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Job Epilogue

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10 NIV


 

Every time we read the Bible, we find something new, a scripture, passage, or insight, some gem previously overlooked. The interaction between God, Job’s friends, and Job, recorded in 42:7-10, is one such treasure.


We all know the story of Job. His friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar come originally with the intent of consoling and comforting him. They start well upon seeing him, they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” (2:12-13) But it doesn’t take them long to move from comforters to accusers. I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of the conversation was, “Surely, you have done something wrong, and God is punishing you.”


God deals with the unjust friends at the end of the final chapter. The Lord, said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.’ So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.” (42:7-9)


Is there a connection between Job’s prayer and restoring his fortunes? Rather than looking at them as directly correlated actions, we should consider the verse a sequence of events. There is what happened spiritually, followed by what happened materially.  


For total spiritual healing to take place, Job must forgive his friends. They had falsely accused him of sinning and suffering and provoked him to anger and despair. He showed his obedience to God and love for his friends by forgiving and interceding for them. 


When we look at Job’s prayers, he prays for repentance for statements made to God in anger and despair; he prays for his friends, but at no time does he pray for restoring his wealth. Was God pleased by Job’s obedience? Of course, but the material blessing Job enjoyed was not compensation for his suffering but was given purely from God’s grace.

What can we take away from this passage? Like Job, we need to pray for forgiveness for our transgressions and those who’ve sinned against us, friends and enemies. But also to understand the separation of the spiritual from the material. God sends sunshine and rain on the righteous and unrighteous alike (Matt. 5:45). We serve God with no expectations of material gain but simply because we love him in return for his love for us.


Lord God, you are the Almighty, the Creator of all things, and the Judge of all the earth. You are sovereign over everything that happens and have a purpose for everything you do. You are also merciful and compassionate and do not treat us as our sins deserve.


We thank you for the example of your servant Job, who endured great suffering and loss but did not curse you or give up his faith. We thank you for his honesty and humility as he confessed his ignorance and repentance before you. We thank you for his intercession and forgiveness as he prayed for his friends who had spoken wrongly about you and him. We thank you for your grace and favor as you restored his fortunes and blessed him more than before.


We ask you, Lord, to help us follow Job's footsteps when facing trials and troubles. Help us trust and worship you, even when we do not understand your ways. Help us speak the truth about you and your character, even when others accuse or misunderstand us. Help us pray for our friends and enemies, even when they hurt or offend us. Help us receive your correction and comfort, even when we feel ashamed or discouraged.


We pray all this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for our sins and rose again for our salvation. Amen.


Blessings,

Pastor Tim




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