Hope Satisfies

Job 42:1-10

SS Lesson for 10/26/2014

 

Devotional Scripture:  Rom 5:1-11

Introduction

Overview and Approach to Lesson

The lesson teaches that by trusting in God our Hope is Satisfied.  The study's aim is to understand that we will suffer while on this side of heaven and that other people will play a role either for blessing or for suffering in the grand scheme of life.  The study's application is to submit our lives to an all-wise and all-powerful God who never leaves us and is fully involved in our suffering and to embrace His plan for all creation.   (Adapted from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator Commentary).

 

Key Verse: Job 42:2

2 "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

 

Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

In Job’s first response (40:3-5) he admitted his finiteness in the face of God’s display of numerous wonders of nature above, on, and under the earth. But he did not admit to God’s sovereignty or to his own sin of pride. Job now confessed those two things in his second reply. Overwhelmed by the strength and fierceness of the behemoth and the leviathan, Job sensed his own inadequacy to conquer and control evil, which they rep-resented. He therefore saw anew the greatness of God’s power and sovereignty. Job’s words I know that You can do all things point up the folly of his questioning God’s ability to govern the universe. Job’s efforts to thwart (lit., “cut off”) God’s plan were now seen as futile.  Job quoted God’s question Who is this that obscures My counsel without knowledge? to infer that God was right. Job had spoken without knowledge (as Elihu had said, 34:35; 35:16); he talked about things beyond his comprehension, things too wonderful (cf. “wonders” in 37:14) or awesome in creation for him to know. Job now discarded his complaints about God’s inability to rule the world with justice. The idea that he could boldly refute any of God’s trumped-up charges (23:4-7; 31:35-36) was now abandoned.

