Updated: Feb 26, 2022
In the book of Job, a righteous man faces devastating loss, after which, his misguided friends try to make sense of this world and speak on behalf of God, whose thoughts and ways are much higher than theirs. What emerges out of the darkest human tragedy is hope and faith that are unparalleled. We often find ourselves in similar situations today, trying to explain the will and ways of God, when we are not privy to the whole story. Why does a righteous and just God allow suffering? Shouldn’t life be fair, if the rules are followed? If God is good, why doesn’t he step in and take away our pain. What answers do Christians have for the hurting?
The moral of the story is to get your answers straight from God- his word, and not from human beings who would like to speak for him. This lesson is the conclusion of those conversations and by learning the end of Job’s story, we learn a very powerful lesson. Only God knows the future, only God knows the purpose, and one thing can always be counted on. God is always good.
In the beginning of the book of Job, God himself asks Satan to consider his servant Job stating that, ‘There is none like him perfect and upright, fearing God and eschewing evil.” The book of Job is Hebrew poetry, it is full of imagery and beauty. Even in the hardest speeches given by Job’s friends, their are seeds of truth, even statements that most in the church community would agree with unless they were told who said them. The problem is that God speaks at the end of this book saying,“ And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath” (Job 42:7). God requires that the friends ask for Job to pray for them and offer a sacrifice on their behalf. His suffering is a type of the suffering of Christ. Job had done nothing to cause the trouble that came upon him. The trouble was a battle between God and Satan over the hearts and minds of God’s people. Satan insisted that human beings were only interested in a relationship with God for what they could get out of it, and not because they could love Him. When God became man, in the form of his Son Jesus, and suffered and died on our behalf, he showed that God can indeed have a true relationship with man, and then Jesus became our intercessor, going to God on our behalf with his sacrifice and prayer to save all who would trust in him.
42 Then Job answered the Lord, and said,2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
John 11:24 says, “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” She believed that Jesus had power, but that his power was limited. Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believeth on me shall never die.” He has unlimited power. Job knew God, loved God, worshiped God, before his trial. However, he learned so much more about who He is and what He can do by going through his troubles. There are no limits to the majesty of God.
3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Young children sing, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” and they are speaking a truth that began before the universe was spoken into existence. How often do we speak, and not even know what we are saying?
4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Then Job answered the Lord, and said,6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Of what does Job have to repent? He lost sight for a moment of the fact that God is able to hear, able to answer, able to create, able to keep. He is able to bless, and able to rescue. His plans are for our good, and his mercy endureth forever. Job despaired of his life thinking that the last chapter had been written, and that nothing was left for him but the relief of the grave. He had to repent of thinking he knew the whole story. Only God knew that.
10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
This isn’t just material things, although they are certainly included, he has twice the peace, twice the faith, and twice the assurance that God hears and answers when his people are in trouble.
Now let's look at Jesus, the third part of the trinity, He has always been God. But the Bible tells us that God glorified him because of his obedience to the cross. He is crowned with many crowns.
11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.17 So Job died, being old and full of days.
When the crisis was over his friends returned. I’m sure he had quite a story to tell them. He was blessed, and he blessed others. There was so much more to the story.
When Jesus was arrested, all of the disciples fled in terror, denied him, or followed from afar. After his resurrection, he met them in Galilee just as He promised that He would and they had a reunion. Jesus forgave them. You see they thought they’d seen the end of his story. Little did they know it was only the beginning and that’s a story they are still a part of, “Because He lives, we can live also.” John 14
How does thinking about the end of Job’s story change what you understand about suffering?
When you try to help someone who is hurting it’s important to remember that you do not know the end of their story. How does keeping that in mind cause you to change what you might say?
When you think of the suffering of Christ, do you think of a victory or a loss?
For what purpose do we study the book of Job? Is it a book of human wisdom or a picture of higher things?
Thank you for studying with us!