I have been a long time considering my final entry on the book of Job. I have not wished, and I do not wish, to limit my writings to my own simple understandings. I have not wanted, and I do not want, to fan into conflagration my limited personal experience and private interpretations. That concern has constrained me and postponed my last Job entry. I have read Scripture, prayed for understanding, as well as for an appropriate boldness. I wanted to be, and I want to be, honest, fair, and faithful to God. So, here goes.
We have been told about the patience of Job. To a degree, yes. But he also poured out his heart. He raged. He did not mince words about how he felt. He engaged in a very bold and candid outpouring of his desperation. “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face” (Job 13:15, ESV). Job was the first to break the silence in chapter 3. The heated interchange goes back and forth between Job and his friends until chapter 31. It is a captivating read. They eventually fall silent. Then, Elihu rebukes them all and extols God’s greatness (chapters 32-37). Another captivating read. Finally, God breaks His silence. A significantly captivating read. Job’s sin was in demanding an answer from God, which he never received. His understanding of God went from “hearing about” to “Now mine eyes have seen Him”. In the end Job and his friends are forgiven and restored to relationship with God and each other. What a challenge. In the end, there were no grudges. If only reconciliation were possible in all situations. As Paul wrote: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good“, (Romans 12: 18-21, ESV, italics mine).
“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold. And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days’” Job 42: 10-17, ESV).
Praying for one’s detractors, a clear New Testament command, is illustrated by Job. The Reformation Study Bible suggests that Job foreshadows Christ who requested that His Father “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”, (Luke 23:34). The sequence in the last chapter is thus: His friends are brought back to God by Job’s intercessory prayers. They are forgiven for not having been there for Job in his darkest hours. Job’s restored relationship with God is the impetus for Job’s actions. Job is then further blessed and honored: double what he lost, except for his children. He would be eventually reunited with his lost children.
Job proved true as God said he would. Satan was proved a liar. As we are told, He is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Suffering occurs. People suffer. Oh, to be like Job, who never cursed God. Yet, I too have experienced God’s forgiveness and I “see” Him in a grand and glorious way. Ultimately, God was glorified. That is the bottom line. May God be glorified! Like Job, I want to see Him and not just hear about Him.