Scripture Focus: Job 31.13-14, 28
“If I have denied justice to any of my servants,
whether male or female,
when they had a grievance against me,
what will I do when God confronts me?
What will I answer when called to account?
…then these also would be sins to be judged,
for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
Reflection: Convicted by Job’s Righteousness :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman
There are many lists of sins in the Bible which should give the thoughtful Christian pause and send us to our knees in confession. Job’s list of sins in Chapter 31 contains famous verses, such as “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman,” (verse 1) and several more regarding sexual sins (verses 9-12) that I remember being pounded with as a youth and in college. But the majority of the sins Job lists in his denial have nothing to do with sex and are often skipped or skimmed over by preachers.
May we read verses 13-40 with opened eyes for our own sins and those of our leaders, both religious and political. If Job was defenseless before God, unable to stand before him despite all his blameless actions, what will we do when God confronts us?
May we run to Christ, the mediator that Job prophesied, with this confession.
*What we pray today is not a confession of individual sins, although any of these sins may be committed by one person. Instead, it is a corporate confession, as would be offered by the high priest or a faithful prophet on behalf of the people. As we confess sins of our communities and nations, we step into our role as a kingdom of priests. This does not mean we deny our own culpability. Instead it means that we say that we ARE culpable and confess each one as if it were our own individual sin.
Prayer of Confession
Based on Job 31:13–40
We confess, Lord, we are not like Job. (Job 31.13)
We have denied and delayed justice to servants, workers, women, and outcasts, propping up the reputation of abusive men and staining the reputation of Christ’s church.
We confess, Lord. (Job 31.14-15)
We have dishonored and disenfranchised those in the womb, though they, just like us, are being formed by the hand of God.
And we have discriminated against those who are born, who are our brothers and sisters, born equal before God but treated by our hands as unworthy and spoken of as if they were animals.
We confess, Lord (Job 31.16-23)
We have behaved heartlessly and selfishly toward the poor and the outcasts.
We have blamed them, denied our responsibility, and held them accountable for their deaths caused by our hand.
We have seen those perishing due to lack of bread, lack of clothing, lack of freedom, lack of shelter, and said, “It is their own fault.”
We confess, Lord, (Job 31.24-28)
We have cared more for economic health than spiritual health.
We have trusted more in gains of the stock market, than storing up treasures in Heaven.
We have made success our idol and wealth our god.
We confess, Lord, (Job 31.29-30)
We rejoice in the suffering of our enemies.
We cheer insults, we encourage and participate in violence, we mock our opponents’ tears and laugh to see them suffer.
We confess, Lord, (Job 31.38-40)
That the land and its people cry out against our abuse.
Neither the Earth, nor our brothers and sisters who live on it are more valuable to us than reaping wealth.
We pray for your forgiveness, Lord, but more than that, we pray that you would change the hearts of the oppressors, and may you begin in our hearts.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Small Verse
Open, Lord, my eyes that I may see.
Open, Lord, my ears that I may hear.
Open, Lord, my heart and my mind that I may understand.
So shall I turn to you and be healed.
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Job 31 (Listen -4:16)
2 Corinthians 1 (Listen -3:52)
Read more about Righteousness Sets Things Right
Righteousness, as Job describes it, is marked by formidable, positive actions on behalf of justice.
Read more about Christless Forgiveness is the Absence of Justice
Christ is the miracle of justice and forgiveness in one glorified person. He alone is able to complete the cycle of justice.