Today’s reading: Job 40-42.
Prosperity is a painted window which shuts out much of the clear light of God and only when the blue and the crimson and the golden tinge are removed is the glass restored to its full transparency. Adversity thus takes away tinge and color and dimness and we see our God far better than before—if our eyes are prepared for the light. The Lord had taken everything away from Job, and this paved the way to His giving him more of Himself. In the absence of other goods the good God is the better seen. In prosperity God is heard and that is a blessing. But in adversity God is seen and that is a greater blessing. Charles Spurgeon, Job Among the Ashes
Job’s suffering led him to the presence of God, and when he saw God he said, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” We know that Job’s suffering wasn’t due to any sin he had committed, so Job must be repenting of something he said or did while crying out for God to appear. God said to Job, “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?” Spurgeon says that Job was repenting for the following:
- cursing the day he was born
- wishing to die
- complaining about God
- darkening wisdom by words without knowledge; that is, saying things that were beyond his ability to know
Whatever his sin, God forgave him. He condemned Job’s friends for their foolish words. He commanded them to make a sacrificial offering, and he asked Job to pray for his friends. Then something wonderful happened. I think the King James version captures it best.
And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning… Job 42:10-12
The LORD turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends. God forgave Job when he repented. He restored Job when he prayed for his friends. All that he had lost – family, friends, fellowship, health, home, and happiness – came back to him. In addition, he now possessed a vision of God that he never had before, a vision of his presence in the midst of pain as well as prosperity.
“The greatest, the most important purposes were accomplished by this trial. Job became a much better man than he ever was before; the dispensations of God’s providence were illustrated and justified; Satan’s devices unmasked; patience crowned and rewarded; and the church of God greatly enriched by having bequeathed to it the vast treasury of divine truth which is found in the Book of Job.” Adam Clarke
“We are not all like Job, but we all have Job’s God. Though we have neither risen to Job’s wealth, nor will, probably, ever sink to Job’s poverty, yet there is the same God above us if we be high, and the same God with his everlasting arms beneath us if we be brought low; and what the Lord did for Job he will do for us, not precisely in the same form, but in the same spirit, and with like design.” Charles Spurgeon
Image by reway2007 on Flickr, CC by-nc-sa 2.0