Job 42 Summary: Let’s turn our attention to Job chapter 42. We’ll be studying the last chapter of the book of Job today.
We started this series October 15th, 2017. And even though that was more than 52 weeks ago, this is only the 47th lesson in this series.
And so, we’ve studied through the entire book of Job.
In the beginning we were introduced to this righteous man. And then we were made aware of this meeting in heaven in which God brings Job to Satan’s attention. Satan insinuates that Job is righteous only because of what God gives him – only because God favors him and blesses him with all sorts of good things in this life.
So then God took those things away in order to prove to Satan that Job was genuinely righteous and that God wasn’t somehow buying Job’s obedience and devotion.
And Job started well. Even when his wife encouraged him to curse God and die, Job refused – and actually gently rebuke his wife, encouraging both of them to take both good and evil from the Lord.
But by the time that Job’s three friends come and they sit with him in silence for seven days, Job related to them what a struggle he was having in his heart. He began by cursing the day of his birth and wishing for death. Life had gone from unrestrained blessing to unrelenting pain and suffering.
And what was most difficult for Job was that God seemed to be punishing him. And Job couldn’t figure out the cause of this punishment. It didn’t make sense to Job.
And Job wasn’t alone. His three friends also sensed that God was punishing Job. And so they urged him to stop sinning and start praying. And if he did, they assured him, God would stop the punishment and bring back the blessings.
There was only one problem with that arrangement in Job’s mind. Job was not sinning and he was praying. And so, he knew that this punishment – as he saw it – was undeserved. And therefore, his mind started going in the direction of placing blame as well – just like his three friends. Only, Job wasn’t going to blame himself – because he knew he was innocent and undeserving of punishment. So, Job took the step of starting to blame God.
Not that God is evil – in Job’s mind. But maybe God just is a little bit mistaken. Or maybe God is finding fault with Job in some area that Job knows nothing about – sort of unfairly punishing him for secret sins that Job himself is unaware of.
And so, Job begins to demand that God explain himself. Job orders God into court to defend his ways – his mysterious, confusing ways – in Job’s life.
And that’s when Elihu comes and is angry that the three friends have no charge against Job and yet they accuse him anyway. And he’s also angry at Job because Job was basically making God look bad in order that he might look good. And Job didn’t need to do that. God can remain perfect and his people remain righteous – even when we’re suffering. We don’t need to make God look bad when we’re suffering.
And one thing that Job really should have reckoned with is the fact that not all suffering is punishment. When God brings suffering into our lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s angry with us. It doesn’t mean that he is exacting punishment on us. And Elihu even said as much.
And then the Lord shows up. Just like Job was demanding. But, the Lord wasn’t prepared to explain himself to Job. God had no plan to lay out the whys and wherefores to Job about his suffering. God said not a word about Satan. Those things are not what Job needed to learn.
What Job needed to learn is what we need to learn. That when God’s ways don’t make sense to us, we need to trust his wisdom.
And so, the Lord started questioning Job on various aspects of nature that God perfectly controls – just like he perfectly controls the lives of his people. And God asked Job – can you do this? Do you know this? Where were you when this happened?
And the only one who could answer any of those questions was God himself. Not Job.
Job was demanding that God explain his ways to him – in particular, in the realm of Job’s circumstances. And God’s questions were intended to help Job see that Job can’t even understand what God does throughout creation. How would Job even begin to understand why and how God was working in his life the way he was?
And then God challenges Job to try out being God for a day!
And then the Lord brought to Job’s attention two wonderful beasts that each were intended to teach Job something.
Behemoth was to be imitated by Job. Behemoth lived with the strength that God gave him without worry and without fear. And Job needed to take the posture of that creature.
And then Leviathan. Job was supposed to think about God and treat God more like Job treated this dangerous powerful creature. Job was treating God so commonly – as if it’s proper to impel the Master of the Universe to a court of law so that he can explain himself and make himself accountable to a puny little creature like man is. Job wouldn’t expect Leviathan to show up for his day in court! Why should he expect God to do so?
Job 42 Summary | God Can do Any/Every Thing
And after all of that – forty-one chapters that have taken us over a year to study – Job gives his final response to the Lord in verse 1 of chapter 42.
KJV Job 42:1 Then Job [answered/replied to] the LORD, and said,
2 I know that thou canst do [every thing/all things],
and that no [thought/purpose/plan] can be [withholden/thwarted] [from thee/of yours].
