EVALUATING our ‘DAYS of PROSPERITY’ in the ‘LIGHT of ETERNITY’: Job further continued his discourse, and said: "Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me; when His lamp shone upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness; just as I was in the days of my prime, when the friendly counsel of God was over my tent; when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were around me." (Job 29:1-5)
In the above passage, Job continues with the first of his three monologues in which he recalls his past happiness, material blessings and prosperity. Job speaks in glowing figures of speech to describe God’s bountiful blessings upon him in the past (vv. 1–25). He had lived under God’s protection (v. 2), his family was blessed (v. 5), he himself was materially blessed (v. 6), he had enjoyed the respect of his community (vv. 8–11), he had been in a position to minister to those in need (vv. 12–17), and he had thought that he would live out his days in peace, enjoying his position of influence in the community (vv. 18–25).
Thus, Job had enjoyed God’s favor as he lived in luxury and was respected in the city by young and old, by princes and nobles, because of his deeds of charity, his righteousness, and justice. The picture of God’s lamp shining on Job’s head symbolized divine blessing and success upon Job. This is in direct contrast with his present suffering (described in the next chapter, 30) where Job feels very much alone with his children dead and his wealth gone, as stands abandoned by God and misunderstood by his wife and friends. As his trials and tribulations lagged on and as the ‘counsel’ of his friends wore him out, Job began to look back and evaluate his ‘days of prosperity’.
Just like Job, we should also evaluate our ‘days of prosperity’ in the ‘light of eternity’. We should look at several issues with which Job was dealing, and examine them closely as we ask ourselves three questions:
- Does our ‘days of prosperity’ mean that God is in favor with us (vv. 2–6)? On the other hand, when we are experiencing difficult times, does it mean that God is against us? In the end, Job discovered that his ‘days of prosperity’ and his external circumstances are not necessarily evidence of God’s favor in and through his life.
- To what extent is the adulation of other people during our ‘days of prosperity’ important to us (vv. 7–11)? Do the words and actions of other people indicate either God’s favor or opposition in our lives? In the case of Job, even though his friends had had turned away from him, yet he knew he was innocent of all wrongdoing. His three friends had harshly criticized him, but towards the end of his story Job was vindicated by God Himself (42:7–8).
- Can we function as the source of strength and support for others when are we closer to God (vv. 12–17)? On the other hand, should we depend on others when we are weak and broken down (30:9–15)? Job honored God both during the times of his prosperity (1:1–3) and adversity (1:22; 2:9–10).