Day 14      Job 42 ... Job's Happy Ending

The impact of God's speech on Job was almost as amazing as the speech itself. Although his complaints about suffering and unfairness did not even come up, Job seemed satisfied - humiliated, actually - by the blast from the storm. What God said was not nearly so important as the mere fact that he showed up. His presence spectacularly answered Job's biggest question: Is anybody out there? "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand," Job confessed, "Things too wonderful for me to know." Catching sight of the bog picture at last, Job repented in dust and ashes.

God had some words of correction for Job: No one, not Job and especially not his friends, had the evidence needed to make judgments about how he ran the world. But mainly God praised Job, calling him "my servant." (Ezekiel 14:14 mentions Job in God's list of the finest human examples of righteousness.)

Satan had wagered with God that Job would "surely curse you to your face." He lost that wager. Despite all that happened, Job did not curse God. He clung to his belief in a just God even though everything in his experience seemed to contradict it. Significantly, Job spoke his contrite words before any of his losses had been restored, while still sitting in a pile of ashes, naked, covered with sores. He had learned to believe even in the dark, with no hope of reward. The book of Job ends with some surprising twists. Job's friends, who had spouted all the right pieties and cliches, had to plead for forgiveness. Job, who had raged and cried out received twice as much as he ever had before, 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 donkeys, and 10 new children.

The book of Job gave much comfort to Jews during the harsh period between the Old and New Testaments. It demonstrated the important lesson that not all suffering comes as punishment; a person's trials may, in fact, be used to win a great spiritual victory. And the happy ending of Job also echoed the promises of the prophets, awakening hopes for a future time of peace and restoration. Christians, looking back, see yet another message in Job, who stands as an early prototype of the Messiah. Job, the best man of his day, suffered terribly, Jesus, a perfect man, would suffer even more.

Point to Ponder: Have you experienced any Job-like trials in your life? What was their result?