Job: When Will This End?

Job
by Léon Bonnat (1880)

The story of Job is the story of a man who had it all. He had a great fortune, a nice family, and a solid reputation in his community. Job was also a righteous man whose faith was known to all. But the Accuser believed that Job had a personal interest in serving God.

Satan said that Job served God because God had blessed him in many ways. Satan implied that God was buying Job’s love with the wealth with which Job was blessed. If Job lost everything, the Accuser believed, Job would deny God to his face.

In order to show that Job had a genuine faith, God allowed Satan to touch Job and take away all that he had. With the approval of God, Satan took Job’s wealth, his health, his children, his friends, everything that Job possessed.

Job had three friends who came to console him when they heard about his predicament. These friends debated among themselves and with Job the reason for their friend’s suffering. They believed that Job had done something awful. They called Job a sinner, they said that he was disregarding the Almighty, and that he had oppressed the poor and the needy.

The Vindication of Job

After a long debate between Job and his friends, God appeared to Job in a theophany. From the whirlwind, God spoke to Job and asked him many questions which Job was unable to answer. Job said to God, “My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?” (Job 40:4 NJB). God never told Job the reason for his suffering. By not providing an answer, God was saying to Job, “you must trust me. Even though you do not understand, I love you and I will provide for you.”

Job had confirmed God’s words to Satan. After all that Satan had done to Job, Job proved to be “a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8). Job was vindicated in heaven before Satan and the sons of God.

The Lord blessed Job’s faithfulness by vindicating Job on earth before his friends and before his family. The vindication of Job came as a surprise to Job’s friends. The Lord blamed Job’s three friends for speaking that which was not right or true about him. God also commended Job for speaking what was right concerning him.

The friends, who believed that they were right and Job was wrong, were surprised by what God did. God said to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7). They misunderstood the meaning of Job’s suffering. Their views of Job’s suffering proved to be wrong by the way they were defending the justice of God.

In addition, God said to Eliphaz, “So take seven young bulls and seven rams. Go to my servant Job, and make a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you. Then I will accept his prayer not to treat you as godless fools. After all, you didn’t speak what is right about me as my servant Job has done” (Job 42:8).

The Restoration of Job

“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). The restoration of Job did not occur until after Job had prayed for his friends. Job’s friends had hurt him deeply by their harsh words and by their false accusations. By requiring Job to pray for his friends, God was telling Job that he had to forgive his friends before he could enjoy the forgiveness of God.

The Lord restored Job by giving him twice as much as he had before. Job’s restoration reveals one aspect of God’s character. God’s decision to restore Job reveals that God is a God who loves restoration. God takes broken lives and broken spirits and restores them again. God does not love people’s suffering. When suffering comes, God does not leave the individual to suffer alone; he suffers with them, “I drench you with my tears” (Isaiah 16:9).

The restoration of Job was a sign that God had accepted Job as a righteous man. The restoration of Job included several areas of Job’s life.

First, God restored Job’s faith. In his dialogue with his friends, Job’s words about God reflected the disintegration of Job’s faith. Job believed that God had abandoned him, “Why do you hide your face” (Job 13:24). Job said many things about God that were not true, that God was treating him as an enemy, that God hated him, that God had killed his family. When Job saw God, God rebuked Job for his words, Job repented, and his faith was restored.

To Job, it seems that God was so distant that he could not be found. Job missed his friendship with God. When God revealed himself to Job, Job said, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5). Job had received the knowledge of God by hearsay, but now God’s presence in his life was real. Job knew that God was not a God far away, a distant God who was unaware of his suffering. Rather, Job discovered that God was closer to him than he ever imagined. The theophany was the most powerful experience Job had of his God.

Second, God restored Job’s relationships. Job told his friends “Those I love have turned against me.” His brothers stay away from him. His friends had abandoned him. His relatives and his closest friends stopped coming by his house. Job’s servants refused to attend to his needs. Even his wife was repelled by his condition (Job 19:13–19).

After God restored Job, his brothers and sisters, and all his former friends came to Job and ate with him at his home. The act of eating together reflects a reestablishment of the relationship Job enjoyed with his friends and his family before his illness. Friends and family came to comfort Job about his loss and about his illness. Job’s friends and family helped Job to recover financially. The silver and the gold they brought to Job helped him rebuild his life and restore his life back to normal.

Third, God restored Job’s fortune. God restored Job’s fortune by blessing him with double of what he had before his trial. The doubling of Job’s wealth is a demonstration of God’s grace and an affirmation that Job was a righteous man. “There is a reward for the righteous; there is, indeed, divine justice on earth” (Psalm 58:12).

The Lord replaced all that Job had lost. The Lord doubled everything Job had. In certain situations, God blesses people by increasing what they have. “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double” (Zechariah 9:12).

Fourth, God restored Job’s family by giving him ten children, seven sons and three daughters. The names of Job’s sons are not given, but the biblical writer revealed the name of Job’s daughters. Job’s older daughter was called Jemimah, the second daughter was called Keziah, and the youngest was called Keren-happuch (Job 42:14).

There are two things the biblical writer emphasizes about Job’s daughters. Job’s daughters were very beautiful, “Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters” (Job 42:15). The beauty of Job’s daughters and their names are evidence of God blessing Job after his long suffering. God blessed Job in a way that Job could understand. When his beautiful daughters passed before him, Job saw God in his family.

Job gave an inheritance to his daughters, “their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers” (Job 42:15). In Israel, the sons received the inheritance. Daughters, as in the case of the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1–11), could only receive an inheritance if a man had no sons. Job’s actions indicate that Job was treating his three daughters as equals with his seven sons.

Fifth, God restored Job’s health. Job was so sick that he believed his death was imminent, “I will die in my own house” (Job 29:18). But after God restored Job’s heath, Job lived for another one hundred and forty years. In his old age he was blessed to see his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren, four generations (Job 42:16). Job died of old age, a happy man blessed by the God he served.

Application

On June 26, 2022, my pastor Jeff Griffin, Senior Pastor of The Compass Church, preached a sermon titled “Job: When Will This End?”, a sermon based on the epilogue to the book of Job, Job chapter 42. Many of the ideas and words in the post above are based on Jeff’s sermon.

In his sermon Jeff emphasized that the greatest lesson one learns from the book of Job is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Job suffered much; his faith was on the brink of collapse, but God did not abandon Job.

God restored his faith, God restored Job’s relationship with friends and family, and God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before. The loss of his children was a great tragedy, which brought much pain to Job and his wife, but even here Job was blessed. God blessed Job by giving him ten sons and daughters living in heaven and ten sons and daughters living on earth.

When facing trials and tribulation, people ask, “When Will This End?” When people suffer, not everyone is healed as Job was healed. Many times, death is the ultimate act of healing. Joy and sorrow, life and death, are integral components to our experience as human beings.

The God of the Bible is a God committed to restoration. As Peter said, “He [Jesus] must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Act 3:21).

What God does not restore in this life, he will restore in heaven. Heaven is the ultimate restoration of God’s creation. Suffering will end when we get to heaven, for in heaven God himself will comfort his people. In heaven God will wipe every tear from their eyes. In heaven there will not be any grief, crying, or pain. In heaven there will not be any more death for God will be the life of his people (Revelation 21:3–4).

Video Presentation

The Sermon: “Job: When Will This End?” – A Sermon by Jeff Griffin

For other studies on Job read the post Shattered: Finding Hope in the Book of Job.

Win a Free Copy of my Book Divine Violence and the Character of God.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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This entry was posted in Book of Job, God of the Old Testament, Hebrew God, Job, Suffering and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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