Job 42

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 10, 2003

Job 42 Job is Restored

We’ve seen Job go through the most difficult time that anyone had ever gone through.  He lost all his possessions, his children all died, and he became deathly ill.

His friends showed up to comfort him.  Perhaps they thought that they would end Job’s suffering with their words of wisdom.  Yet instead of helping Job, they only made things worse as they accused Job of all sorts of hidden sins.

Finally God showed up and spoke.  Instead of answering Job’s questions about why he was going through such difficulty, God simply reminded Job about how incredibly powerful and wise God was.  And now it’s time for the trial to be over.

:2 I know that thou canst do every thing

Job realizes that he needs to stop complaining and yield to God’s sovereignty.

:3-4 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?

Earlier, God had asked these questions to Job (38:2-3), and now Job repeats the questions and is saying that he has been way out of line.

:5 …now mine eye seeth thee.

Job is no longer a person who has just heard about God.  Now he knows God.

Lesson

Knowing God

God doesn’t just want you to know about Him.  He wants you to know Him.
Suppose I was George W. Bush’s best friend and I told you that I wanted to introduce you to the president.  I wouldn’t just give you newspaper articles to read about Mr. Bush, I’d take you to him and introduce you to him face to face.
Some of you may still think that just learning about Jesus is what Christianity is all about.  It’s not.
Christianity is not just about doing “religious” stuff.  It is not about a list of “do’s and don’ts”.  Christianity is about knowing God.  It’s about knowing God through His Son Jesus Christ.
The Bible says that our sins have kept us from knowing God, and that Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins so that we can now come to know God.  Jesus said,
(Rev 3:20 KJV)  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
God wants you to know Him.  Some of you may need to take the very first step today of opening your heart to Jesus.

Lesson

Knowing God better through trials

God never answered the questions that Job was asking, those “why” questions. Job didn’t need answers, he needed more of God.  He found more of God through the tough times he experienced.
We get to know God better through the humility that comes in our trials.
There is a built in humiliation that comes with trials.  It’s not the coolest thing in the world to have the world watch as your life falls apart.
Some people allow their hearts to grow harder through tough times, but in Job’s life, his pride fell apart and he humbled himself.
God draws near to hearts that are humble.

(1 Pet 5:5c KJV)  for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Last night, the band Kutless sang a song called, “Take my pride away”.  That’s what trials do.  Part of what Job complained about was how he found himself ridiculed by people who ought to respect him (Job 30).  Humiliation.
We get to know God better through the process of suffering itself.
(Phil 3:7-10 KJV)  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. {8} Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, {9} And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: {10} That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Paul didn’t want anything to keep him from knowing Jesus more closely.  He found that part of knowing the Lord better involved the “fellowship of his sufferings”.  Jesus is close to those who are going through trials.  We find we know Him better when we endure suffering.  Jesus suffered and when we learn how to endure suffering, we’re beginning to understand the heart of Jesus.

Illustration
Gordon MacDonald in his book “The Life God Blesses,” tells about a Chinese pastor who spoke at a conference in England.  This pastor had spent eighteen years in prison for his faith.  He recalled for the audience his prison experience:  “My friends wonder what kind of work I did in the labor camp to keep me physically healthy.  I answered them that life in the labor camp was very, very hard.  The authorities in the camp put me to emptying the human waste cesspool.  Most of the prisoners were afraid to approach the cesspool, but the authorities were aware of my background—I was well-educated, from a well-to-do family—and especially because they were atheists and they knew I was Christian leader.  So they enjoyed putting me to work in the human waste cesspool.  But they did not know in those years how I enjoyed working there.  It was more than two meters in depth and two meters in length, filled with human waste collected from the entire camp.  Once it was full, the human waste was kept until it was ripe and then dug out and sent to the field as fertilizer.  Because the pit was so deep, I could not reach the bottom to empty it, so I had to walk into the disease-ridden mass and scoop out the successive layers of human waste, all the time breathing the strong stench.  The guards and all the prisoners kept a long way off because of the stench.  So why did I enjoy working in the cesspool?  I enjoyed the solitude.  In the labor camp all the prisoners normally were under strict surveillance and no one could be alone.  But when I worked in the cesspool, I could be alone and could pray to our Lord as loudly as I needed.  I could recite the Scriptures including all the Psalms I still remembered and no one was close enough to protest.  That’s the reason I enjoyed working in the cesspool.  Also, I could sing loudly the hymns I still remembered.  In those days one of my most favorite was ‘In the Garden.’ Before I was arrested this was my favorite hymn, but at that time I did not realize the real meaning of this hymn.  When I worked in the cesspool, I knew and discovered a wonderful fellowship with our Lord.  Again and again I sang this hymn and felt our Lord’s presence with me.  ‘I come to the garden alone/While the dew is still on the roses;  And the voice I hear falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses.  And he walks with me, and he talks with me, And he tells me I am his own, And the joy we share as we tarry there None other has ever known.’  “Again and again as I sang this hymn in the cesspool, I experienced the Lord’s presence.  He never left me or forsook me.  And so I survived and the cesspool became my private garden.” 
Most of us haven’t been through difficulties like that, but we do find ourselves in our own little cesspools.  This brother learned to love his cesspool.  It’s where he found himself getting closer to the Lord.  We know Him better through trials.

:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Keep in mind that God considered Job a righteous man.  Job isn’t admitting to the kinds of sins that his friends had been accusing him of. But Job is realizing that he has had problems in other areas of his life.  I believe that Job is repenting from pride.  I believe Job is repenting from his questioning of God’s judgment.

