In this short section of the Book of Job we are given the details of the fate of the characters. God had spoken to Job and Job confessed and repented of his self-righteousness <42:5-6>. God now addresses Job’s friends: “he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” <42:7 (NIV)>. Even while Job was enraged because of his suffering and in his challenges to God, he spoke honestly of God, while his friends in their statements did not have a personal knowledge of God. Unlike Job who spoke to God, they were only able to speak about God, they were only presumptuous of the reason for Job’s suffering. God now instructs the three friends to offer a sacrifice for their sins and Job would pray for them, affirming “I will ….. not deal with you according to your folly.” <41:33 (NIV); cf. 14:16-17; Psa.103:10; Rom.4:8; Heb.10:17-18>, an affirmation which applies to all individuals that accept His salvation; they “did what the Lord told them” <42:9>. In this act we see two things: first, God refers to Job as “My servant” <42:8>; in all of his suffering and disputing with God, he was still God’s servant <cf. 1:8>, and as we are called to undergo suffering today we need to honour God and accept the fact the He knows and is aware of all that we are enduring, we need to trust in His sovereignty. Secondly, Job’s three friends were made aware of their need to confess their sins to God and to repent, and they did as God had instructed them; so likewise we, who are convicted of our sins by The Holy Spirit, need to act on such conviction and turn to God in repentance, accepting the sacrifice that Christ has offered to God on our behalf.
The Book now closes with Job’s reward for his firm belief in God all through his suffering, there is no indication that God gave any reason to Job for all that he had endured, but we see that God abundantly restored all that he had lost in Satan’s attack on his life; “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” <42:10 (NIV); 12>. It is good and beneficial for us to understand that God will not cause us to suffer without reason, and although we may never know the reason in our lifetime God will see us through; we may not be rewarded in the way Job was rewarded, but we need to trust God and recognize that He knows, understands and sees all that we are experiencing <cf. Isa.55:8-9>.
For centuries, even from the beginning of time, mankind has been attempting to explain why suffering exists in a world created by a loving and Omnipotent God; and it is frightening to ask “Why?” If God is all powerful and all loving, then Why? Unfortunately there is no verifiable answer to the question. God’s power or love is never the cause of suffering, nor will His power or love eliminate suffering, but His love will be our help in overcoming suffering.
The presence of sympathizers <2:11-13> is sometimes better than the thoughts they express. Never fall for the temptation to say “I know what you are experiencing”, since, for each individual, suffering is entirely different. Just be there for the person and assist in every way that you can. Never presume that sin is the cause for the individual’s suffering and anguish, in our attempt to console we should not make speculations. Do not “play God” by judging the person who is suffering <19:2, 4>. It is better to wait, listen and give your full attention to what the person says <32:11-12> and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and your expressions <32:13>.
We cannot challenge God since His wisdom, power, love and greatness are beyond human comprehension; we can only plead our case before Him <9:2, 15>. God cannot be unjust – He is God <34:11>, and by observing His creation and the control that He has over His creation, it is obvious that human reasoning and wisdom cannot duplicate what God has accomplished <38:4, 18; 40:15, 19; 41:1, 33>.
Let us not be like Job’s friends, or like Job in our attempt to rationalize human suffering by human reasoning <42:2-3, 5-6>; God will eventually reveal all things <37:22-24>, and obedience to His command is the key to wisdom <42:9>.
WHILE GOD’S METHODS ARE BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION, HE CAN ALWAYS BE TRUSTED!