Job – How the Story Ends – Part 2

Now we get to the ending we all remember – Job’s friends are chastised, and he is blessed.

First, God is angry: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right as my servant Job has.” Whereas they were trying to get Job to “fix it,” God wanted relationship.

But God also gave them a way out as he always gives us a way out: “Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly.”

Their way out included a hefty fine as I’m sure those bulls and rams were not cheap. It was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice God would make in shedding the blood of his son. And it also included Job forgiving them, praying for them. It must have been humbling for them to go him and ask him to pray, admiting Job was right.

But I’m left wondering…what happened to Elihu, the youngster who came out of nowhere to deliver the last speech? He’s not mentioned. Impatient, maybe he didn’t stay around to hear from God. Maybe God had another plan to deal with him? We don’t know…

But then we get to the good part: “the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave job twice as much as he had before. “ Family came around him and ate with him, showed him sympathy and comforted him, giving him money and rings of gold. 

“God blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning.” His flocks and herds increased, he had sons and daughters (his wife is not mentioned, but I assume she was a part of this). I’m sure the pain of loosing his first batch of sons and daughters never totally went away, but he had a new hope of legacy.

And just a side note, verse 15 is interesting, “And their father gave them (his daughters) an inheritance among their brothers.” This seems to be an extension of Job’s blessing as Job broke tradition and spread his blessing among his children.

“And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”

Whew, we made it to the end! I’m sure Job was “full” in so many ways. Full of memories, full of lessons learned, full of relationships, full of thankfulness, full of most everything! Most of all, God filled him with a relationship to himself. Job completed his purpose on earth, to be a model to us during unjust suffering, demonstrating to us how to view God’s blessings versus a relationship with him.

Thank you, Job.  

Job – God’s Response


Poor Job. We just saw him trounced upon once more by a lad half his age (my uneducated guess). Job is out of words, and probably out of will. Dejected, he sits by the side of the road, suffering physically, mentally, emotionally distant from all he loved and lost, feeling far from God…

 Then God answers in a whirlwind!

First, the whirlwind. God could have come in any number of ways, as even rocks cry out his glory. But after all the “hot air” used to rebuke Job, God decided to out “wind” them all. He made his presence undeniable, his power unquestionable. 

And then the voice. What did it sound like? Imagine sitting there with Job through all those boring days of heat, nights of cold, and then lectures ending in silence — only to experience a mini-tornado — with a voice, the very voice of God!

And God addresses Job, not his friends. He speaks directly, asking questions of his own. He focuses on “Who am I?” as well as “Who are you?” Different than Job’s friends who made the case of who God is in order to bring Job to repentance, God uses it to show the differences in their relationship. It’s not about what we do or don’t do, or even the specifics of sin. 

It’s all about relationship.

It’s about the trust and faith we can have in a God who is all powerful AND all loving. Even when things are hard, and we suffer, can we trust in him?

And God does not owe us blessings —

Who then is he who can stand before me?
Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

Just as salvation is unjust in that we don’t deserve it, suffering may also be unjust. We have done nothing to deserve salvation. We may have done nothing to deserve suffering.

This goes against so much of what we, like Job and his friends, so falsely believe. It’s the focus of the book of Job. It’s not about worshipping blessing and refuting suffering – it’s about making God what we worship. It’s not about what we earn, good or bad. It’s about understanding our relationship with God and his grace, and placing our trust/faith in him.

God does not owe us anything.

It’s purely by his grace we can be saved.

Job – The Final Round

We’re finally to the final round of arguments – aren’t you glad? I know I am…part of the reason I find it hard to stay connected when reading Job is because of all the back and forth. I’ve never liked arguing, being in arguments or hearing arguments – just ask my children!

Elipaz takes his turn again, and for the sake of his friend begs, “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.” He tries to reason with Job to just have the suffering over. But Job cannot compromise his integrity to confess sin he’s not aware of.

Job comes by back with an emotional appeal still claiming innocence, “what he desires, he does.” We don’t understand why God desires or allows suffering in our lives, but he does. 

Bildad takes his turn to make a short speech, as if he’s out of words, reminding Job, “how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!” I don’t think the name-calling helped the conversation…

Which is reflected in Job’s response beginning with several exclamations of how unhelpful his friends are! He continues to defend his integrity saying, “till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.”

Job continues to look for wisdom and understanding. In his final appeal in chapter 31, he goes into a series (16) of “if” statements, affirming that he knows there is cause and effect of which he is not aware. If he knew what he had done wrong, he is more than willing to confess.

Then, “the words of Job are ended.”

All the fight is gone; all the words said; Job has nothing left. It’s as if he is willing to go to the grave not knowing.

Know the feeling? At times, I have given up knowing why only to figure it out later. And there are some things I’m sure I will only understand on the other side. There is time to give up, to give in to God and be at peace that he is God. All his character is true, the power, the mercy, the love, etc. but at this point in time, he is not answering for a reason only known to him.

It’s hard to not understand why. Just like Adam and Eve, we want to be like God, to have him share his wisdom with us. But there is a point where he leaves us just trusting in him without understanding…

It’s called, “faith.”

Job – The Tag Team Begins

As Job argues back, it’s almost as if he hasn’t heard a word Elipaz said.  He is so filled with his own pain; he says that same things over and over, shooting questions like a machine gun. 

Which, by the way, is not an unusual response when dealing with pain. If you are a friend trying to comfort someone, don’t be surprised if your good intentions are rebuffed. It’s as if the pain is so loud, it’s hard to hear.

Job goes back to his old arguments – that he has been blameless and yet God is not blessing. He can’t understand it. As he sums it up, 

Is there any injustice on my tongue?
Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?

