“And now I’ve become their song. I’m a byword to them. They abhor me. They keep aloof from me. They do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.”
– Job 30:9–10
All throughout this chapter, Job 30, Job is talking about not just his physical suffering, although he is talking about that and all that he’s lost and just the pain and the hurt. But specifically, he starts at the beginning of this chapter talking about young people. He says, “Men who are younger than I, whose fathers I would’ve disdain to set with the dogs of my flock,” how even they are mocking him, and they abhor him. They stay away from him, or if they see him, they spit. “They spit at the sight of me.”
Job 30:9–10 Reminds Us that Some Will Hate Us
So Job is clearly reflecting here on all of the effects of the suffering on his reputation, how this has brought dishonor upon him, and he’s lamenting this in a way that I trust we can all relate to. We may say we don’t live for the pleasure or acclaim or honor of others, but it stings when our reputation is harmed, dishonored, slandered, when people see us and want to spit on us, that kind of hatred. Abhorrence is the word he uses. I don’t think we naturally want that.
We desire to be honored. And some of this is good in a way that reflects upon God. Obviously, some of it can be very selfish or sinful, or self-centered to want to be honored in certain ways. So when I read Job 30, I’m just driven to pray in a fresh way that I would and for all of us that we would live ultimately for an audience of one, that no matter what anyone else says about us, no matter what ways we might be slandered or even spit upon.
Job 30:9–10 Gives Hope to the Faithful
I think about a good friend of mine, a pastor, who I was talking with just yesterday, who had someone spit in his face and call him a label that is totally absurd, and the person who did this was in the church. As I listened to him and him talk about just his own processing of that, I thought of my own life. God help me. God help us. Well, let’s just pray. God help us to live for your honor above all. We pray for a John 3:30 type desire for Jesus, you to become greater, and for us truly to become less. God help us to humble ourselves to lay down our desires for our reputation and to live ultimately, and only for your renown, for your reputation.
Job 30:9–10 Leads Us to Cry Out to God
So God, to the extent of which our lives in a Matthew 5:16 kind of way might reflect good deeds and ways that bring you glory, we want that to be the case. But God, not for our own sake, but for your sake, we pray. God, we pray that you’d help us to lay down our names and to live for your name over and above all, and especially above our names. And God, we pray that when we find ourselves dishonored, slandered, spit upon even, spoken against, that you would draw us just into deeper intimacy with you, trust in you, rest in you, and ultimately, obedience and faithfulness to you. We want to hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” no matter what anyone else might say in our lives. God, please may it be so.
God, please help us to be faithful before you and to live for your honor and your renown in everything we do. May you become greater Jesus, and may we become less. And we confess, oh God, that this is not natural to us, but we want to live for the hallowing of your name far above the honoring of our own name. So help us produce this kind of fruit of your spirit in us, this kind of humility in us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.