IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS
Job and Joseph
From Part 2d, each of Job’s friends agree that his suffering is because of his own sin and that he is making things worse by not going to God in repentance. Their consolation turned into condemnation as Job rejected their reasoning and demanded a hearing with God. I know there are many who have sat before elders receiving their share of condemning consultation. The pain that follows is discouraging and depressing, similar to what Job received.
Finally, after three rounds of discussion, Jobs three friends finally fall silent. This now gives Elihu, younger and more wise and gentle in his counsel, an opportunity to speak. Elihu introduces a new viewpoint to Job’s suffering. Elihu suggests that Job was not suffering because of sin, but that he was sinning because of his suffering. He recognizes how Job’s attitude has become arrogant and prideful as he begins to defend his innocence and he urges Job to change his perspective.
Elihu claims that suffering is meant to correct, purify, and restore us. Job 33:17 says:
“to turn a man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride,” And continues in v. 29, ”God does all these things to a man–… to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.” (Job 33:17, 29-30)
Elihu goes on to claim that God does not sin and is never unjust. (Job 35:10-15) He also states that those who suffer He delivers (Job 36:15) and then says in verse 26:
“How great is God- beyond our understanding!…”
All that Elihu said sets up God’s reply to Job. At last, God begins to speak out of a mighty storm; He does not answer any of Job’s questions. Instead God reveals Job’s ignorance and lack of understanding of who God is; all-wise and all-powerful. He reveals to Job, through His creation, how no one can possibly understand His incredibly great mind and character; His high moral purposes. Through many questions, God was not seeking answers from Job, but getting him to recognize and submit to His power and sovereignty. (Job chapters 38-39)
Humbled and speechless as Job is confronted with God’s great power and majesty, he responds:
“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer…” (Job 40:4-5)
Finally, in the last chapter, Job repents for his attitude in questioning God’s sovereignty and providence; His perfect will and justice. (Job 42:1-6) Job comes to realize that no matter what, when nothing else is left and everyone has turned against him; he still had God and GOD IS ENOUGH!
After receiving much criticism, Job is still able to pray for his friends as God rebukes them. He has Job offer sacrifices for his friends for forgiveness of their sins and restores Job.
Not only did he restore Job, but he actually gave him a double portion. Job 42:12 says “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more then the first…” God didn’t restore him by bringing back his children he had lost, but by blessing him with more children. His double portion is found in heaven when he will be reunited with all of his children. His earthly double portion was found in his livestock where God blessed him with twice as much as he had before.
In all of Job’s story, God received the glory. In Part 2f we will discover, “Why?”