So, this the first confession of a man who’s seen God and been rebuked by him. The response is “I know you can do everything.” And on the opposite side of that, “I know there’s nothing you can’t do.”
If God wants to stop the suffering of one of his people, no one will stop him. If God – in his sovereign wisdom – chooses to bring suffering into the life of one of his faithful servants, suffering that servant will have to endure.
It’s all up to the Lord though. He gives and he takes. And whatever he does, he’s right. And whatever he decides to do cannot be stopped by anyone but him.
Job 42 Summary | I Spoke Ignorantly
And in light of this reality that God can do anything and won’t be stopped by anything, Job makes a second confession in verse 3.
3 [you asked…] Who is [he/this] that [hideth/darkens/obscures] [my…] counsel without knowledge?
By the way – let interject here – that’s not Job speaking to the Lord. As in that’s not Job accusing God of hiding counsel without knowledge.
Rather, this is Job repeating a question that God had asked him earlier in the previous few chapters.
Job is saying, “you asked me, ‘Who is this that hides or darkens or obscures counsel without knowledge.’” And the idea is that Job is saying – “you were right, God.” And that’s what he admits to in the rest verse 3.
[therefore/but/surely] [have I/I have] [uttered/declared/spoke of] that I understood not;
things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
So, Job’s second confession to the Lord is that he spoke ignorantly. He spoke as if he fully understood things that now he’s come to see he has no idea about. Job spoke so confidently about his own innocence – and equally confidently about the fact that he believed that God was wrong in the way he was dealing in Job’s life.
But after all these questions and all these mighty works of God paraded before him, Job realizes that he knows nothing! He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know. He couldn’t make the world work for one millisecond! He was way out of line in speaking of things that he’s so ignorant of.
And brethren, we need to be aware of this fact as well. Let me just put it rather bluntly – what areas of your life do you think that God is totally botching? Or has totally botched? Are there events in your life that you look at – and to think of them fills you with bitterness toward others and ultimately toward God himself?
Can you see things the way that God sees them and understand that you really don’t understand? Have you been humbled to the point of Job and confess that those things that you take issue with God about – really, you’re the one who’s in the wrong.
Job 42 Summary | I See You and Abhor Myself
Well, Job has one more confession to make in verses 4-6.
4 [You said…] [Hear, I beseech thee/Hear now/Pay attention/Listen now], and I will speak:
I will [demand of/ask/question] thee, and [declare thou unto/you instruct/you will answer] me.
And once more, I’ll break in and remind us that Job is not at this point demanding God to answer him. Job again is repeating to God a question that God himself asked Job in the last few chapters.
And Job wants to let the Lord know that he did indeed hear the Lord. God commanded Job to hear. And so, Job says…
5 I [have/had] heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
[but/and?] now mine eye seeth thee.
Job has heard from and seen God. He has indeed listened and paid attention to the Lord. And now he has this extra added bonus of actually seeing God.
And certainly Job is speaking of physical sight. And yet, I think Job is pointing to a reality beyond that. Job has not just seen the physical representation of the Lord. But he’s experienced God. Through Job’s suffering and the struggles that have attended that suffering, Job has literally come face-to-face with the Lord and he has experienced God. It’s not just hearing about God from his three friends or from his wife. No – now Job has heard from and experienced God directly. And that’s enough for him.
And this is Job’s response to that reality.
6 [Wherefore/Therefore] I [abhor myself/retract/despise myself],
and repent in dust and ashes.
So, Job confesses to both hearing and seeing God. And he confesses that his response is like Isaiah’s – “Woe is me! I am unclean!” Or as Job puts it, “I abhor myself and repent!”
And that’s Job’s last statement.
He’s confessed that God can do anything. That Job himself spoke ignorantly. And that he has seen and experienced God and therefore abhors himself and repents.
No more arguments. No more accusations. No more demanding God to come to court and explain himself.
God has spoken. And that is enough for Job.
So, that’s how God rebukes Job and sets things right with that righteous man.
Job 42 Summary | God Rebukes the Friends
But God’s not done dealing with people. Elihu doesn’t need to be dealt with by God. He generally spoke on God’s behalf and experiencing no rebuke from the Lord.