42:4-5. Again Job quoted the Lord, this time citing God’s challenge at the beginning of each of His two speeches (38:3; 40:7): I will question you, and you shall answer Me. This quotation implied an admission that Job was unable to answer any of the Sovereign’s barrage of rhetorical questions. Job admitted to flunking God’s biology examinations.  Job had only heard of God’s doings. The complainer was not an eyewitness of the act of Creation, a fact God called to his attention near the beginning of His first speech (38:4-11). Nor could Job even view firsthand many aspects of natural Creation (38:16-24; 39:1-4). His perspective of God’s total workings was therefore limited and secondhand. But now that Job was addressed directly by God, this experience exceeded his previous knowledge, like seeing (now my eyes have seen You) compared with hearing. This thrilling view of God, probably spiritual insight, not physical vision, deepened his perspective and appreciation of God. What Job now knew of God was incomparable to his former ideas, which were really ignorant. This personal confrontation with God silenced his arguing and deepened his awe. Having gained insight (Job 42:5) into God’s ways and character—His creative power and genius, His sovereign control, and His providential care and love—Job confessed his own unworthiness and repented. I despise myself means he rejected his former accusations of God spoken in pride. God had already rebuked Job for indicting, faulting, and discrediting Him (40:2). Job then repented in dust and ashes, a way of expressing his self-deprecation (cf. Gen. 18:27). Throwing dust in the air so that it came down on one’s head (cf. Job 2:12) and sitting in or near ashes or with ashes on one’s body (cf. 2:8; Isa. 58:5; Dan. 9:3) were signs of a humbled condition. Having grieved over his losses, Job now grieved over his sin. Obviously he did not repent of the sins which his three friends had conjured up. He stuck persistently to his position that his suffering was not merited by pre-calamity sins (Job 27:2-6). But, as Elihu had pointed out, bitterness and pride had followed his loss of wealth, family, and health (32:2; 33:17; 35:12-13; 36:9; 37:24). At first, however, Job’s response was proper (1:21-22; 2:10). Job now saw, as God had challenged him (40:10), that no one can stand accusingly against Him. Realizing that God is not obligated to man, Job’s questions vanished and his resentment left. He was now satisfied, for God had communicated with him about His own person, not about Job’s problems. Now Job was willing to trust the Sovereign, whose ways are perfect (Ps. 18:30), even when he could not understand. Undoubtedly God forgave him of his former sin of pride. God spoke to Eliphaz, probably the eldest of the three, and said He was angry with him and his two companions (similar to Elihu’s reaction to the three, 32:3) for they had not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. They who had assumed a position of defending God were now on the defensive themselves. As Job had predicted (13:7-9) matters did not turn out well for them. They thought they knew God’s ways but they did not expect this! The words, My servant Job, spoken by God four times in 42:7-8, point up his restored position as a trusting and obedient servant of the Lord (cf. 1:8; 2:3). By insisting that suffering is always retributive, the three rhetoricians were limiting God’s sovereign ability to use suffering for other purposes. As a result, they cruelly indicted innocent Job. How then did Job speak “what is right”? Had he not repeatedly and proudly challenged God, accusing Him of injustice and unwarranted silence? Yes, but he had now repented of his proud accusations (42:6) and therefore he was accepted by God. Furthermore, he never cursed God, as Satan had predicted and his wife had urged (1:11; 2:5, 9), though he came close to it. Though Job continued to contend with God, he never renounced Him. Also his view of God’s power and wisdom exceeded that of the three. To the utter surprise and chagrin of the three critics, God told them to offer a burnt offering of seven bulls and seven rams, a large sacrifice. And they were to have Job pray for them as their mediator (cf. his earlier work as a priest, 1:5). Never once had they prayed for him. But now Job, whom they had condemned and badgered, and who had rejected their counsel, was to intercede for them. What an amazing irony! They had defended God’s justice in striking Job down. But now they saw that God is concerned with more than justice; He is also known for love and grace. Repentance, which they had recommended for Job, was now what they had to do. They too were silenced—and corrected—by God’s direct communication. Elihu was excluded from this act of repentance because he, though not having all the truth on Job’s situation, was nearer the truth than the other three. Job had longed for a mediator between himself and God (16:19-21) since his three countrymen were not interceding for him; but ironically he himself became a mediator for them, even though they did not ask for one. Job’s vision of God’s transcendence and his ensuing repentance paved the way for his forgiveness of and intercessory praying for his three friends. Then his forgiving spirit toward them paved the way for God to bless him. His painful disease was cured either at this time or immediately after his repentance (Job 42:6). All his brothers... sisters, and acquaintances (probably including the forgiven three!), who had forsaken him (19:13-14), heard of his restoration. They now dined with him in his house. They comforted... him regarding his trouble (“calamity”), though this was probably less consoling than if they had done so earlier. This woe, as Job himself had acknowledged (1:21; 2:10), was brought on by the Lord (through the instrumentality of Satan). Then, to show their kindness, they each... gave him a piece of silver (a word used only here and in Gen. 33:19 and Josh. 24:32), and a gold ring, referring either to a nose ring (Gen. 24:22) or an earring (Gen. 35:4).

 

Lesson Introduction and Background

From the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

As children, we were warned of the dangers of “running off at the mouth.” Despite the warning, we eventually learned the lesson the hard way. An example is found in a memorable scene in the 1995 romantic comedy The American President, in which a lobbyist shows off in front of a colleague by speaking bold words against the president of the United States.  Unbeknownst to her, the president walks into the room and listens in on the last part of her rant against him. The lobbyist is mortified when she realizes that the president has overheard her. Had she known he was there, she would not have run off at the mouth as she did. Many of us have experienced something like this as we have spoken about others behind their backs only to learn that they were listening in all along. How much more problematic, then, to say incorrect things about God, who actually is listening at all times and in all places! That’s the situation Job found himself in.

