Throughout the entire book, Job asserts and re-asserts his integrity, but to no avail with his friends. In chapter 29, he tells of the righteousness of his past life, and how he maintained his integrity in every situation. However, chapter 30 details the misery of his current status, and goes into detail on the deplorability of his life. Job 31 then starts out with his re-affirmation of his character, starting with the familiar statement: “I have made a covenant with my eyes, how then could I gaze at a virgin?”
Numbers 30:2 gives specific instructions regarding vows, saying “If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Job’s words in this passage represent not an actual vow that he had taken, but rather the extremity by which he guarded his eyes. He was married, but even as a righteous man, he would not look on any woman to lust, saying that he had “made a covenant with his eyes.”
Often sin is started not in the form of the action itself, but rather with the events leading up to it, such as placing oneself in certain situations or mindsets that will cause one to be more prone to sin. “When desire has conceived,” wrote James in James 1:15, “it gives birth to sin.” Job had avoided the desire completely by making such a covenant, not just by guarding his eyes against sin, but also his heart against desiring such things. This may seem extraordinary to us today, claiming that that would require such stringent reins on one’s own personal life, but for Job it became something that was second-nature.
Sitting with one who lost his wife and children to a divorce that resulted from his adultery, it is easy to see the heartbreaking effects of sin. Losing possessions, family, or even your life is not something that we look at when we examine the pleasures of sin. Solomon would comment on this with reference to wine, when, in Proverbs 23:31-32, he would advise us not to “look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup.” It’s end, he said, will “bite like a serpent, and sting like a viper.” Jesus, in Luke 17:26-29, would reference two Old Testament figures in connection with the unexpectedness of the coming of the Son of Man. In both examples, people were eating, drinking, going on about their business, when destruction came upon both of them very quickly. The same can be said for the consequences of sin in our own lives. We can go on continue sinning, and as long as everything else follows as normal, we assume all is well, when, in reality, our destruction can come upon us swiftly.
This was not the case with Job. He had made a “covenant with his eyes,” to not even test the line of sin, or see how close he could get to it. He knew that desire and temptation could very easily cause one to sin, when prodded on and encouraged to feed the lust. A common example has been told numerous times to illustrate this simple point. Think of your heart as two dogs fighting inside, one representing righteousness, and the other representing immorality. The question is then asked: “Which one wins?” The answer is simply this: “Whichever one you feed the most.”Last modified: February 1, 2019