722.) Job 42

"Job's Sacrifice," by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 42 (New Living Translation)

One of my trusted advisers has suggested that I offer an abbreviated study on Job.  So we will be looking at only 13 chapters of Job, instead of the full 42.  It seems to me a merciful thing to do for you, my readers!  (You are, of course, welcome to read the whole book on your own!)

Job Responds to the Lord

1Then Job replied to the Lord:

2 “I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.

This wonderful statement from Job was obviously connected to the impressive display of the power and might of God over creation; but it was also connected to the comfort that the sense of the presence of God brought to Job.  God indeed could do everything, including bring comfort and assurance to Job, even when Job still did not understanding the origin or meaning of his crisis.

And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You:  The God who can master Behemoth and Leviathan (Job 40 and 41) can also accomplish every purpose in Job’s life, including the mysterious meaning behind the twists and turns.

–David Guzik

3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
5 I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6 I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

What did Job have to repent of? In his sermon, Job Among the Ashes, Charles Spurgeon suggested several things:

  • Job repented of the terrible curse he had pronounced upon the day of his birth.
  • Job repented of his desire to die.
  • Job repented of his complaints against and challenges to God.
  • Job repented of his despair.
  • Job repented that his statements had been a “darkening of wisdom by words without knowledge”; that he spoke beyond his knowledge and ability to know.

And God’s confidence in Job is entirely vindicated!

_________________________

"Mother and Child" by Mary Cassatt, 1890

Psalm 131 (English Standard Version)

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.

_________________________

Conclusion: The Lord Blesses Job

7 After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.

The NIV has this as:  “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”  Yet we know that Job has said some things about God that are not true.  So what is the point?

I think God is saying that although Job’s words may not have been truth, his heart towards God always was.  He was a man of fidelity and integrity in his being.  Job is in a true relationship with God, heart and soul, world without end, Amen.  The friends have spoken about God, while Job speaks to God.  God doesn’t answer Job’s questions as much as God reveals himself to Job — as Truth, as Love.  “Now I have seen you with my own eyes,”  Job says, and this is enough.  This is the answer to everything.  This is the answer that fills the God-shaped vacuum in our hearts.  This is GOD.

_____

He had seen the great glory so shot through with sheer, fierce light and life and gladness, had heard the great voice raised in song so full of terror and wildness and beauty, that from that moment on, nothing else mattered.  All possible questions melted like mist, and all possible explanations withered like grass, and all the bad times of his life together with all the good times were so caught up into the fathomless life of this God, who had bent down to speak with him though by comparison he was no more than a fleck of dust on the head of a pin in the lapel of a dancing flea, that all he could say was, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

–Frederick Buechner, Peculiar Treasures

_________________________

8 So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” 9So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. 10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! 11 Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home.

Job was once an outcast even from his own family (as described in Job 19:13-17). Now these relationships were restored.

And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.

12 So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. 14 He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers.

16 Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. 17 Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.

“The greatest, the most important purposes were accomplished by this trial. Job became a much better man than he ever was before; the dispensations of God’s providence were illustrated and justified; Satan’s devices unmasked; patience crowned and rewarded; and the church of God greatly enriched by having bequeathed to it the vast treasury of divine truth which is found in the Book of Job.”
– Adam Clarke

“In this great Book there is no solution of problems. There is a great revelation. It is that God may call men into fellowship with Himself through suffering; and that the strength of the human soul is ever that of the knowledge of God.”
–G. Campbell Morgan

 “We are not all like Job, but we all have Job’s God. Though we have neither risen to Job’s wealth, nor will, probably, ever sink to Job’s poverty, yet there is the same God above us if we be high, and the same God with his everlasting arms beneath us if we be brought low; and what the Lord did for Job he will do for us, not precisely in the same form, but in the same spirit, and with like design.”
— Charles Haddon Spurgeon

_________________________

Music:

“You Never Let Go” is a song of such confidence in God!  And the book of Job shows us how magnificent and beyond our understanding our God is!  We can trust such a One!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.  http://www.artbible.net/1T/Job_a_Job_blessed/images/19%20BLAKE%20JOB%20S%20SACRIFICE.jpg
repentance.   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UUpL1wE3yP8/TGl_n44wvsI/AAAAAAAAD8Y/o5z2-WF939Q/s1600/Repentance.jpg
Cassatt.  http://hoocher.com/Mary_Cassatt/Mother_And_Child_ca_1890.jpg
God-shaped hole.  http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_drsACX1RqfU/TE4p3R6bHiI/AAAAAAAAFDA/YFujk6rQ4l8/s1600/The+God+Shaped+Hole.jpg
The problem of suffering.   http://www.photosforsouls.com/Job_-_suffering.jpg
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