 

We are nearing the end of the book of Job, and a lot has happened since the previous lesson. Bildad was the last of Job’s three friends to speak (in chap. 25), and that only briefly—six verses. He added nothing new to the friends’ case against Job, so Job continued to assert his innocence while waxing eloquent on the nature of God (chap. 26-31). Job was then followed by a man named Elihu (chap. 32-37). Elihu is not mentioned until this point in the book and is not mentioned again after he finishes speaking. Neither Job nor God responded to Elihu’s thoughts. The man just mysteriously showed up, offered his thoughts, and disappeared. Then God finally spoke (Job 38:1-40:2). Posing a series of rhetorical questions, God accused Job of lacking knowledge. The gist of God’s line of questioning was that he and not Job was the one who established and sustained creation. God then invited Job to respond (40:2). Job declined to answer, merely citing his own unworthiness to do so (40:3-5). God was not satisfied with Job’s reaction. Job was not going to get off the hot seat that easily! God demanded a real answer, rejected Job’s accusations, and reminded Job that he could not justify or save himself, for no human could stand up even to creatures God had made—creatures such as Behemoth and Leviathan (Job 40:6-41:34). Job was required to answer for what he had said.

 

Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Hope Responds with Humility (Job 42:1-6)

 

1 Then Job answered the Lord and said:

2 "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

3 You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, 'I will question you, and you shall answer Me.'

5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.

6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes."

 

Humility knowing God is sovereign (1-2)

God can do all things because nothing is too hard for Him (Gen 18:14)

14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."

God can do all things because no one can oppose Him (Isa 43:13)

13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?"

God can do all things because of His great power (Jeer 32:17)

17 "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

God can do all things because nothing is impossible for Him (Matt 19:26)

26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." 

God can do all things because everything is possible for God (Mark 14:35-36)

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." 

 

Humility knowing that God's plans cannot be thwarted (2)

God's plans cannot be thwarted because God's plans stand firm forever (Ps 33:10-11)

10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

God's plans cannot be thwarted because God determines the outcome (Prov 16:9)

9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

God's plans cannot be thwarted because God's purposes will prevail (Prov 19:21)

21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

God's plans cannot be thwarted because God has sworn to do what He has planned (Isa 14:24)

24 The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.

God's plans cannot be thwarted because His purposes will stand (Isa 46:10)

10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

 

Humility knowing that man does not have full understanding (3)

Man does not have full understanding because God's works are too numerous to understand (Ps 40:5)

5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.

Man does not have full understanding because of ignorance (Eph 4:18)

18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

Man does not have full understanding because of not having the indwelling Holy Spirit  (1 Cor 2:14)

 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Man does not have full understanding because of not relying on the revelation of the Holy Spirit  (Eph 1:17)

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

 

Humility through knowing God better (4-5)

Knowing God better through obedience to God's Word  (1 John 2:3-6)

3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Knowing God better through knowing Jesus  (John 17:3)

3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Knowing God better through having Jesus as Shepherd  (John 10:14)

14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-

Knowing God better through prayer (Prov 2:2-5)

2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Knowing God better through nature (Hab 2:14)

14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Knowing God better through the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:17)

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

 

Humility that leads to the repenting of sins (6)

Repent of sins through godly sorrow (2 Cor 7:10-11)

10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.

Repent of sins to please God (Ezek 18:23)

23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

Repent of sins to escape from the trap of Satan  (2 Tim 2:25-26)

25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Repent now because the Kingdom of Heaven is near (Matt 4:17)

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 

Repent so that the times of refreshing can come (Acts 3:19)

19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Repent because the times of ignorance has passed (Acts 17:30)

30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

Repent during the times of earthly life because after that it will be impossible (Luke 16:27-31)

27 "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' 30 "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 31 "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'" 

 

Hope Sometimes Brings Rebuke (Job 42:7-9)

 

7 And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.

8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."

9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job.

 

Rebuke of misinterpretation of God's Word (7)

Misinterpretation through trying to read into the Scriptures what's not there (John 5:38-40)

38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Misinterpretation through not having discernment through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:14)

14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Misinterpretation through being slow to learn (Luke 24:25)

25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

Misinterpretation through distorting God's word or using deception (2 Cor 4:2-5)

2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

 

Rebuke that requires prayer and repentance (8)

Repentance by turning away from sin (Ezek 18:21-23)

21 "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

Repentance through humility and prayer (2 Chron 7:14)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Repentance for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38-39)

38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call."