But Job’s three friends are another matter. God rebukes them in verse 7.
7 ¶ [And it was so, that after/It came about after/After] the LORD had [spoken/said] these [words/things] unto Job,
the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,
So, we notice that the Lord targets Eliphaz. Now, we’re going to see God speak to all three of these men. And yet, somehow Eliphaz gets the direct attention of God. This might indicate that Eliphaz was perhaps the leader of this group. Maybe that also explains why he would begin each of the three sections of dialog between Job and his friends.
But anyway, God addresses Eliphaz and says…
[My wrath is kindled against/My anger is stirred up against/I am angry with] thee, and against thy two friends:
Why? Why is God angry at these three men?…
[for/because] ye have not spoken [of/about] me [the thing that/what] is right,
as my servant Job hath.
So, even though Job was wrong in his approach to God in demanding that God explain himself to Job – God says here that what Job said about him was essentially correct.
These friends on the other hand were speaking falsehoods about God. And yet, we remember that they had the wisdom of the ancients on their side – they had the testimony of ancient wise men who had passed on before them. One of these guys kept referring to visions he had received – remember the spirit passing before one of their faces at night and causing him great fear and then giving him a revelation. All of that is nonsense when it doesn’t correspond to the word of God.
Visions and experiences and ancient wisdom is all fine and well – but these are not what we should be basing our life on. Our experience is not what we should be pulling out and relating to someone who is suffering. The person who is suffering needs God’s words delivered to him compassionately and patiently.
And so, these three friends had not spoken orthodox doctrine to Job. They had said things about God that just weren’t true. They had asserted that God always punishes evil and always rewards good in this life and pretty much immediately. And God says here, “that’s just not right!”
Job 42 Summary | God Orders the Friends to Sacrifice
And so, because of the folly of these friends, God would be right to destroy them on the spot. Or even to apply to them the kind of suffering that Job had experienced.
And yet, instead, we’re going to see God be merciful to these three men and command them to sacrifice in verse 8.
8 [Therefore/Now therefore/So now] take [unto you now/for yourselves] seven [bullocks/bulls] and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering;
and my servant Job [shall/will] [pray/intercede] for you: for [him will I accept/I will accept his prayer]:
[lest I/So that I may not] deal with you after your folly,
[in that/because] ye have not spoken of me [the thing which/what] is right,
[like/as] my servant Job [has…].
So, Job had been on the short end of things for a while now. These three men have been pompously accusing him of secret sin. And Job had been pretty much defenseless against them.
But now the tables have turned. And God fully recognizes in the sight of these three accusers, that Job is his – what? It’s stated three times in this verse. Job is God’s… servant. There was some doubt about that. But not anymore. God makes it clear that Job is his true servant.
And so, these men are at Job’s mercy now. They’re sacrificing – not to Job – but to God. And yet, Job is their priest and mediator before God.
And if they don’t offer that sacrifice and if Job doesn’t pray for them, God menacingly threatens that he will deal with these men according to their foolishness. These men, who had considered themselves as wise! God says that they’re fools!
And God repeats the charge against them. They spoke of God what was not correct.
Job 42 Summary | The Friends Sacrifice and Job Prays and God Accepts
And you better believe that these three men – as foolish as they had behaved themselves – they do fear God and they’re going to make a bee-line to Job with those sacrifices in verse 9!
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did [according/just] as the LORD [commanded/told] them:
[the LORD also/and the LORD] [accepted/had respect for/accepted the prayer of] Job.
And where Job had felt such a lack of God’s presence – such a rejection of his prayers – now the only one whose prayers are effectual before God is this one who has felt so rejected by God. Job is no longer rejected.
Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job in Summary
And that applies to his prayers, but we’re going to see from the rest of this chapter that everything is restored to Job. He’s going to experience acceptance by God in every way. Verse 10 summarizes this role reversal.
10 ¶ [And/So] the LORD [turned the captivity of Job/restored the fortunes of Job/restored what Job had lost/made Job prosperous again],
[when/after] he prayed for his friends:
So, God did wait until Job showed that he had truly forgiven these men. And sometimes that is what is holding back some of God’s blessings in our lives is when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us in some pretty serious ways. And yet, God wants us to forgive everyone – just like he’s forgiven us…
[also/and] the LORD [gave Job twice as much as he had before/increased all that Job had twofold/doubled all that had belonged to Job/gave him twice as much as he had before].
