in the face of suffering is a cruel opponent for us all. Victory over it is
not, and apparently never was easy. But here at the
end of our study we see that JOB HAS MADE IT THROUGH his ordeal with
his faith not only in tact but actually stronger and better than ever:
Verses 1-3: "Then Job answered the LORD,
and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought
can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without
knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things
too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Job is through playing God and trying to
manipulate Him. All the pain and shame Job has endured after
wandering unwittingly but directly into Satan's crosshairs has, ultimately,
made him a better man and a better believer. This is extremely amazing and
also very encouraging to me at this moment in my life. Is it to you,
I really like the way Job is now speaking to the Lord. It reminds me
both of the boldness (see Hebrews 4:16) and
the humility (James 4:10) that the Apostles
recommended for believers in Christ today:
Verses 4-6: "Hear,
I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou
unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye
seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Before all his trials Job was tip-toeing around God. Afraid
of upsetting the cosmic apple cart and risking the loss of his considerable
earthly riches. After a very rough and devilish journey those
riches aren't in his way, spiritually, any longer and it shows!
Job's friends yet cling to their riches and their love of them. That's
always going to be detrimental to a person's faith and walk with the Lord. Christ
once said it's like trying to shove a camel
through the tiny eye on a sewing needle. Listen now as God commends Job to
Verses 7-9: "And
it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD
said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against
thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my
servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams,
and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and
my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with
you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is
right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite
and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded
them: the LORD also accepted Job."
My, what spiritual
riches have come to Job and what spiritual honor!
The misery came from Satan,
but the blessings that came through the misery were from God alone. And,
speaking of blessings:
Verse 10: "And
the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also
the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before."
Now before we close and send Job off into "happily ever
after" land, we must face one final hurdletogether.
This IS certainly the happiest time in the entire Book of Job,
but thereturn of Job's physical blessings has the potential to be
as spiritually destructive as was their departure. Here's what I'm saying: 1. The return of these blessings is NOT A REWARD for better
behavior. Don't miss this point. Job has now risen above works and rewards,
that's the main lesson put forth by our little study. That is also the MAIN
GOAL for us today. It's taken me ten full years get here and I don't want to
negate all the spiritual gains by missing the final point about Job's
family and farm.
2. Yes, he gets his stuff back. We will soon see
that he is again blessed with children. He comes back into the sphere of
earthly joy again. It's beautiful. BUT it WASN'T because God "paid up" on
some kind of debt to Job. The Lord did not "owe" Job these latter blessings
any more than he did the original ones. We are on the verge of wasting ten
years of study if we miss this one point. Now, you may be asking, then where
did the new blessings come from? Well, like all good things they came forth
from God's Hand.
3. Just as loss and suffering are not, generally
speaking, punishments from God so earthly possessions and pleasures, etc.
are not, generally speaking, SPECIAL REWARDS for good behavior. If our
motives for serving God run in EITHER of these directions on this works for rewards
roadway we will become equally lost and most likely miserable in this life.
4. The Lord is not allowing suffering ONLY in the
lives of evil doers today. I know it's hard to swallow, but it is true. It
can be disorienting and for it God takes so much criticism. Criticism He
must bear every day as men repeatedly question His motives, and competence,
and judgment. Criticism He bore at Calvary when your unbelief and my
unbelief and lack of trust all crashed down at once on God the Son.
5. Job is closer to God now, true. But that's not why the blessings
are flowing again. This battle with Satan has past. Job has won a great
victory with God's help. And the real reward is that he has stopped
demanding rewards! The real blessing here is that he has lost a ton of
selfishness and anxiety over possessions, health, status, etc.
don't be too skeptical here. Just listen and consider, please. Who is
worthy of blessings from God? Answer: No One.
Who gets "rewarded" by God? Answer: EVERYONE,
EVERYDAY! The misunderstanding in our time is that God allows
suffering for NO REASON, yet He requires a SPECIAL REASON to bless. It's a
lie. Certainly, until their appointed time, He fills the lungs of the
righteous with sweet breath, but how do you think the unrighteous breathe
today? Is it any less special, any less miraculous what He does for them?
Tirelessly serving, helping, and loving, though His Love be virtually unrequited?
Verse 11: "Then
came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that
had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his
house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the
LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and
every one an earring of gold."
Do you see what I mean? See
how his family misunderstood Job's suffering? They blamed God, too. They
assumed that all Job's outward piety should have been some kind of insulation
earthly loss. But God allowed the loss so that this man could learn true
Verse 12: "So
the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had
fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of
oxen, and a thousand she asses."
Whoa. Here's what he originally
had: "His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand
camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a
very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of
the east"(Job 1:3). But do you know what really DOUBLED this blessing?
I think it was because he now knew He was unworthy of it all and none of it
was owed to him.
Verse 13: "He
had also seven sons and three daughters."
These are the same
exact numbers we saw in chapter one. Children can't be replenished in the
way that livestock could. Not in Job's heart, I'm sure. But this time around Job
was, I believe, a better parent. Certainly more at ease. Why? Because he
was more in love with God and more cognizant of the grace and beauty of the
opportunity given by the Lord to every parent.
I think people could
actually see it in the faces of these girls, Job's daughters:
"And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second,
Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no
women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them
inheritance among their brethren."
Their beauty, as I conceive it now, was not determined by their
measurements, or lipstick, or anything like that. It was actually Daddy's
unconditional love for them that shown through. Love that radiated
through their father from the Heavenly Father. Brethren, if we are ever tempted to complain
about a lack of beauty in the women around us, we must first take a hard
look at what WE are radiating. It's been possible, in my experience, to be
unknowingly repulsed by my own reflection in this way.
"new" daughters were the litmus paper that proved day after day that
Job was now at peace. That was a day, as ours is still, when women too often
suffered greatly, enduring much more than they ever should have had to
endure. Now, I'm sure Job's family struggled at times, but never against the
Lord. Job had not cursed God even when Satan had him totally pinned down,
how much less likely was it now?
O we've come into some real joy,
haven't we? I know it's been a long road and I 've appreciated your
patience. I'm thankful to have had the access and the luxury of time to
spend in this Word of God. There is no final word from any man on the message
of Job. Until the End there will be more and more to glean here. But not
having the final say is no excuse for not trying. . .and the truths and true
rewards do come! Even to a stammering layman!
"After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his
sons' sons, even four generations. So Job died, being
old and full of days.
What a life! What a man of God! All those kids and grandkids were Job's
first congregation. We all are his current one.
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