Repentance by turning to God (Acts 3:19)

19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

 

Rebuke that requires obedience (9)

Obedience that is consistent with God's will (Isa 58:6-9)

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —  when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 

Obedience that delights God (1 Sam 15:22)

22 But Samuel replied: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Obedience that is bold and steadfast (Dan 3:16-18)

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Obedience through putting God's words into practice (Matt 7:24-25)

24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

 

Hope Leads To Restoration (Job 42:10)

 

10 And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

 

Restoration of losses (10)

Restoration through the Grace of God that will restore after suffering a little while (1 Peter 5:10)

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Restoration through the future glory that helps to endure the momentary suffering now (2 Cor 4:17-18)

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Restoration after suffering for a while because there is a rich reward waiting (Heb 10:32-35)

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Restoration through the sufficiency of God's grace (2 Cor 12:9-10)

9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Restoration through God's compassion (2 Cor 1:3-4)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

 

Restoration of blessings (10)

Restoration of resources to have all that is needed (2 Cor 9:8)

8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Restoration with the best (Isa 1:19)

19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;

Restoration of God's refreshing (Acts 3:19)

19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Restoration of the soul that leads into righteousness (Ps 23:2-3)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

 

Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from David Guzik

Job 42:1-17 - Job’s Repentance and Restoration

A. Job’s repentance.

1. (Job 42:1-3) Job confesses his presumption and lack of knowledge.

a. I know that You can do everything: This wonderful statement from Job was obviously connected to the impressive display of the power and might of God over creation; but it was also connected to the comfort that the sense of the presence of God brought to Job. God indeed could do everything, including bring comfort and assurance to Job, even when Job still did not understanding the origin or meaning of his crisis.

b. And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You: The God who can master Behemoth and Leviathan (Job 40:1-24; Job 41:1-34) can also accomplish every purpose in Job’s life, including the mysterious meaning behind the twists and turns.

c. I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know: Job sad many sad and imprudent things, both in his agonized cry of Job 3:1-26 and in the bitter and contentious debate with his friends. At times he doubted the goodness of God and His righteous judgment in the world; at times he doubted if there was any good in this life or in the life beyond. Now Job has come full circle, back to a state of humble contentment with not knowing the answers to the questions occasioned by his crisis and his companions.

i. “Job felt that what he had spoken concerning the Lord was in the main true; and the Lord himself said to Job’s three friends, ‘Ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath’; but under a sense of the divine presence Job felt that even when he had spoken aright, he had spoken beyond his own proper knowledge, uttering speech whose depths of meaning ho could not himself fathom.” (Spurgeon)

ii. Job’s thinking here is well expressed by one of the shortest psalms, Psalms 131:1-3 :

LORD, my heart is not haughty,

Nor my eyes lofty.

Neither do I concern myself with great matters,

Nor with things too profound for me.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,

Like a weaned child with his mother;

Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the LORD

From this time forth and forever.

2. (Job 42:4-6) Job repents before God.

a. Listen, please, and let me speak: Before Job seemed to want to challenge God (Job 31:35-40) in a confrontational way. Now, after his wonderful revelation of God, He respectfully asked God for the right to speak.

b. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You: This reminds us that the most powerful aspect of Job’s encounter with God. It was not primarily what God said; but God’s simple, loving, powerful presence with Job that changed him most profoundly.

i. Seeing God – not with his literal eye, but in a way literally real – gave Job what he so wanted: to know that God was with him in his crisis. This wonderful presence of God has humbled Job.

ii. We should not assume that what Job knew of God was necessarily false; yet each fresh and deeper revelation of God has a brightness that makes previous experience of God seem rather pale. What he had just experienced was so real it made his previous experiences seem unreal.

c. Therefore I abhor myself: It is important to understand each phrase of this statement of Job’s. This would seem to be the normal conviction of sin that even a saint like Job senses in the presence of God; yet there is good evidence that Job, with this statement, was really formally retracting his previous statements made in ignorance.