So, that’s Job’s restoration in a summary fashion.
Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Relationships
Now, we’re going to see Job’s restoration in detail with some specifics.
Verse 11 has Job’s relationships restored.
11 Then came there unto him
all his brethren,
and all his sisters,
and all they that had [been of his acquaintance/had known him] before,
and [did eat bread/they dined/ate] with him in his house:
and they [bemoaned/consoled/comforted] him, and [comforted/consoled] him [over/for] all the [evil/adversities/trouble] that the LORD had brought upon him:
every man also gave him a piece of [money/silver], and every one [an earring of gold/a gold ring].
So, one thing to note here is that all of these people had apparently abandoned Job. What help these folks could have been to the suffering Job in his hour of need! And yet, isn’t that sometimes what God orchestrates in our lives so that we don’t trust man – so that we don’t rely on man for our happiness. Sometimes, the Lord brings us to the point where we have literally no one. And the ones we might have are no help.
And that’s OK. It’s as God intends. We don’t have recorded here that Job was bitter against these fair-weather friends and family. He has heard and seen God – experienced God. And I think that he wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. His heart is like that of Joseph’s where he could harbor no bitterness against his brothers but instead saw that where they meant evil, God meant good – and God won!
And I think we need to notice one more thing in this verse. Who brought the evil on Job?
The inspired author of this book places the blame for all the bad stuff that happened on God. This is not Eliphaz saying this. It isn’t even Elihu. It’s the divine author stating in no uncertain terms that God himself brought this evil on Job. God is not apologizing about it. He’s not seeking to shift blame to Satan. He’s not concerned that his reputation will take a hit when people realize that he himself is the one who brings evil – calamity – hardship into the life of one of his righteous people.
I started out this series over a year ago in part because I had a friend whose two young children died in a car accident. And I was talking to one of my sons recently who was a friend of the older boy and we were talking about grief. And my son asked if grief is supposed to go away. And I said that I don’t think you ever get over the death of someone who you love and care for. And he seemed relieved – because even he is still after over a year grieving the loss of his friend.
Now, I want to be clear that I think the first thing that I would say to this grieving father would not be along the lines of this truth – that the Lord made this happen. And certainly you would never relate this to a person in a cold and callous way with no emotion in your voice or face. This is not some truth to beat grieving people to death with.
But it is a truth that we all need to recognize. God is in control. He brings good and he brings bad in this life. And it doesn’t matter who you are.
Can we accept that God ultimately brought the evil into the life of this missionary family in Cameroon? Can we accept that there’s a little 6 year old boy in Minnesota who just had to have a large tumor removed from his brain and still has cancer in his spine and might be enduring harsh treatments for months – and even then he’s not fully out of the woods – can we accept that this is God’s doing?
And I can admit, I don’t want to accept it! I don’t like this. I want the Millennium – now! I want all tears wiped away from our eyes! I want the lion to lay down with the lamb – now!
But we don’t have that now. We have what God has wisely orchestrated in our lives. And as blind and shortsighted as we are – we must trust our captain. We must trust God’s wisdom.
And in fact, you talk to the wife of this murdered missionary or you talk to the believing parents of this dear young child – and you’ll hear them speak of their trusting the Lord. You’ll hear of them being confused and not being able to make sense of things – but you’ll also hear their unwavering faith. And they are an awesome example of what God is teaching us in this book.
And you know – all of these things will be made right one day when we’re with the Lord.
Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Fortunes
But God saw fit to restore Job in this life – even his fortunes in verse 12.
12 So the LORD blessed the [latter end/latter days/second part/latter part] of [Job/Job’s life] more than [his beginning/the first]:
for he had fourteen thousand sheep,
and six thousand camels,
and a thousand yoke of oxen,
and a thousand [she asses/female donkeys].
And I’ll just note here that all the way back in chapter 1 and verse 3 we’re told that Job had these kinds of things as well. Only there, he had half as much. God blessed him with twice as much material blessings – just like he said in verse 10. And these blessings didn’t come because Job stopped sinning and started praying. They came simply because God is gracious.
This is his posture toward his people. He wants to give us good things. And most of those good things are reserved for us in heaven. And yet even on earth he gives us so much to be thankful for.
Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Heirs
And the restoration continues in verse 13 where the Lord gives Job more children.
