All know what is required for graduation: time spent in school, pass the finals, show up for ceremony and get diploma. No question, Job had done his time in school of suffering. Lead teacher had come by for some final instruction. Graduation is in sight, not quite there yet. Have been intermediate tests and quizzes along the way for Job. The biggest test to date – the one that came from Satan: would losing everything but his life (and expecting to lose that) incite Job to curse God?
But Job still must pass his final exam in order to receive his diploma, the equivalent of God’s “well done”. As we go down through the questions God expected Job to answer, pencil in your own responses: if this were your final exam, how well would you do on the test?
There are three basic (short essay) questions: what about God? what about forgiveness? what about the future?
A. what about God? v.1-6
God finished speaking to Job, made it clear he expected response – Job, do you still think the same way as you did at the beginning? if not, what changed?
remember, God didn’t answer Job’s questions: why did this happen? what did I do to deserve this? how can this be just? why won’t you answer me?
all God did was ask whole bunch of questions (77 of them), mostly ones that at first glance didn’t seem to apply
yet Job got the point God was making to him, was profoundly changed by his encounter with God of the whirlwind
Job’s response – here’s what I know; here’s what I said; here’s what I experienced; here’s how I’ve changed
what Job had known from the beginning: God is omnipotent Sovereign over all things – never seriously questioned God’s power, his ability to achieve his purpose (2)
after all – this is God who caused Sarah and Hannah and Elisabeth and virgin Mary to do what man considered impossible
what Job had said: much that was right – see verse 7!
problem was not so much that Job had said what was wrong – had spoken beyond his ability to comprehend (3)
like driving after dark: can have pretty high level of confidence in what you see as far as headlights reach, beyond that not so much; Job had gone way past the headlights
what Job had experienced: much about God, had heard much from others about God and his nature and his actions (5)
almost certainly lived before Moses, lifespan of approx. 200 years, means he had no written word from God – what he had was oral tradition, passed along from generation to next
now…chapters 38-41…has experienced God himself – heard the voice of God, felt the presence of God, not just with his senses but also with his very soul – Job has seen the unseen
how Job changed: could not find words to express difference between knowing about God and knowing God but it radically changed him (6)
whole view of God and world and himself changed – thought he was ok to start, then he experienced God
note: if you want someone (including yourself) to see their true colors, show them God in all his beauty and majesty
“Job has lost all, but he has found God and is content. Even without the knowledge of God’s love that comes from Golgotha, he found Him more than sufficent.” Ellison
Is God sufficient? Or…will you be taken in by siren song playing in every store and media outlet – without their wares, it won’t be Christmas and you’ll live a second-rate life
Is the love of Christ that flowed from Calvary adequate compensation for bearing his cross? Do you need some additional payback – Christmas bonus, praise of men, extra line in your epitaph – to make Christian life worth living
B. what about forgiveness? v.7-10
Job figured out he had spoken beyond his knowledge, how about Eliphaz and companions? they were totally clueless, accused Job anyway – God doesn’t go there
no mention made of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu’s unjust treatment of Job; God’s focus on the wrong they did toward Him! (7)
“The force of 42:7 is that however foolishly he may have said it, Job was looking for a God big enough to comprehend his experience. On the other hand, however wisely they may have put it into words, his friends were upholding a God small enough to conform to their theories.” Ellison
first thing the friends needed to learn: same thing Job did, the greatness and glory of God – they needed to know just how far short of reality their views of God were
totally (for them) mind-blowing expectation God had for them – the one they thought God had rejected would be their mediator (8)
they had to take their sacrifices to Job, he would act as their priest, their mediator – “My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly”
Job had prayed for a mediator, someone to stand between him and God with hand on both; now he was expected to do that for his friends
sound familiar? Isa. 53:4-5 “…we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed.”
how could Job pull that one off? where would he find strength and grace for that task?
“He might well have thanked God that they had treated him as they did, for had he known their comfort and care in his adversity, he might never have been thrown back on God and so have learnt to know Him in this new way.” Ellison
Job experienced God in the whirlwind, experienced forgiveness in the silence afterward – wasn’t the thunder of God’s wrath that Job heard, was the tender quietness of forgiveness and reconciliation
friends did as God required – got their sacrificial animals, ate their humble pie, went to Job and probably sought his forgiveness first (9)
absence of humility on their part toward both Job and God would have rendered their sacrifice ineffectual
their future hung in the balance – would Job pray for them or not? would he forgive them first so his intercession would be sincere?
indeed, he did – evident by God’s restoration of Job’s losses; God does not reward half-hearted obedience
Does God’s forgiveness granted to us through Christ have sufficient meaning and relevance that we will forgive others? Do you really grasp how much you have been forgiven? The price of your forgiveness and mine was the very life of the Son of God; the one who came as babe in manger for sole purpose of going to Calvary. If you really get that, how can you be unforgiving?
C. what about the future? v.11-17
at lowest point, when Job thought life about over and had nothing else to cling to, declared Job 19:26”…after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God”
absolutely convinced there had to be more to full scope of human existence than just this life; if not, why bother?
Job knew some things about what he had lost: his portfolio was only for this life – the Lord gives, the Lord takes away
even his health only temporary – would eventually die and body experience decay; btw, same true about his suffering
certainly a wonderful blessing (12) that God graciously granted to Job – could have simply replaced what he took away!
Job didn’t ask for it, didn’t expect it from God; Job was definitely thankful for God’s blessing
God had already made clear he was not Job’s enemy – he talked with Job; restoration of prosperity made that fact clear to everyone
notice God doubled his portfolio – sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys – but not his children; or…did he? (13)
“In the hour of Job’s greatest desperation he had been driven to the hope of life beyond the grave. Now God says Amen to it. …by giving him only ten new children God assured him that he would yet meet those he had lost beyond the grave.” Ellison
important to note that restoration of prosperity and family to Job was a process, for which Job’s wife mighty thankful!
also important: the way God restored Job showed great value God places on human life – replaced the animals Job lost…and gave equal additional amount; did not do so with children
each of Job’s 20 children unique and valuable in God’s eyes, apparently Job viewed them in same way
as important as Job’s family was to him, something else had far greater priority and significance
Job confident he would see first 10 children again, but thought of that wasn’t what kept him going
Job 19:26-27”And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
Job’s yearning was for moment he would see God, his Redeemer; being reunited with family, that’s great, that’s wonderful, he’ll get back to you – God is one he intends to see first
Is the promise of our eternal inheritance in Christ great enough that we will deny self, take up our cross, and follow Christ?
knowing about God is good; knowing God is better; experiencing God is best it gets here – his Spirit speaks to our spirit, we live conscious of his immediate presence
but there’s another level – seeing God, face to face, in all his exalted glory – the one who took on flesh, pitched his tent among us
King of kings and Lord of lords became a servant that he might stand between sinful man and holy God with a hand on each, drawing them together
So…how did you do? What about God – is he sufficient for you? What about forgiveness – do you forgive as you have been forgiven? And what about the future – do you long for that moment when you see your Savior face to face? If your reply is like that of Job, affirming “Yes” to all three questions, then deny your self, take up your cross, and follow Christ.