i. “The verb translated ‘I despise myself (Job 42:6) could be rendered ‘I reject what I said.’” (Smick)

ii. “The Hebrew word literally means, from the standpoint of etymology, to disappear; from the standpoint of usage, to retract, to repudiate. As a matter of fact, Job at this point went beyond what he had previously said when he declared, ‘I am of small account,’ and declared that he practically cancelled himself entirely. I disappear, I retract all that has been said; I repudiate the position I have taken up.” (Morgan)

iii. “I despise (and translations usually supply myself as the object not found in the Hebrew). This does not go as far as the abject self-loathing of that radical repentance that requires admitting known sins. If we are to connect it with verse 3, Job could be expressing regret at his foolish words, uttered hastily and in ignorance.” (Andersen)

d. And repent in dust and ashes: It was right for Job to repent. He had done nothing to invite the crisis that came into his life; the reasons for that crisis were rooted in the contention between God and Satan as recorded in Job 1:1-22; Job 2:1-13. Yet he did have to repent of his bad words and bad attitude after the crisis; both for excessively giving into despair in Job 3:1-26 and for his unwise and intemperate speech as he contended with his companions.

i. It is important to note that Job did not give into his friends and admit that they had been right all along. That simply was not true. The sins Job repented of here were both general sins, common to all men, which seemed all the darker in the presence of God yet were not the cause of the catastrophe that came into his life; and they were sins committed after the catastrophe came.

ii. What did Job have to repent of? In his sermon, Job Among the Ashes, Charles Spurgeon suggested several things:

·         Job repented of the terrible curse he had pronounced upon the day of his birth.

·         Job repented of his desire to die.

·         Job repented of his complaints against and challenges to God.

·         Job repented of his despair.

·         Job repented that his statements had been a “darkening of wisdom by words without knowledge”; that he spoke beyond his knowledge and ability to know.

iii. One might say that these words of Job – words of humble repentance and submission before God, for sins that were greatly provoked, sins that come from the godly and not from the wicked – these words that contain no curse of God whatsoever – these words ended the contest between God and Satan, and demonstrated that the victory belonged to God and to Job.

iv. God’s confidence in Job’s faith was completely vindicated. “Job is vindicated in a faith in God’s goodness that has survived a terrible deprivation and, indeed, grown in scope, unsupported by Israel’s historical creed or the mighty acts of God, unsupported by life in the covenant community, unsupported by cult institutions, unsupported by revealed knowledge from the prophets, unsupported by tradition, and contradicted by experience. Next to Jesus, Job must surely be the greatest believer in the whole Bible.” (Andersen)

v. Simply put, “Without anger toward him, God allowed Job to suffer in order to humiliate the Accuser and proved support to countless sufferers who would follow in Job’s footsteps.” (Smick) This was now accomplished.

B. Job’s restoration.

1. (Job 42:7-9) Job’s friends are rebuked; Job is vindicated

And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job.

a. My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends: God rebuked Job’s three companions, addressing Eliphaz as their head (he was the first of the three to speak).

i. Curiously, Elihu is not addressed by God in this final chapter. Some people think this is because Elihu was correct in what he said, and was indeed God’s messenger to Job. Taking into account exactly what Elihu said, it is better to think that God did not answer him as a way of dismissing him altogether.

ii. “He is therefore punished (as ambassadors are used to be when they commit undecencies) with silence, which is the way royal to correct a wrong.” (Trapp)

b. You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has: The friends of Job spoke many general principles that, in their setting, have great wisdom. The problem was that in Job’s circumstance their principles of wisdom did not apply. They presented God as angry and judgmental against Job when He was not. This displeased God.

i. It displeased God so much that He specifically repeated the charge (Job 42:8); He commanded them to sacrifice a burnt offering to make atonement for their sin; and He commanded them to humble themselves and ask Job to pray for them.

ii. We can imagine that they were quite surprised by this. They no doubt thought that God was in agreement with them all along. “And yet they seemed to be all for God; and to plead his cause against Job throughout. But as in some things they were much mistaken, so they had their self-respects, and were much biased in their discourses.” (Trapp)

iii. God’s rebuke of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar was at the same time an explicit vindication of Job. It was true that in his frustration, stubbornness, and misery Job said things that he had to repent of. Yet God could still say of him, “as My servant Job has,” putting forth Job as an example of one who spoke what is right.

