Job 42 – Whew… what a story… and if you have read about his “friends” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (sound like Tolkien characters) they thought they knew a lot, but weren’t really great friends. A lot to be said for just sitting quietly with your friend in misery. But bottom line is Job was blameless, more was happening in his life than any of them knew. They were faithless, faulty in their understanding of God, and Job could have written them off, as could have God, but instead, God was at work and invited Job into the story regarding his friends.
v10 says After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and doubled his previous possessions.
So, let’s back up and take a run at this in the way my mind wrapped around it in my devotion today –
there are several things I see, in that the prayer for Job’s friends was antecedent to the blessing for them and for Job himself. And that says that care, concern, and compassion was antecedent to the prayer, and finally antecedent to all of THAT was his knowledge of God
- v2 I know you can do anything – stop for a minute, if God is Sovereign over all, then he can do anything he deems is right, holy, just, and proper. But, the idea that he MUST, from our human understanding, is faulty. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, so we cannot fully understand, so we cannot dictate to Him anything. But, he CAN do anything that does not violate his Sovereignty, Holiness, and Righteousness. And if he CAN do anything, then…
- no plan can be thwarted – batsar = to cut off, make inaccessible, enclose, impossible – Not MY plans, but HIS plans. So, first, they must be FROM him, and FOR him, and BY him. If God plans it… it will happen. We sometimes ask, “why didn’t God _______, and I have to answer 1) We did Not Ask – you have not because you ask not 2) Our Sin got in the way 3) It is not in God’s plans, because God WILL do what he purposes to do, but he may do it with someone else if it is his plan, but we don’t want in or our actions disqualify us. v3 says who is this who conceals my counsel with ignorance? Job 38:2 says who… obscures my counsel with ignorant words – Oh, how often we are in the way because of what we say. No plan of his can be THWARTED – I love that old style word. Matthew 29:26 says with God all things are possible. Genesis 18:14 says Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time, I will come. Nothing is impossible for God, so it must be HIS WILL, and then in HIS TIME. At the appointed time.
- v3 Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wondrous for me to know – “wondrous” – pala = surpassingly extraordinary – My yes, so often we bring our ordinary understanding to the EXTRA-Ordinary things of God and wonder why it doesn’t go our way. We act wrongly, we pray wrongly, and we respond wrongly. – “I’m sorry, Lord… I’m ignorant of this stuff… it is beyond my ability to even know.”
Now, understand Job got here by engaging God. He wrestled with what he knew. He wrestled with God. And he listened and learned
- v4 you said, “listen now, and I will speak, when I question you, you will inform me?” We often want to question God, but we aren’t willing to be still and listen as he question us. In a previous chapter God says “brace yourself like a man and I will answer you” Oh we think we are so grown, and we question God, but are we grown enough to take the answer?
- v5 I heard reports about you…” Other testimonies about God are good, but we need firsthand knowledge
- “but now” – do you have some “But Now” realizations about God? Have you engaged him?
- “now my eyes have seen you…” To See we have to be seeking. To see, we have to be looking. To see and understand, we must be willing. Psalm 123:1 I will lift my eyes to you like a servant on his master’s hand… eyes on the Lord until he shows favor
- v6 “therefore I reject MY words and I am SORRY for them” – I have to exchagne my plans for his, my knowledge for his, my desires for his, my hope for HIM. He IS my HOPE. Don’t focus on having something, focus on having HIM.
Empathy and Identification
Now I don’t believe we can receive or obtain salvation FOR someone else, but there is plenty of scripture where intercession FOR people has caused God to stay his temporary judgment because of the empathetic identification and Intercession of a faithful one for another.
The Lord tells these three faithless friends, who have given false testimony about Job and about God, to now “ASK JOB” to intercede for them. So, they went to Job, humbled themselves, and Job felt it. He empathized with them, and he interceded for them. I believe some places don’t have God’s blessing because 1) people rejected God who didn’t know God 2) the people of God did not pray for them and intercede for them.
- v8 my servant Job will pray for them… the people of God, serving God, will pray FOR people who do not know, do not believe, because that IS the heart of God. God’s heart beats for intercession, for reconciliation. That is the response of a grateful heart, gratitude for what God has done for US, we intercede for someone else.
- v9 “and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer”. What will happen if WE, the servants of God, will pray for the faithless people who are our neighbors and friends
- v10 “after Job prayed… the Lord restored… v12 the Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the first – OH my, will God make us twice as wealthy? Oh I don’t know, but that’s not the point. I don’ t know about in this short lifespan, but my eyes are on eternity. This lifespan is only the beginning. And I know that Ecclesiastes 7:8 the end of a matter is better than the beginning. I know, with Job, that My Redeemer lives and will stand again on this earth and so I know that one day, for eternity, the last part of my life will be blessed more than the first!
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (CSB) — 16 Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Faithful folks, pray for your neighborhood and your community. Take everything you’ve experienced and learned about God, let it drive you to pray for your neighbors, your naysayers, you “no-way” people, that they may see the way, and be reconciled to God. And even if not, know that the Lord’s blessing for you at the end is better than at the first!