In suffering, there are more questions than answers. It’s beyond us to understand the “why?” which leaves us physically and mentally exhausted, which leaves us open to despair, even pushing away those who love us, and the God who loves us.

I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are a breath..

So Bildad picks up where his friend Elipaz was rebuffed, taking a slightly less humble approach:

How long will you say these things, 
and the words of your mouth be a great wind?

And Bildad starts with the “ifs” of life:

If your children…If you will seek…If you are pure and upright…

Job replies, as if he hears better now the truth that is in the midst of the questions. 

Truly I know that it is so…I must appeal for mercy…
He is not a man, as I am…
You have granted me life and steadfast love, 
And your care has preserved my spirit. 

So, in light of a softening of Job’s heart, Zophar joins in the conversation – and the tag team has officially begun!

Job – Job Speaks

Job’s friends take a lot of flack from critics, but I want to give credit where credit is due. They did sit in silence with him for 7 days. And even then, they didn’t jump the gun in conversation but waited until Job wanted to talk. What restraint!

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

Remember before this time, Job had developed a lifestyle of being “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” He also, “did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

But what he did do was regret he had ever been born, to experience such suffering. He wondered about the purpose of his life, so that he could find purpose in the suffering.

Poor Job, he didn’t have the full picture. He’s living in the here and now, just as we are. There is purpose in suffering, even if we cannot see it. There is something going on in the background we are totally unaware of. It could be that others are watching, learning what “blameless and upright” looks like. It could be our time has not come, not for us or others, and we linger, using the strength we do have to allow ourselves to be used as a “living sacrifice.” It could be there is drama in heaven between Satan and God of which we are unaware. 

But we can assume we do not have the full picture.

The fact was, as much as Job regretted it, he was born. He was blessed. Those blessings were taken away. God had something in mind Job could not comprehend.

I think of so many I know who are in a season of suffering. There are so many questions, and even the desire to have life completed through death. We want to understand what is un-understandable. But at some point, it will be fully known. 

One truth we can hold on to is that God gave us life, he will determine death, and it is our choice to give him everything between the two.

But let me just add…it’s still hard!

Job – Blessing or Curse?

Like I said before, a lot of things in the book of Job bother me. God allowing Satan to destroy Job’s life is one of them.

But first consider, it was not God’s idea to crush Job. It was Satan’s idea. He hates what God loves. He wanted to prove that Job loved God only because he had money, health, family and friends, respect, power — all the world loves. Since Job had all that Satan loves, is he loving and fearing God “on the side?”

Am I loving and fearing God “on the side?”

I look as if I love God. I feel that I love God. But if God allowed all my financial security, health, family and friends, respect and power to dissolve, what would I think or feel? 

Prosperity gospel runs rampant in this country and others with the false belief that blessings are the result of good works. Poverty means someone is lazy, sinning or not “doing good.”

That is a lie from the pit!

Sometimes I feel guilty that I am surviving cancer. People talk about me and some of the good things I do as if I am earning another day. But that is so backwards. I receive each day by grace, unmerited favor. I am no more worthy of another day than any of my friends who have gone before me. But because God has given me another day, it’s my responsibility to use it for good.

God knows Job really loves and fears him, even if Satan does not. God knows the end of Job’s story before it begins. It almost feels like he’s trying to redeem Satan — maybe if Satan sees how man loves God, he will quit tempting him and give up the battle. We all know that is not going to happen, because Satan is still alive, tempting us in our walk with God. But it is an interesting thought…

Knowing Job’s true character, God allows Job to go through unjust, undeserved, suffering. And, contrary to the Prosperity Gospel, we also go through unjust, undeserved suffering. Suffering is suffering – it hurts no more or less knowing the reason. 

And yet, we search for answers to relieve pain… 

Let’s Talk about the Book of Job…

After Psalms, I started reading Job. Job is a book that I have often wondered why God included it in the Bible. I personally don’t get much out of it, don’t underline many key scriptures, don’t even understand what is true in the counsel of Job’s “friends” and what it not. And…it is so long…

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read it. It is in the Bible, God’s written word to us. God must want to communicate something to us, to me, through it.

 Let’s start with the story in Chapters 1 & 2, which have enough questions of their own. A man, Job, is so “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” that God boasts about him to Satan.

This is where I have my first disconnect, trying to picture God stooping so low as to get into a boasting match with Satan.

But maybe that is not the picture I should get. Maybe it’s the thought that God does boast to Satan about us. I wonder if he ever said, “Have you considered my servant Martin Luther King, and all the good he is doing?” Or, “Have you considered Billy Graham and all the good he is doing?” 

Maybe God wants to boast about us, about me?

Are we giving him the “blameless and upright, one who fears God and turned away from evil” material he can boast about? 

Or on the other side, are there times when Satan comes to God and says, “See there is another one you thought was doing good, but look how they have fallen?”

Does Satan taunt God with our sin? 

Does he boast to God about his conquests? Did he show God the video of George Floyd’s death?  Burning cities? Hitler and massacres in Rwanda?

I don’t know what kind of conversations God and Satan have, and frankly, it troubles me that they talk at all. It even troubles me more if they have these kinds of conversations. God knows who wins, but Satan keeps trying…even today…to prove he is stronger than God.

The book of Job seems to be the answer to the question, who is stronger, God or Satan?

We know how it ends because we have read the end or heard the story, but obviously, Job didn’t know how it was going to end when the story started, when he was “blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Nor did he know that there were conversations going on between God and Satan.

We have our own stories. We don’t know the end, or even what comes next in our lives. We don’t know the conversations God and Satan are having even today.

Maybe we should read on…