c. So Eliphaz . . . Bildad . . . and Zophar . . . went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job: The friends of Job were accepted for Job’s sake, because the Lord had accepted Job. God made Job a mediator to his friends. This must have been a humbling and instructive experience for the friends, and a happy and healing experience for Job.

i. “These men did not say, ‘No, we will not go to Job’; they did not attempt to justify themselves, they did exactly what God told them to, and in so doing they did a grand and noble thing, and took the only chance of getting to know God.” (Chambers)

ii. “They had attempted to restore Job by philosophy. They had failed. He was now to restore them by prayer. The bands of his own captivity were broken, moreover, in the activity of prayer on behalf of others.” (Morgan)

iii. “Job was permitted to take a noble revenge, I am sure the only one he desired, when he became the means of bringing them back to God. God would not hear them, he said, for they had spoken so wrongly of his servant Job, and now Job is set to be a mediator, or intercessor on their behalf: thus was the contempt poured upon the patriarch turned into honor.” (Spurgeon)

2. (Job 42:10-11) Job is blessed and received by his friends again.

And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.

a. And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends: God was good enough to restore Job’s wealth to him, even though Job never asked for this. Job’s agony was always more rooted in the more spiritual aspects of his crisis, much more than the material. Yet once the spiritual was resolved, God restored the material.

i. As the margin in the New King James Version notes, this can also be translated, and the LORD turned the captivity of Job. This is a suggestive phrase; that the act of praying for his friends and restoring his relationship with them in a sense freed Job from captivity.

ii. It does not say that God turned the poverty of Job, nor the health of Job, nor his friendships; rather, literally, He turned the captivity of Job. A man may be poor, sick, and friendless without being captive. Yet until Job had a revelation of God; until he humbled himself before God; until he brought atonement to his friends and prayed for them, he was still in captivity.

iii. This happed after Job’s relationship with his friends was restored (when he prayed for his friends). It would have been a weak restoration if Job’s relationship with Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar remained as contentious and bitter as it was during their debate.

b. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house: Job was once an outcast even from his own family (as described in Job 19:13-14). Now these relationships were restored.

i. It is interesting to notice that the consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him, and this was even after his losses were restored, his captivity was released. “It is worth dwelling on the fact that, even when everything is set right, Job still feels the hurt of his losses, and needs human comfort for them.” (Andersen)

i. They also gave him generous gifts (a piece of silver and each a ring of gold); probably more to honor his greatness than to make it. “Partly to make up his former losses, and partly as a testimony of their honourable respect to him.” (Poole)

3. (Job 42:12-17) The happy end to the story of Job.

Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days.

a. Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning: In the beginning of the story of Job we find a blessed and godly man; at the end of the Book of Job we find a man more blessed and more godly. In the end, all the attack of Satan served to make Job a more blessed and more godly man.

i. “Our sorrows shall have an end when God has gotten his end in them. The ends in the case of Job were these, that Satan might be defeated, foiled with his own weapons, blasted in his hopes when he had everything his own way.” (Spurgeon)

ii. Job had doubled his possessions under the blessing of God, and doubled his children also. “Job had the number of his children doubled; for they are ours still whom we have sent to heaven before us.” (Trapp)

iii. We can also see, as Mason suggests, this chapter as an example of the work of revival.

·         God’s people are convicted of their sin (I abhor myself)

·         God’s people are broken and repentant (repent in dust and ashes)

·         God speaks to hard hearts and they listen (the Lord said to Eliphaz)

·         God’s people pray for others and God answers (Job shall pray for you)

·         God’s people obey God (Eliphaz . . . Bildad . . . and Zophar . . . went and did as the Lord commanded them)

·         God’s people are united and jubilant (all his brothers, all his sisters . . . came to him and ate food with him in his house)

·         God’s people are blessed (the Lord blessed)

b. He also had seven sons and three daughters: Nothing could replace the children Job so tragically lost in Job 1:1-22; yet these ten children were of true consolation. It also is some evidence that Job’s relationship with his wife was restored to goodness as before.

i. The daughters of Job were also uniquely blessed, noted as being beautiful, and having an inheritance among their brothers. There was, no doubt, some connection between Job’s godly conduct as a family man (Job 31:1-4; Job 31:9-12) and this blessing on his daughters.

ii. The names of the daughters of Job are of some interest.

