Don’t Let Go (Job 27:1-6)
We have all known people who were strong in the faith but who ended up acting extremely unethically. People who believed and practiced every word of Scripture. People who wanted to follow Jesus more than anything else in this world.
Satan, however, never gives up. He’s constantly looking for some opening: “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet 5:8). Satan can take the smallest opening in one’s life and exploit it masterfully. That’s why we must be vigilant. That’s why we never let down our guard.
As you read the Book of Job, you quickly realize that Job’s friends believe Job has let his guard down. Job and his friends lived in a time when people truly believed that any evil that befell you was a result of your sins. The equation was quite simple: The more you sinned, the more you suffered; The more you did right, the more material blessings you had. According to that reasoning, Job, to be suffering so intently, had to sin grievously. His friends tell him so in no uncertain manner—e.g., Job 22:5-7.
Job, however, maintains his integrity throughout the Book. Regardless of what his three friends declare, Job claims innocence. He does so quite powerfully in this morning’s text. He teaches us an important lesson: “Regardless of others, don’t let go of your integrity!”
Scripture (Job 27:1-6)
We must read this text through two different “lenses”:
First, we must read this text through the lens of Job’s frustration.
Job has argued throughout this Book that he doesn’t know why all the calamity has fallen upon him. In Job’s own words, he is an honorable and righteous man. We know that Job’s words ring true. That is God’s assessment of Job. God said to Satan: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8).
But, as we’ve mentioned, Job’s friends don’t buy any of that and accuse Job of sin after sin. By the time we get to our text, Job is beside himself in his frustration. He says, in essence, “I don’t care what you say. I will maintain my innocence until the day of my death.”
Second, we must read this text through the lens of Job’s integrity.
Job is an innocent and upright man. He says, in essence, “I’m not going to lose my integrity because of my struggles or because of you. I don’t care what happens to me or what you say-I’m going to hold my integrity. It may be all that I have, but I will not lose my integrity.”
Job says that as long as the Almighty God lives, he will not speak wickedness. Since God lives forever, Job says he’s never letting go of his integrity.
There is also a thinly veiled wish for God to proclaim Job’s innocence. As we’ve noticed, God has already testified to the devil that Job is innocent. And, as we’ll read in this coming week, God is going to show up at the end of the Book and declare that Job has spoken what is right. God’s announcement of Job’s innocence is almost like a “bookend” for the Book of Job.
While Job lives, he will maintain his integrity. Job is determined to be a man full of integrity as long as he lives. Job’s integrity is so precious to him that he never plans to let go of it.
Job will only speak the truth. Job’s integrity is at such a level that he isn’t going to lie-he will only speak the truth. He hasn’t been lying in maintaining his integrity; Job isn’t going to lie. He’s not going to lie to try to keep his friends from raking him over the coals-Job isn’t going to lie.
How many of us would be able to make a statement like Job? How many of us are more than willing to tell a “little white lie”? How many of us would finally agree with our friends just to get them to shut up?
“Far be it from me to say that you are right.” Job isn’t going to say that his friends are right just to make them feel better or to get them off his back. They are wrong in saying that Job has lived an immoral life.
As long as Job lives, his heart is not going to reproach him. How many of us could say anything like that? How many of us have hearts that constantly reproach us?
“Regardless of others, don’t let go of your integrity!”
Throughout Scripture, we are urged not to let go of our integrity. “Better the poor walking in integrity than one perverse of speech who is a fool” (Prov 19:1). “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20). “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness” (1 Tim 6:11).
We have an obligation to be righteous before God. We know from reading the Book of Job that Job’s righteousness wasn’t simply a matter for public display-it was something he lived every day of his life. In fact, character is how we live when no one else is watching.
How is your private, personal integrity this morning?
- How is your character when no one else is watching? What thoughts do you allow to fester in your own thinking? What language do you use away from “church folks”? How do you satisfy fleshly desires? What type of personal character-known to no one else-do you really have?
- Make a pledge this morning: You will not put your integrity away from you. No matter what happens. No matter what people think or say.
We also have an obligation to be righteous before others. The idea of righteousness before men is that others see Jesus living in us. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16). “Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world” (Phil 2:14-15).
Let us make our righteousness known to others this week. Job is making his righteousness known to his friends with words; let us make our righteousness known by our actions!
Here’s the challenge: Do at least one thing this week that will demonstrate your righteousness to others. Some ideas:
- Invite someone to worship.
- Offer to pray for someone.
- Refuse to tell a lie, even if you will benefit from the lie.
How will you demonstrate your righteousness this week?