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Monday, November 28, 2011

Facing Trials: Job [18]

Although both Job and his friends had sinned, the Lord was pleased with Job and not with the other three.

Text:Job 42:7-17

As indicated earlier, it was faith that distinguished Job from Elipjaz, Bildad, and Zophar. More importantly, Job repented of his sins, while the friends did not acknowledge any evil on their part.

Now God commands the friends to sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams. And the Lord tells the three, "My servant Job will pray for you" (Job 42:8).

So Job prays for the very men who had treated him unfairly. Such prayer demonstrates the sincerity of Job's repentance.

This reminds us of Stephen and of Christ, who asked forgiveness for those who wronged them (Acts 7:60; Luke 23:34).

Certainly the kind of prayer offered by Job is effective, as Scripture promises, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16)

All this must be a gigantic blow for Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Their self-righteous attitude is smashed as God warns them to repent, since "you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has"  (Job 42:8). Happily, they then do as the Lord directs.

After Job prays for his friends, the Lord restores his wealth. As soon as this happens, Job's relatives and acquaintances also return, as they always do. Obviously their loyalty is very shallow, yet Job seems content to accept their belated condolences and gifts.

Since he has come to realize that God will judge man's motives, Job is happy, for his part, to look at their actions in the kindest and most gracious way possible. Rather than embittering him toward other people, suffering has made Job even more patient and loving toward others.

As for his previous possessions, they are doubled. Job now owns 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 2,000 oxen and 1,000 donkeys.

He also has another seven sons and three daughters. Unlike all Job's other children and even his wife, these girl's names are given the honor of being recorded in the book of Job. They are Jemimah (meaning "dove") Keziah ("cinnamon") and Keren-Happuch ("horn of paint"). These children, of course, cannot replace the other ten job lost. Nonetheless, they are blessings from a loving God.

But what if God would have done none of this for Job? What if Job were to live out his life in poverty, loneliness and disrepute?

Would that have diminished the Lord's goodness? No.

Job was at peace with God before his restoration. Job's renewed prosperity illustrates that soon or late, God will deliver his people from suffering.

Some, like Job, may begin to experience it already in this life. But all believers in Christ will know it fully in the life to come.


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