·         Jemimah: “Turtledove” or “Day-bright.”

·         Keziah: “Cinnamon” or “Cassia,” a fragrant scent.

·         Keren-Happuch: “A Jar of Eye Paint” or “Horn of Beauty”; the idea was that she was so beautiful that she needed no cosmetics.

c. Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. . . . Job died, old and full of days: Job’s life ended long and blessed. He was well rewarded as a warrior who won a great battle for God’s glory.

i. According to Adam Clarke, the idea behind full of days is that Job died when he was “satisfied with this life.” “Job is now as willing to die as ever he was to dine; he is satisfied with days, saith the text, not as meat loathed, but as a dish, though well liked, that he had fed his full of.” (Trapp)

ii. “The greatest, the most important purposes were accomplished by this trial. Job became a much better man than he ever was before; the dispensations of God's providence were illustrated and justified; Satan's devices unmasked; patience crowned and rewarded; and the church of God greatly enriched by having bequeathed to it the vast treasury of divine truth which is found in the BOOK OF JOB.” (Clarke)

iii. “In this great Book there is no solution of problems. There is a great revelation. It is that God may call men into fellowship with Himself through suffering; and that the strength of the human soul is ever that of the knowledge of God.” (Morgan)

iv. “We are not all like Job, but we all have Job’s God. Though we have neither risen to Job’s wealth, nor will, probably, ever sink to Job’s poverty, yet there is the same God above us if we be high, and the same God with his everlasting arms beneath us if we be brought low; and what the Lord did for Job he will do for us, not precisely in the same form, but in the same spirit, and with like design.” (Spurgeon)

 

       (Adapted from URL: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/guz/view.cgi?bk=17&ch=42)

 

Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

The final chapter of Job teaches two important lessons, and we must be careful not to allow the second lesson to negate the first one. The first lesson is that we must never think that we fully understand God. Job and friends learned the hard way that it is easy to slip into dangerous speaking patterns in this regard. We can become so comfortable with God that we lose our “reverent distance” from him—distance that results from awe. True, we are in God’s image, but in important ways he is not like us. He is not our personal buddy as some well-meaning Christian songs misrepresent him. This does not mean that we should say nothing about God or fail to speak on his behalf. As readers of Scripture, we are able to echo God’s words in new situations. Yet even as we do so, we exercise caution. Much of what Job’s friends said echoes sentiments that God’s Word itself expresses in Proverbs and elsewhere. A word about God that is appropriate to one situation is not necessarily appropriate to all situations. We therefore exercise discretion. Before pronouncing a “thus says the Lord” in a new situation, we ought to read the Scriptures together and ask God’s Spirit to lead us into an understanding as to whether this or that passage applies in our specific situation. The second lesson is that God is just, and he will ultimately restore the fortunes of his people (James 1:12). God did not leave Job in the ditch. From the beginning, God cared for him. This does not mean, however, that all believers will be restored in this lifetime. Some die in painful misery. We cannot predict when God will or will not restore people in this life, so we must never turn Job’s restoration into a promise for all people as if it always happens in all situations. As one commentator said, God cannot be domesticated.

 

Practical Points from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

1.      It is futile and foolish to challenge God in our ignorance, for He knows all things and can do all things (Job 42:1-2)

2.      We should keep silent on matters that are beyond our understanding and let God speak (vs. 3)

3.      When we grasp who God truly is, we will see ourselves for who we truly are (vss. 4-6)

4.      Those who presume to speak for the Lord are accountable for accurately and fully representing Him (vss. 7-8)

5.      Our faithfulness to the Lord brings God's blessings to both us and others (vss. 9-10)