DEPEND ON GOD
DEPEND ON GOD – God honors those who humbly profess dependence on Him.
MEMORY VERSE: JOB 42: 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Reading about something, hearing about it, or watching it on television can never compare to witnessing it in person. Seeing a professional sporting event live gives you a greater appreciation of the skill of the athletes. Visiting a historical location gives you a clear view of the events that took place there. Observing a sunset over an expansive ocean opens your eyes to the true beauty of God’s creation. Second hand information pales to witnessing an event in person. The reality, expanse, and truth of experiencing an event leave a lasting effect. At the end of the Book of Job, Job said that he had heard about God but now he had seen Him. Job had gained a greater understanding of God.
THE CONTEXT (Job 42:1-17)
In this last chapter of Job, the Lord revealed Himself to Job in a personal direct way. Being in the presence of Almighty God humbled Job, Job also showed remorse for his earlier attitude toward God in the light of his suffering. Even though Job had defended himself against his friends’ charges of hidden sin and rightly ascribed his suffering to the providential purposes of God, here he admitted that his earlier understanding of the situation lacked perspective. Job realized that his earlier assumptions regarding his circumstances were based on insufficient knowledge of God’s mysterious will.
From our limited perspective we can’t perceive God’s purpose in many areas. The best way to try to understand circumstances are to line them up against Holy Scripture and ask God for help in going forward. When the suffering is intense, we should keep our faith in God and wait for his leading. He created the universe and mankind. God is unchanging in His perfections and thus can be trusted to act in accordance with His will at all times. He has given enough light for us to live a life of faith and trust in His hand.
In the end, God sovereignly chose not only to vindicate Job before his friends (42:7-9), but also to restore Job to fullness of life and family. Job’s trial was unimaginably painful, but his life ended full of blessing. Knowing that God is Holy and unchanging allows us to trust that in the end, those who put their faith in Him will receive divine vindication through Christ and heavenly blessings beyond imagination. The believer’s ultimate home is in heaven in the presence of God.
There is no substitute for a restored relationship with Almighty God. When people repent of sin and place their faith in Christ, they will be vindicated before God because He will accept them not as they are, but as Christ is. That is God’s way and His plan.
ADMIT (JOB 42:1-6)
42:1 Then Job replied to the LORD:
2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
These verses represent the climax of the dialogue between God and Job. Job’s initial response to God was unsatisfactory and brought about an onslaught of questions from God to put him in his place (40:3-5). Job confessed God’s absolute and uninhibited sovereignty over all things. He exercises His rule with absolute authority. God’s authority means that all His word ought to be submitted to and His commands ought to be obeyed. God can do anything He plans, including permitting an innocent person like Job to suffer. Job had suffered profoundly. Job’s confession did not come easily but through mental toil and emotional anguish. Many times, the most precious truths we hold about God are strengthened from the places of deepest experience.
3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.'
Job admitted he had done just that. He had spoken of things he did not understand, indeed, things too wondrous for him to know. The things Job spoke of concerning God came from a place of insufficient knowledge. God’s will in his circumstances was hidden or obscured. It was only through God’s counter-questioning that Job realized he was pushing the boundaries and reaching beyond his limits. In chapters 38-41, Job was shown to have limited knowledge of the natural world. Therefore, how could Job speak as though he possessed sufficient knowledge of God’s moral universe? There is a great lesson in humility here, namely, that one cannot assume or prescribe meaning to God’s actions with God’s clear revealed purposes in those actions.
5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Job admitted he was operating from secondhand knowledge about God. Job had learned that God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. However, God operates sometimes from a perspective that mankind cannot perceive. There are times when the wicked seem to flourish and the righteous face suffering and trial. Job had gained greater wisdom by seeing God for who He is – the sovereign Lord of the universe and not a divine vending machine of blessings and judgments.
As God revealed Himself to Job, Job’s understanding and wisdom was enlarged. The Psalmist admitted this same idea in Psalm 74 when unrighteousness seemed to be winning.
