy,
Or exulted when evil befell him?
Job 31:30 “No, I[Job] have not allowed my mouth to sin
By asking for his[Job’s enemy] life in a curse.
Job 31:31 “Have the men of my[Job] tent not said,
‘Who can find one who has not been satisfied with his[Job] meat’?
Job 31:32 “The alien has not lodged outside,
For I[Job] have opened my doors to the traveler.
Job 31:33 “Have I[Job] covered my transgressions like Adam,
By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
Job 31:34 Because I[Job] feared the great multitude,
And the contempt of families terrified me,
And kept silent and did not go out of doors?

Job asked if he ever did the wrong thing because he was afraid of what other people thought of him. The answer was no.

Job yearned for the opportunity to plead his case before God.

Job 31:35 “Oh that I[Job] had one to hear me!
Behold, here is my signature;
Let the Almighty answer me!
And the indictment which my adversary has written,
Job 31:36 Surely I[Job] would carry it on my shoulder,
I would bind it to myself like a crown.
Job 31:37 “I[Job] would declare to Him[God] the number of my steps;
Like a prince I would approach Him.

Job used one more if/then statement to claim his innocence one last time.

Job 31:38 “If my[Job] land cries out against me,
And its furrows weep together;
Job 31:39 If I[Job] have eaten its[the land] fruit without money,
Or have caused its owners to lose their lives,
Job 31:40 Let briars grow instead of wheat,
And stinkweed instead of barley.”
The words of Job are ended.

Job expected his prosperity to last till his death.

Job 29:18 “Then I[Job] thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
And I shall multiply my days as the sand.

The word “then” refers to the time when Job was prosperous. At that time Job believed he would prosper until he died.

Do we have the same expectations Job had? When we become prosperous, do we assume we have it made for life? When we have a good job, do we assume it will last till we retire?

Job expected a good life.

Job 30:25 “Have I[Job] not wept for the one whose life is hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
Job 30:26 “When I[Job] expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.

Since Job wept for those who were suffering, Job believed he would be rewarded with a good life.

When we treat others well, especially the poor and needy, do we expect God to reward us with an easy life?

Peter warned us against wrong expectations

1Pet. 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

Notice we are not to be surprised when we suffer.
Notice also the suffering is a test.

1Pet. 4:13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

Notice we are to rejoice when we share the sufferings of Christ.

1Pet. 4:14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
1Pet. 4:15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;
1Pet. 4:16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.

Biblical Expectations.

2Tim. 3:10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,
2Tim. 3:11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!
2Tim. 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Job expected his good works to bring him peace and prosperity. The New Testament tells us to expect suffering.

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

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