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Job 42 – What was I thinking?

When I was younger, I often did things that were stupid. While attending a semi-pro baseball game with a friend and his dad, I blurted out a curse word to make people laugh. I did this in front of my friend’s dad. What was I thinking? I cringe as I recall that moment. But now that I am a Christian, I don’t do things like that, right? Well… my control of my language has improved over the years, but I am sure that there are still times when I can ask myself the same question. What was I thinking?

As we look at the last chapter in the Book of Job, we will see that God has finished speaking. It is now time for Job to respond to all that God had told him. I have no doubt that Job was quite humbled by God’s response to him. His response can be summed up with the question we began with: “What was I thinking?”

  1. Job’s repentance (42:1-6)

    God used many questions to show Job how little he really knew. The more God spoke, the less Job realized he knew compared to God. When God was finished, Job finally responded with great humility.

    I admit that You can do anything (2).

    After being reminded of God’s control over creation and being offered the opportunity to take over as God, Job realized that He and God were on totally different levels. He realized that God was in complete control and was the best One to be in control. Job finally submitted to God’s sovereignty.

    I spoke without thinking (3).

    God had asked who it was that was hiding counsel without knowledge. In other words, He was asking why Job was speaking without full knowledge of the situation. Job admitted that he had spoken about things he didn’t know or understand.

    Think about that for a moment. Do you understand what God is specifically doing in your life? Do you know why he allows things to happen to you both bad and good? Do you know how the events of your life tie into the lives of others around you? The answer should be clear. We don’t know.

    I repent of my speech (4-6).

    God had told Job to answer His questions. But Job was not willing to answer God anymore. God’s questions had revealed how little Job knew about anything—including what God was doing during Job’s suffering. His final response was to despise himself and repent of his attitude and speech. God had finally brought Job to where he needed to be.

    Repentance is often looked at in a wrong way. We sometimes think that repentance is a difficult task which will lead to a sterile life without any joy. But that is not the case. When we repent of our sin, we line up our mind and our will with God. When we come to the place that we are right with God, the struggle against God disappears and is replaced with His peace. At that moment, we realize what we had been missing all along.

  2. God’s rebuke (42:7-9)

    Having finished with Job, the Lord turned to Eliphaz and his friends. He rebuked them for what they had said to Job. But He also gave them the opportunity to be restored in their relationship with the Lord.

    God was angry with Eliphaz and his friends (7).

    God’s response toward Job’s three friends is interesting. God was actually angry with them because of their speeches to Job. He made it clear that they had not spoken correctly about God. He also said that Job had spoken what was right. (I would suggest that this covers most of Job’s speeches but not the ones in which he questioned God’s justice.)

    I think that God’s response to the three friends ought to bring us to a teachable moment. Like those three, we need to be careful what we say when talking about God. It is easy for many of us to argue and to put people in their place, but we need to be careful that we don’t misrepresent God in the process. Let’s be extra careful when speaking for God so that we don’t cause Him to be angry with us.

    God offered them restoration (8).

    Thankfully, God’s anger doesn’t endure forever for His children. Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad were believers and God cared for them. Despite their wrong speech, God gave them an opportunity to be restored by offering a burnt offering and asking Job to pray for them. But if they were unwilling, He would deal with them in judgment.

    They did what God told them (9).

    The three friends responded properly to God’s rebuke. They did as He had commanded and asked Job to pray for them. What must that have been like? In many situations, it is difficult to admit that you were wrong. But in this case, both Job and his friends had heard directly from God and were all in the right frame of mind to repent and seek the Lord.

    Rebuke is often looked at in a wrong way. We sometimes think that rebuke is a beat down by God or from people near us. But that is not the case. When we are rebuked, we are being shown our sin and are given the opportunity to repent and be restored. As with repentance, rebuke leads us back to where we should have been. At that moment, we realize what we had been missing all along.

  3. God’s blessings (42:10-17)

    The final section of the chapter shows us the blessings God poured out on Job and his family after this terrible ordeal. God’s blessings included prosperity, a restored family, and a long life.

    Job’s losses were restored (10).

    Job had lost everything during this terrible calamity. He had lost his wealth, his children, and his health. But in the end, God restored all of this to him. God blessed him by doubling his wealth. If you compare the amount of cattle he had at the beginning to those at the end, you will see that there were exactly double.

    Look at the beginning of verse 10. Did you notice that the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his three friends? That seems to be instructive as well. God wanted Job to repent of his wrong thinking but to also have a right relationship with his friends.

    Job’s family comforted him (11).

    At some point after his restoration, Job’s family and friends visited him and comforted him. They ate with him and talked with him in such a way that he was comforted after all that he had faced. Family and friends are often just what we need during trials.

    The Bible doesn’t tell us why the friends and family showed up after Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad, but they did show up and were appreciated. They also gave him money to help him get back on his feet.

    Job’s future was blessed (12-17).

    The final part of the story reveals that Job’s later life was better than at the beginning. God blessed him with more wealth, more children, and more years of life. His three later daughters are named and noted as more beautiful than any in the land. Finally, Job lived another 140 years and was able to see four generations of descendants after his calamity.

    Trials are often looked at in a wrong way. We sometimes think that trials will last forever and that we will never be happy again. But that is not the case. God often uses trials to make us stronger, to increase our faith, and to prepare us for His perfect will for our lives. But none of this makes sense during the trials unless we have a right attitude toward God.

Conclusion

As we conclude our study of the Book of Job, I don’t want us to take an overly simplistic view of the book. We can’t walk away from our study and think that everything will always be rosy as long as we endure it. God doesn’t promise to always bless His children like He did Job. Instead, let’s learn the same lesson that Job did. God is in control. He knows what He is doing and won’t always explain Himself. We are not in control and need to trust Him. When we let God be in charge, we will find the peace that only He can give during life’s trials.