16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
As we accept the Lord’s control over all things, even suffering, we see Him as God and Lord in a new way.
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
The Book of Job makes it clear that he did not suffer because of a particular sin. However, we do see that he became bitter toward God in his suffering (Chap. 3). Job repented of the bitterness that had grown in his heart toward God, which led to his accusation that God was unjust and had treated him unfairly.
Job shifted his focus from demanding answers (that the Lord never provided) to gaining peace by submitting to the Lord, even though he did not have all the answers to his questions. In the same way, believers can admit their dependence on God for all things in life. This shift in the mind of Job was a gift of grace from God. As always, when God reveals sinful attitudes of the heart (like bitterness) it is always with intent of providing an opportunity to repent.
REPENT (JOB 42:7-9)
7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.
After Job repented of his bitterness and submitted to God, God turned His attention to pronouncing His displeasure with Job’s three friends. God addressed Eliphaz as the representative leader of the group and expressed His anger at them for incorrectly speaking about Him. Their assertion that Job was guilty of sin because he suffered (based on the idea that only sinners suffer) was not true. They needed to repent. The three friends showed no signs of backing down from their assertions, unlike Job, who in the end repented of his bitter heart. Job repented, and now it was time for his three friends to do the same.
8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has."
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.
God chose to show the friends grace in allowing Job to intercede on their behalf by offering sacrifices as a sign of their repentance. The offering of seven bulls and seven rams is a complete number, thus representing their complete repentance. (See Num. 23:1; Ezek 45:23-25).
Job acted as their mediator before God, just as he did for his children in Job 1:5. This is a call for three specific people to repent of specific sins by following specific commands. Sin should never be seen as an abstract principle but as specific attitudes and actions that call for active repentance. In the end, the text indicates that they were restored in their relationship to Job as well as God because they responded as God had directed them.
The lesson here is that there are times when God allows inexplicable suffering in the lives of His saints. Like Job’s friends, we must be careful in our help (even with the best intentions) to not increase their pain. We must be careful not to suggest reasons or meaning for all suffering. We are to comfort, but are not to accuse. We are to weep with those who weep. And of course we are to pray diligently for those hurting. Although God was angry with Job’s friends for their treatment of Job, it was God Himself who took the initiative to restore them. By making them depend on Job for their restoration, God showed them their theology of earning God’s favor through their own righteous acts was not what He wanted. They could not come to God through their own power but only through the prayer of another. We see here that Job precedes a greater intercessor who pleaded on behalf of His torturers. All of these things point to the grace of God in restoring sinners to Himself despite their unworthiness. Job points us to Jesus, who on the cross prayed for the forgiveness of these who would torture and execute Him (Luke 23:34). Just as God accepted Job’s prayer and reconciled the men to Himself and to Job, God accepts Christ’s work on our behalf to reconcile us to Himself and one another.
Why did Jesus, our redeemer, have to suffer crucifixion? Only God knows fully why! Suffering is no respecter of persons. It happens to everyone. If anyone ever doubts the love of God, they should look at the cross of Jesus. Greater is no love than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends.
RESTORED (JOB 42:10-11)
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.
11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
At the close of this book, we are told how God restored Job’s life and fortunes. The wicked can experience relative peace and blessings in this life, but a time is coming when a just and righteous judgment will be carried out.
We must not try to put God in a box. God is outside the restrictions of time and circumstances. Our perceptions of reality and truth are at times lacking with misunderstanding. Job’s life was restored and his possessions doubled. What a wonderful ending to a painful and troubled life. In the end, Job died an old and happy man, leaving behind a large, prosperous family and beloved friends.
There is a reward beyond our imagination for every righteous person in the age to come. Regardless if we suffer little or suffer deeply, prosperity and pleasantness await those who are found righteous in Christ. What God has in store for His redeemed people will far outweigh any losses experienced in this life. In the new heaven and new earth, God’s people will receive an eternal reward that is unimaginable.
In Jesus Christ, we are treated better than we deserve. Christ took upon Himself what we deserve so that we could experience the eternal joy that only He provides.