:10 the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed

God restores all that Job has lost, and even doubles it.

Lesson

Praying for your “comforters”

This is a key step for Job that turns things around in his life.
Pray for the people that bug you.
Don’t pray for God to wipe them out. Pray for them the way that you would want them to pray for you. Jesus said,
(Mat 5:44 KJV)  Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
This may not be the magic bullet that ends your trial, but I have a feeling that your trial won’t be truly over until you learn to pray for your enemies.

Lesson

How to end my trial

Be careful about looking for a formula to have your trial be over.  Be careful of thinking, “Well if I just do this one thing, then everything will magically be changed!”
Job’s trial was over when God said it was over.  Don’t forget that we had to endure those 35 chapters of arguments with Job’s friends.
If you set your hopes on finding the magic formula to end trials, you are going to be disappointed.
(Prov 13:12 KJV)  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Lesson

God will restore

God promised Israel:
(Joel 2:25 KJV)  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten

He promised to pay them back for all years of trials.

God will give us back much more than we’ve lost.
(Mark 10:29-30 KJV)  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, {30} But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Sometimes the restoration happens in this life.  Sometimes it will happen in heaven.

God will restore
(2 Cor 4:16-18 KJV)  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. {17} For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; {18} While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Sometimes the “payback” is through internal things, when the “inward man” is renewed.

Sometimes the “payback” is going to be in the eternal weight of glory that we’ll experience when we get to heaven.

Whether it’s now or later, God ALWAYS gives us more than we’ve given up.

:11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters …

Where were these people earlier? It seems that the gifts these folks bring form the basis for the restoration of Job’s fortune.

:12 for he had fourteen thousand sheep …

This is exactly twice as much as he had before (Job 1:3).

:13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.

He had lost seven sons and three daughters when the disasters struck him (Job 1:2,18-19).

Why didn’t Job have twenty more children?  Because he still has the other ten, they are just in heaven.  Now he has twice as many children.

:14 Jemima …Kezia … Kerenhappuch.

Jemima[email protected] – “day by day”, or, “handsome as the day”, or, “dove”; after she became an aunt, she became known as a great cook and was particularly famous for her pancakes J

Kezia[email protected]‘ah – she was named for a cinnamon-like spice, “cassia”

KerenhappuchQeren Hap-puwk – “horn of antimony”, or, “flask of color”. Antimony is a substance that was used by the ancients like makeup similar to mascara.

:16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years

It’s safe to say Job must have lived to be somewhere around 200 years old.

:17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

You see similar phrases being used to describe the death of others:

It’s used of Abraham, who lived to be 175 years old (Gen. 25:8).  It’s used of his son Isaac (Gen. 35:29) who died at the age of 180.  It’s also used of King David (1Chr. 29:28) who lived to be about 70 years old.

This phrase doesn’t as much mean length of life as much as it does quality of life and fulfilled purposes in life.

Lesson

Live a full life

Moses wrote,
(Psa 90:10-12 KJV)  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. {11} Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. {12} So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Moses is telling us that we only have so long to live on earth.  Some have suggested that this “seventy” or “eighty” year thing might indicate that there are things we can do to keep from shortening our life span.  If a person has “strength”, they might keep from shortening their lifespan.  Some have suggested that we can see this in modern medicine where we are learning about things to better our health, like exercising, watching our weight, cholesterol, and so on.  But the question comes, “why bother?”
When it comes to length of life, I’ve seen people fall into various categories.
1. There are people who don’t know the Lord – and they’re absolutely terrified of dying.  They should be.  Some respond by watching their health, others quit trying and throw caution to the wind.
2. There are Christians who ought to know better, and they are terrified of dying and they too are careful about their health, but only because they’re afraid of dying.
3. There are Christians who have come to understand the truth that death for the believer is sweet.  “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15).  To be absent from our body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor. 5:8).  But sometimes when the pressures and hurts of this life overwhelm us, we can find ourselves looking a little too much for death.  We can find ourselves saying, “I can hardly wait until I die”.  I’m not sure this is where the Lord wants us to be.
4.  There’s another attitude.  There is a reason why the Lord has left us on this side of heaven after having come to know Him.

He has a work for us to do.  A great deal of that work involves bringing people into the kingdom of God.  The work isn’t finished yet.

Illustration

Have you ever been involved in something where you had a hard time tearing yourself away from the task even though you were starting to run late for your next appointment?

Some kids (and their dads) have such a great time playing video games that it’s hard to get them to break away and come to the dinner table.

I have a wife that works so hard and is constantly trying to squeeze more and more things into each minute that sometimes she may be a few minutes late to an appointment.  But in being late she’s accomplished five times more things than I did in the same period of time.

I wonder if we ought to think about having that same kind of attitude towards life.  I wonder if rather than wishing we were in heaven, we might have the attitude of, “Lord would you mind if I was a little late coming home so I could do a few more things down here?”  We’re only going to get one shot of doing things on earth for the Lord, we might as well go for as much as we can.

Paul had this kind of attitude:

(Phil 1:23-25 NLT)  I'm torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, {24} but it is better for you that I live. {25} I am convinced of this, so I will continue with you so that you will grow and experience the joy of your faith.

I think we ought to consider making a push at getting that extra ten years on life by taking care of our health, not because we’re afraid to die and not because we want to spend a few extra years lying on the beach in Tahiti.

I want to say with Paul that I’ve “finished my race”.  I want to hear Jesus say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

If I have to be a little late in going to heaven to do it, it will be well worth it.