Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes. vs 6
Job’s confession is beautiful. You could feel it building over the last several weeks. The tension of Job’s initial reaction to his situation was beginning to wain as the Lord was speaking. It was in the voice of the Lord that Job finally felt comfort. His family and friends thought that they were bringing him comfort, but they could not comfort him the way God could: through repentance. Even more beautiful in this confession is that we find the word for repent comes from the same root as the word comfort (Strong’s H5162). There is true comfort found in repentance.
We often fail to repent because we feel that admitting our faults will become painful, but when we repent, God meets us in our brokenness and takes away the pain. Spend some time today as we wrap up this series on Job bringing your faults to God. Let God meet you and bring you comfort in your repentance. Repentance Sheet
A local pastor friend of mine warned, “If you read it [Job] wrong, it could hurt.”
We have been in Job for 13 weeks now. If our conclusion is some weird form of prosperity Gospel, that if we just endure suffering and slug it out, God will reward us (on this side of eternity) with even greater wealth and a healthy family, then we have read it all wrong.
God is never arbitrary, he always has a reason (although we may not be able to perceive it), but his giving is never tied to our faithful achievements, but to his grace. His giving is always a gift.
The greater reward of Job’s rough and tumble faithfulness was not new stuff, but a restored relationship with God; what he had truly longed for the entire time. So here is an insightful question to ponder, after reading through Job, do you long for more stuff or more of God? Do you desire more OF God, rather than more FROM God?
“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.”
Job’s experiences have served to bring him closer to the Lord. The Lord has used Job’s situation and suffering not only to reconcile Job to Himself, but also his three “friends”. Isn’t it just like the Lord to use any and all circumstances to reconcile people to Himself. Not only that, now God is using Job as a part of His great plan. Want to be used by God to reach others? Want the Lord to use you to influence and encourage your friends and neighbors with the gospel? Look at Job’s heart and actions. We must be repentant and obedient. God desires to use us for His glory and the good of others. Will He find us humble and faithful when opportunities arise?
Job is doing business with God. He is confessing his sin of declaring what he did not know or understand. He declares that he now clearly sees God for who He is. Job repents of his sin.
In God’s conversation with Job, He also has some choice words for the three friends. Job’s friends have been giving false words to Job. They were telling Job that all suffering is the direct result of sin…false theology! Some of what they said about God was true, but their representation of God and His ways was not totally accurate.
If the friends’ theology had been accurate, we would have to blame the suffering of today’s persecuted churches on their own sin. Evil is in the world and there is often not a rational explanation of why suffering happens. God is sovereign and we cannot always see how His infinite plan is at work. We do need to be reminded that God is God though!
The speech God gives over the last few chapters in Job is amazing. It stops us in our tracks. And honestly, if the book were to end there, that would be enough, wouldn’t it? Job is given all he needs by just being in God’s presence. But, the book doesn’t end there. Chapter 42 shows us that God wants to restore every bit of our lives.
God restored all things to Job. Yes, God restored Job’s wealth and possessions, but more importantly, He restores Job’s heart and relationships. He admonishes Job’s friends for how they have dealt with him, and then tells Job to pray for them. I can imagine that it was difficult for Job to obey here – it’s hard to pray for someone who has treated your poorly. But, this act of prayer was just as much for Job’s heart as it was for his friends. This act of prayer restored these men’s relationship with God, but it also restored Job’s relationship with them. What a tender way for God to heal them.
Our troubles won’t always end with us becoming rich, or having our material possessions double. But we can be sure that they will end with restoration, because that is the business of God. Be it on this side of heaven or the next, He restores all things.
The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. vs. 10
Notice when restoration happened for Job? It was after he prayed for his friends. Scripture does not indicate this as a condition for restoration, but there is likely a connection. The Lord was direct in his dealing with those men, and as Job stood on the side of righteousness he did so as a helpful conduit. He did not use that righteousness as an opportunity to gloat, he simply helped. For chapters and chapters they offered “advice”, and yet when it came to down to it Job’s act of intercessory prayer made all the difference. Tempted to help a friend in need? How much time have you spent in prayer for them?
Who are these magnificent creatures? It is fun to speculate. Hippopotamus? Giant crocodile? Dinosaurs? Mythological creatures? My mind races with the possibilities of what this could mean on scientific/biological level, but that is not the point of what God nor the author of this book are trying to get across. The beauty of the poetical extravagance which is used to describe these creatures is meant to bring our minds to the realization that:
God is a great creator. He cares for us.
God is in control. We are not.
If we are unable to control, let alone understand, the most complex creatures on this planet, who are we to think that we can control the God who created and ordered the entire universe?! By looking into creation (Jesus speaks on this too), we can see that God has a master plan in order. It is our job to trust Him.
I wouldn’t mess with a leviathan. Would you? It would probably take my arm clean off if I tried. And not because it is evil, or part of a “broken” world, but simply because it is a wild and magnificent and dangerous animal.
Here’s the kicker, God is super proud of this beast. Nothing on earth is its equal, no other creature so fearless. (41:33) He created it just like he created you and me.
We are always searching for reasons, but God seems to be saying, in part, there isn’t always a personal reason for suffering. Sometimes we run into something and it takes our arm clean off. He seems to be saying, in part, that his good, magnificent, created world wasn’t designed to cushion us when we fall; parts of it has sharp edges that requires wisdom and caution in its navigation. (It’s why we wear seatbelts, wash our hands, or avoid sticking our heads in lion’s mouths.)
While that isn’t all that comforting, it does reinforce one simple principle:
Live wisely. And be in awe of God’s good and magnificent and sometimes dangerous world.
Job is learning about the unlimited power and possibilities of God. Something he previously knew and understood. Yet, God has confronted him with these truths. Job’s response shows the growth and tenderness of his heart and faith. Job responds in awe with worship, confession, and repentance. They all go together in a beautiful and humble response. When we learn and sense God’s greatness our reaction will indicate the condition of our hearts. Is there worship, confession, and repentance?Is there awe?
What does our reaction indicate about our hearts?What does our reaction indicate about our view and understanding of God?