Reading through the Bible together
God reaffirmed the “end times” to Job what had already been revealed to Adam and Noah, who lived until Abraham was 18 years old. Job had almost first-hand information about conditions before and after the Flood. He believed the prophecies outlined to his predecessors and had access to the same books as Moses did: the Book of Adam (Genesis 5:1) and the Book of Noah (Genesis 6:1). The Warrior Messiah’s final scenes in the Executive Judgment eradicating all evil (Chapter 41) was familiar to Job and he had emphasized this to his friends, but in vain.
In chapter 42 Job feels confident that God is on his side and that he can have an open conversation with God. Job affirms that “I knew that You are able and no design is hidden from You” (v. 2). The same question that the Lord started with when He talked with Job and asked: “Who is this from darkness who gives advice in words without knowledge?” (38:2); Job, thinking about his friends, repeats God’s question: “Who is this that gives advice without knowledge?” (verse 3a). In a court, the advocate of defense needs to recite and counter the points raised by the prosecutor. He needs to address the question and not avoid it. So Job repeats it but from a slightly different angle. “God,” Job said, “You know who this is who from darkness gives advice without knowledge [Satan], and who it is who speaks through my friends. I did not realize this” (verse 3b). Job implies that he can speak for himself but not really for his friends.
Then Job asks God to please listen to him and let him speak, and asks God to kindly answer him (verse 4). He has heard many things about God but now, like Adam, God is walking with him and he can understand God so much better (verse 5). As we have indicated above, the Book of Adam and the Book of Noah as well as Noah overlapping with Job and Abraham, are factors. This would be enough time for Job to get first hand witness accounts of the story of Noah who undoubtedly shared his experiences (just as the architects in Egypt who built the pyramids spoke about them).
Job responded to God, “I hate myself and repent in dust and ashes” (verse 6). God is no more confronting Job and Job is no longer upset with God. The Lord turns His attention to the friends of Job and said that they did not speak correctly as Job did (verse 7). The solution for the friends of Job is repentance and an act of faith by offering: seven bulls and seven rams and to go to Job to do it. This is not an offering to Job but to God. Also they had to offer a burnt offering for themselves. Then Job prayed for them and asked God to help them and God accepted his prayers (verse 8). When he did, the Lord favored Job (verse 9).
It is true, that when faithful people pray, God can hardly wait to answer their prayers. They could have brought their offerings by themselves and prayed by themselves, but God wants to mend broken relationships and broken hearts. It is the same as in the Footwashing and Lord Supper service. “Moving forward on one’s knees” to use Dwight Nelson’s expression, they all approach God together and the solution is witnessed by all.
“Then the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends and the Lord multiplied and doubled all that Job had previously” (verse 10). All Job’s brothers and sisters and previous acquaintances came to eat a meal with Job in his house and they “consoled him because of the evil one, whom the Lord had permitted to come upon him, and they each gave Job one piece of silver and one golden ring” (verse 11). These were blessings from people touched by the Holy Spirit.
But the Lord had additional gifts for Job. He gave him more than Job had at the beginning. Job had more sheep, camels, cattle, and donkeys than before (verse 12). Also he had 14 sons and 3 daughters. The daughters were very beautiful and “their father gave them an inheritance among the brothers” (verse 15). There are still countries today where the oldest son gets everything and the daughters are delivered to the ‘good will’ or absence thereof from the oldest brother.
Job lived 140 years more and saw his sons and daughters and his grandchildren to the fourth generation. “Job died, old and filled days” (verse 17).
Moses achieved what he set out to do in Job’s story. If you lose every thing in life, there is a God in heaven that has you in His heart and what is happening may be for the good of the heavenly beings. If you wait patiently and prayerfully upon the Lord, He will improve your case even better than before. It was a witness for Moses for his suffering in the desert conditions of Midian.
We come to the end of Job and have learned more about You than about him. Thank you for shifting our thoughts from him to our Savior. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea