Through the Old Testament in a Year

Today's Reading – Job 42 – Job restored and blessed

"All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well", because of Christ's suffering.

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We have read the final chapter of the Book of Job, no doubt pleased that it is a story with a happy ending. But that is not the most important lesson of this chapter.

Job had been granted an audience with God, but the result was not as he had expected. In the presence of God's glory, might and power, Job has been humbled and silenced. He recognised that when it came to his complaint against God's providence, he spoke of things he did not understand (v.3). His understanding of God, the universe and everything has proved pitifully infantile.

In particular, Job confesses that he thought he knew what God was like – perhaps he felt he could have gained a doctorate in Theology; but now he confesses that he knew nothing (42:5-6):

My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.

Many philosophers have sought to prove the existence of God and to argue concerning the attributes of God. Many others have wrestled with the "problem of evil" that lies behind this wonderful book of Scripture. They may have come to their conclusions and written up their results for others to argue over in their turn. But there is no substitute for knowing God, for being able to say that we have "seen God." Knowing God turns all human speculation and philosophy into dust and ashes (v. 6). God was angry with the empty speculations and accusations of Job's "friends".

The most important question for us is, do we know God? We may have listened to many other people talking about God, we may have read the Bible and tried to understand what it says about God, but none of this is enough. Do we know God?

God has revealed himself most clearly in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul writes:

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God… For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4,6).

The Christian is one whose eyes have been opened to see the glory of God displayed in Jesus Christ. We have seen God, not as we shall see him, but we have come to know God in Christ as the one who loves us, has redeemed us and calls us his children. Our faith is not based on philosophical arguments, nor does it depend upon knowing how the universe works and why what happens has happened. Our faith is based on the person, work and promises of the Lord Jesus Christ. We own him as our Lord and Saviour and we are glad to trust him and follow him.

Having come face to face with the living God, Job's concerns are no longer for himself, but for his friends. Job prayed for his friends that their arrogance would be forgiven and that God would not deal with them according to their folly. We are told that, "the Lord accepted Job's prayer" (v.9).

God then, "blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part" (v.12). This does not answer the question of why bad things sometimes happen to good people; we know that many godly people see no end or answer to their suffering in this life. But it is a pointer to the hope that we have in Christ. We know that because he suffered death for us and is risen from the dead, the day will come when we shall share in his glorious resurrection. In the end, "All shall be well."

Father God, thank you that we have seen your glory in Christ and that we will one day share in that glory. Ours is a story with a happy ending. Help us to pray for our friends, that they too may know you.

Peter Misselbrook