13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
And Charlie Hatchett once told me of a really interesting encounter. I can’t remember who the two people were – I think one of them was Dr. Cedarholm who founded Maranatha Baptist University. Dr. Cedarholm paid a visit to a pastor who was struggling with how God was working in his life. And this pastor had found himself in the book of Job and got to this point. And the pastor noticed with some dismay that even though God blessed double all that Job had materially – he only gave him back the number of children that he previously had – 10, not 20. But God said in verse 10 that he gave Job double all that he had before. And so this pastor was really distraught about this seeming oversight by God.
And Dr. Cedarholm came to him and this pastor related that struggle to him. And Cedarholm reminded this pastor that God did indeed restore double to Job even in the area of his children. His previous 7 sons and 3 daughters… were with the Lord. And because of that, they’re just as alive as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are. And he would see them again. Job did indeed receive double in the area of children.
Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Names
And interestingly enough, the Lord draws great attention to Job’s daughters in the next few verses.
In verse 14 he focuses on their names.
14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima [dove…];
and the name of the second, Kezia [cassia…];
and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch [horn of eye-paint…].
By the way, as you know, women often go unnamed in the Old Testament. And so the fact that these daughters of Job are named I think is significant.
So, I feel compelled to try to tie these names to some sort of meaning. So, here’s a try.
Doves are graceful. Think of the difference between a dove and a crow. Even though doves tend to flit around whereas a crow is a bit more confident, the flight of doves is more graceful than that of a crow or other birds.
Or perhaps the reference to a dove speaks of a beautiful voice. Doves can have very pleasant songs that they sing.
Cassia smells nice. It’s the bark of a tree that is burned and gives off a really nice scent. This in the days before air fresheners and potpourri and artificial stuff like that.
And then cosmetics applied around the eyes enhances one’s beauty.
So, gracefulness or a sweet voice – pleasant scent – and physical beauty. We’re led to think that these attributes characterized Job’s second three daughters.
Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Beauty
And while what we just considered bears implicit testimony to the physical beauty and charm of these ladies, verse 15 makes this very explicit.
15 And in all the land were no women found [so fair/as beautiful] as the daughters of Job:
Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Inheritance
And what’s really unusual is the next fact we hear about them. These girls were so special that they received an inheritance just like their brothers.
and their father [gave/granted] them [an…] inheritance [among/alongside/along with] their [brethren/brothers].
So, typically in the ancient near east, the boys got the inheritance. The girls would get whatever inheritance was left to the man that they ended up marrying.
But I think the idea here is twofold. First, that God gave Job some very exceptional daughters. And second, that God gave Job so much that he had an abundance to give to even his daughters. There wasn’t any scarcity in Job’s latter life.
Job 42 Summary | The Lord Allows Job to Know His Heirs
So, next we hear a summary of Job’s long life in verse 16.
16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his [sons/children], and [his sons’ sons/their children], [even four generations/to the fourth generation].
I’m guessing then based on the twofold arithmetic that we’ve experienced so far that Job lived 70 years before his trial. Because 70 x 2 = 140, which is how long Job lived after his trial of suffering.
So, he lives 140 of his 210 years on this earth after his suffering.
Job 42 Summary | Job Dies Happy
And then Job dies. And he dies a happy man.
17 [So/And/And so] Job died, being old and full of days.
And death is always sad. And yet, there are certain deaths – maybe you’ve been to certain funerals where you just feel like the deceased lived a really good and long and pleasant life. Like, yes we’re very sad that this person is no longer with us. And yet, what a life he or she lived!
And that’s how Job dies. He lived a full, blessed, happy life.
And it wasn’t just because of the stuff that God gave. It’s because Job had heard and seen the Lord. And in light of that encounter and all that led up to that moment with his sufferings and trials – Job had come to understand how to correctly value the stuff that God gave him in this life.
Did Job understand God’s ways? No! He still didn’t. But Job had come to learn to trust God’s wisdom. God saw fit to bless him in his latter years. But I think that even if Job hadn’t been materially blessed in this life, he still would have carried that lesson with him of trusting the Lord in everything.
So, may the Lord help us to trust him in good times and in bad. When we feel like everything’s going for us and when we feel like just to get through the day is an uphill battle. In everything, God is wise. And he’s trustworthy. May the Lord help us to trust him.