Pondering Job in a Pandemic – Chapter 42

Forty-two consecutive days through the book of Job, one chapter per day. I began these “ponderings” on the first day New Zealand entered Level 4 Lockdown in response to Covid-19. We are now in Level 3 and will be for, at least, another week. The Pandemic is far from over. The implications of the Pandemic will continue for a very long time. The consequences connected to how the world has responded to this pandemic will likely last even longer.

At the best of times it is very hard to plan ahead in our lives. We just don’t know what the future will bring. Yet, at this moment, it seems even more difficult. It is hard to plan next week as things just keep changing or we think they might change and they don’t.

The book of Job, the written story of Job’s life is wrapped up for us in this chapter. His future is summarised in just a few short words. There are a few items worth pondering here.

in verses 1-6, Job speaks for last time in the book. They are words of humble confession and repentance. Job did not sin with his mouth and accuse God of evil. In verses 7 & 8 we are told Job spoke rightly about God unlike his three friends. Yet, there were times in Job’s grief and frustration when he spoke rashly and out of ignorance. He misunderstood the purposes of God and failed to fully trust Him at times. Job does the only thing we must do when we become aware of our failings – repent, turn to God in faith and confess our sin. There’s no reason to make excuses or to try to paint a better picture of ourselves. Just admit you were wrong, confess your sin and repent. God is faithful to forgive.

In verses 7-9, God speaks to Job’s three friends and they respond to God.

Where is Elihu? I have no idea. My suggestion is, he is passed over by God at this time as Elihu has shown himself to be arrogant and self-righteous.

As for the other three friends, twice in these three verses God tells them that they did not speak rightly of Him and Job did. God is angry at them for their repeated misrepresentation of Him and His character. They are told to take blood sacrifice for sin to Job. Job has repented of his sin, Job has not misrepresented God, Job will serve as a priest before God on their behalf and God will accept Job’s prayer.

What I think is often overlooked is that these men do just as God instructs them. They repent, take the sacrifice and submit to Job’s priestly role and prayer for them. And the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. What an amazing display of God’s grace and mercy. These three men are so often criticised for their treatment of Job and their foolish speeches. Yet they are often not commended for their humility and repentance displayed here. Even more this display of God’s patience and mercy towards them is not often noticed.

Have you been foolish, insensitive, harsh, etc. with your words? Have you even spoke wrongly and misrepresented God in your own mind or to others? Haven’t we all at some point? Don’t be arrogant and self-righteous. Don’t make excuses – repent of your sin, turn to Christ in faith. God is faithful to forgive.

In verses 10-17 Job’s restoration is described.

Firstly, we must notice the book ends where it begins in recognising and attributing all that has happened to Job to the hand of God. Verse 11 is clear. All of this was “all the evil [could also be translated “disaster”] that the LORD had brought upon him”. All that has happened to Job, just as we knew from chapters 1 & 2 was brought upon him by the hand of the LORD – the covenant God. We’ve seen the significance of this truth time and time again through our Job “ponderings”. There is nothing that comes into our lives, even disaster, which is not administered by the hand of our Heavenly Father.

Secondly, Job’s restoration is described in similar physical terms as he was described in chapter 1. The numbers of animals, the numbers of children, etc. Yet his restored life is even shown to be on a larger scale than what he had before. The beauty and relationship with his daughters. The length of his life, etc. God showed Job abundant mercy and grace.

So is the moral of the story – get things right with God and you will live long and prosper?

I don’t think so… In the end Job still died. A day came when all that he had (now far more than he had before) was lost and left behind. Nothing on this earth and nothing in this life would ultimately and finally be enough. These things and people were blessings and Job seems to have received them as such. We too should receive anything that God gives us in this life as a gift from Him.

Yet we should not presume that God owes us anything or demand that He gives us temporal, earthly treasures. For even if He did or does, we will still one day die and all that we have will be useless and all that will really matter is whether we know the LORD as our Covenant Father, a relationship bought by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria

Items to focus your faith: