We have finally arrived to the end of this story and these lessons. As discussed in the last lesson, God did not answer Job’s questions and probably didn’t answer all of your questions either. In that fact, we find the book of Job to be a lot like the book of Revelation: all of our questions are simply not answered, but God has revealed what we must learn.1
After hearing all God had to say, Job repented and humbled himself before God. His statement in 42:6, “I abhor (Hebrew word “ma’as” which can mean despise, refuse, even reject) myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” is not a statement of doubt. Rather, it’s a statement of clarity. Job now sees better than he ever has before. God is in control.
Knowing this Job answers humbly and freely admits, God is sovereign, God knows everything, and I do not. He did not repent because his three friends were right (see 42:7), but because he was wrong. Wrong about God, wrong about himself, and wrong about his circumstances. He clearly asked for something he didn’t deserve, spoke things he didn’t understand, and questioned God’s ways when he shouldn’t have. But I want to give him the benefit of the doubt because who wouldn’t have in that moment. His reaction wasn’t inherently sinful, but it was terribly presumptuous.
Job thought he knew better than God, that was his first mistake.
His second mistake was demanding a moment with God (see 10:1-2). He wanted to “clear the air” or even “take the stand.” His presumption was that he deserved that moment. Thankfully, in his frustration, he never abandoned God. He simply wanted God to step down and correct this wrongful judgment. I’m always encouraged by his words in 19:25-27:
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
When God stood up, spoke His mind, and gave Job the floor, our hero graciously (and wisely) bowed down and out of the conversation. I am grateful he sat down and simply listened to God. In that moment, it’s obvious that Job finally understands who he is and who God is. When he says I “spoke things too wonderful (extraordinary) for me and said things I didn’t understand,” he says what we should all say to God when His ways contradict our ways. I love the line in 42:5 when he says, “now my eye sees You.” Job’s ordeal and the subsequent fallout had created a predicament that would have destroyed most of us. Yet here he is, standing with a humble heart and a clear mind. He understands God, but knows he is nothing but dust and ashes and that he must be satisfied with his limited knowledge and understanding.2
Job 42:7-17 is the official postscript to the story. It’s the final stroke of a signature and the final nail in the coffin. There is something beautifully poetic about it though. God addresses Job’s friends and holds them accountable as well. Profoundly, he sent them to Job who “has spoken of Me what is right,” in 42:7 so that he could offer a sacrifice on their behalf. Remarkably, Job’s role of priest has been restored. He has finally come full circle. A man who served God, who in an intense moment of grief felt abandoned by God, was now His dutiful servant once again. That alone would make for a fairy tale ending, but God isn’t done. In 42:12 it says:
The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning;
That statement begs the question, “why did God replenish Job?” He certainly didn’t have to. After Job’s complaining and the friends folly, surely straightening them out was enough. Yet God, in His infinite compassion blessed our hero. Several reasons seem to justify this course of action. Job did repent. Job did pass the test and remain faithful even when he was frustrated. Job did forgive and pray for his friends even though they didn’t deserve it (see 42:7-9). And last, but certainly not least, Job’s integrity was vindicated by God and that sentiment serves as a momentous act of grace for a generous Lord.3
God didn’t bless Job because He had to, I believe He blessed Job because He wanted to.
Have you ever considered the implication of restoring Job’s physical blessings? Remember, it was Satan himself who said Job only feared God because he was “hedged in?” all the way back in 1:9-10. Wouldn’t blessing him validate Satan’s thoughts and call the whole ordeal into question once again?
God was good to Job before the ordeal why can’t God be good to him after? The goodness of God had nothing to do with Job’s ordeal and Satan’s challenge. They are not byproducts of one another. They stand alone. God is the provider of “every good and perfect gift” (see James 1:17). Those gifts are not dependent upon our loyalty or our faith. They are simply His manifestation of grace, goodness, and love.
God blessed Job for simply being Job, nothing else. Yes, He restored what the Satan had taken, but He didn’t do it because Job was good. He did it because He is good. God could have left Job in a depleted state, but didn’t because “The Lord God is both merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” (see Exodus 34:6-7). He bestows grace upon those who don’t deserve it and blessings upon those who haven’t earned it. He is better to us than we deserve. That’s why God “restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” That God gave him “twice as much as he had before,” (42:10) is simply the cherry on top.
If God had left Job in that dreadful situation does it make him any less good? Does that change their relationship? Could we still be call it a covenant? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. If the ending was different (meaning that it ended with no restoration) God would still be faithful, for He had delivered Job through the hand of the devil and the oppression of his friends.
God was not faithful to Job because He restored his wealth and family, He was faithful because He is God.
God’s goodness is the eternal wisdom of the book. Then, and today, thousands of years later, God knows what He is doing whether we know it or not. God’s blessings come in both sunshine and rain. God is with you, if you know it or not, and God is right, if you understand it or not. We, in turn, should live faithfully and without doubt because our Lord really does know what’s best for us and is actively seeking out our best interests.
The book closes with Job’s epitaph. That it is both short and sweet, yet shows God’s grace and faithfulness is astounding. May we live our lives so that it will be written of us “they died, old and full of days” also.4
I have loved the study of this story and the journey we took exploring the ages of old. I hope this has been a blessing to you and something that taught you the value of suffering, hope, trust, and patience. This story beautifully describes the sanctity of suffering. It shows us how God set apart Job for an eternal purpose. I pray when the moment comes to be a Job to our world, we value the trust God puts in us and the hope our life can bring others.
I want to leave you with Psalm 90, a Prayer of Moses the Man of God. It seems fitting.
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. You carry them away like a flood; they are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: in the morning it flourishes and grows up; in the evening it is cut down and withers. For we have been consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish our years like a sigh. The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, the years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.
1 Robert L. Alden, Job, 411.
2 Derek Thomas, The Storm Breaks: Job Simply Explained, 325.
3 Thomas, The Storm Breaks, 334-338.
4 Thomas, The Storm Breaks, 340.
All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.