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  • Writer's pictureTim Hemingway

Vindication, Restoration, Increase & Life


"After Job had prayer for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before" Job 42:10

This is our 10th and final message in the book of Job. And I think have found the book more illuminating this time than ever before. I’ve found it more directly applicatory to my life, than ever before. And for that I am truly grateful.

We’re turning our attention now to the final verses of the book, which has the heading in our NIV, ‘Epilogue’, but we might call it ‘Restoration’. Whatever you want to call it, it’s important. There are still new things to see here, in these final verses.

We left off last time with Job repenting in dust and ashes (v.6). And I think we can be confident that God is satisfied with Job’s repentance because, in verse 7 we find that God is now angry with the 3 friends –Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, who are mentioned by name in verse 9.

And God’s specific charge against them is that they have not ‘spoken the truth about me as my servant Job has’.

So, our first observation here is that God’s anger against Job has lifted. And it seems to have lifted because of Job’s repentance. Of course, we know also - because we explored it last time - that God receives Job’s repentance on the basis of Job’s righteousness. And, we know that Job’s righteousness in turn, is a righteousness rooted in Jesus – rooted in Jesus’ atoning death for Job.

So, Job’s relationship with his God has been restored and God seems to remember his indiscretions no more. Which is vital to live in the light of. When we grumble against God, when our words and our actions demean him instead of promoting him – in short when we sin against him – upon heartfelt repentance and humbling of our proud hearts, praise God, there is restoration to be found.

God has cast our sins into the sea of his forgetfulness. And we can move forward in confidence and hope, because of Jesus, knowing that we are right with our heavenly Father.

So, we need gutsy guilt – repentance, and we need courageous confidence – faith, to move through the Christian life.

But why does God say in verse 7, that the friends had not spoken the truth as Job had? And for certainty then repeat the fact in verse 8? Surely God has just been reprimanding Job for the words he had spoken about him.

Well, there are several interpretive options, but the one that makes the most sense to me at least, is that God is referring specifically to Job’s remarks that have come on the back of God’s speeches over the last 4 chapters. The answers Job has given now that he’s encountered God, have been true words.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that a mishandling of verse 7 is one of the reasons I have misunderstood Job for so long. I’ve been applying God’s statement here in verse 7 to all of Job’s remarks in the book and then scratching my head how that all fits together. But if we limit God’s declaration here to Job’s humble responses in chapters 38 to 41, then we can understand how God can speak about Job the way he does here, andbe consistent with the way he speaks about Job back at the beginning of chapter 38, when he said, ‘Who is this who obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

But now notice that, whilst Job has received restoration of relationship with God, his 3 friends are in a different place. I would suggest here that God’s anger burns against these three. We’re not talking a mild annoyance, I think he is quite literally ready to blow them away.

And I think that for three reasons. The first is that God in his tremendous grace makes provision for them by means of two essential ingredients – blood sacrifice (bulls and rams) and intercession (Job’s prayer). And the reason I think that indicates that he is wrathful against these 3 is because, his ultimate; his decisive plan to satisfy his pent-up anger against sinners is to send his own dear Son into the world to do both these things - to intercede for sinners on their behalf and to pay the price for our sins with his own blood.

Hebrews 7:25, ‘Therefore Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.’

And then, just two chapters later we read that, ‘Jesus did not enter [the tabernacle] by the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, so obtaining eternal redemption’.

In other words, what we are seeing here in Job is a foreshadowing of God’s way of sorting out the problem of sin. And here’s the crux of it, since the sin that Jesus deals with is worthy of hell forever, then it’s safe to think that these three are in monumental peril right now. God is mighty angry with them – which is demonstrated by the fact that both blood and intercession are prescribed as remedy.

You might be thinking, ‘come on, really! They weren’t so bad. Did we not hear them defending God’s cause?’ Yes, but Jesus says, ‘there are many who will say “Lord, Lord”, but I will say “I never knew them”’. These friends endorsed a gospel different to God’s gospel, and they are now in big trouble with God for it.

The second reason I think we can tell they are in big trouble here is that God’s remedy for them is intercession and blood – with the blood part being very exacting indeed – no less than seven bulls and seven rams, each!

We find the same offering on a few other occasions. Once when King David brought the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem. If you remember, it was because God’s holiness had broken out against Uzza, when he touched the ark to prevent it from falling to the ground, that David had not dared bring it up before.

And, now, because the Lord had not broken out against them this time, David sacrificed the offering we have here in Job.

And the other occasion was when King Hezekiah cleaned and consecrated the temple because of the sin that had been committed in it. On that occasion also, he offered this sacrifice to cleanse it.

Both occasions represent then, hugely significant events, with God’s holiness right at the very centre of what’s being done.

So, it is here also. God’s anger is kindled against them as it was against Uzza, and they need cleansing as the temple did in Hezekiah’s day.

And so, it is with all humanity. God’s anger is turned against the people of the earth until we be cleansed by the perfect blood of Jesus – perfection is symbolised here with the number 7

And the third reason I think that God is very angry with these three is because the remedy he gives them, he says in verse 8, he will accept, and as a result, ‘he will not deal with them according to their folly’.

Proverbs says, ‘The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly’. There are grave and eternal consequences for the fool that rejects God.

So, there’s no doubt in my mind how serious the predicament of these three is or how serious the predicament of every human being in this world is!

But God says, humble yourselves, trust in the blood and the intercession, and you will be safe.

For the friends, that looked like trusting in the blood of bulls and rams and the prayer offered up by Job. For us it looks like trusting in Jesus’ blood for us on the cross and his intercession with God the Father on our behalf.

By Jesus’ work we have peace with God! And verse 9 shows us that God can be trusted. The three friends are spared God’s wrath evidently. God has made a way and he is faithful to his word – he will not change his mind!

But there’s something else going on here, and it’s especially apparent because Job is the one who God makes the intercessor. That fact brings us to verses 10 onwards which tell the story of the rest of Job’s life.

So, to help us I want to identify 4 ways that God blesses Job’s life going forward and then I want to explain how that works in our lives.

The four ways that Job is blessed are these. Number 1: he is blessed with vindication. You can see that, in the fact that Job becomes God’s means for preserving the life of the very friends who had previously mistreated him, and maligned him, and brought false accusations against him, and ridiculed him. Just imagine if Job had not prayed for them!

Remember how Job persistently defended his righteousness during the speeches of his friends, and he was right to do that. He hadn’t sinned, and therefore sin didn’t explain his suffering.

And now he has been shown to be right. And now God has vindicated him by making him the means of their preservation.

Number 2: he is blessed with restoration. Verse 10 says that ‘the Lord restored his fortunes’. And we see the evidence of that in the fact that his community return to his side (v.11), his flocks and herds are re-established (v.12), and that he is given more children, so that the total number matches what he originally had (v.13).

Number 3: he is blessed with increase. It’s not just that what he lost is restored to him, but that he receives increase also. Verse 10 says, ‘he received twice as much as he had before’. And verse 12 says, ‘the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part’.

And number 4: he is blessed with life. Verse 16 tells us that Job lived 140 more years, seeing his children and grandchildren to the 4th generation. Verse 17 says, ‘Job died, an old man and full of years’.

All of which is quite amazing. And even though none of us would want to experience the kind of suffering Job experienced, I guess we might all say that if we knew this was coming at the end, it would make it easier to swallow at the time.

So, what should we make of this? Should we apply this to our own lives and conclude that we are called to suffer – we’ve learnt that from Job for sure – but that in suffering we can look forward to a great abundance of blessing before we die. Not just restoration, but an abundance of health and wealth?

Should we take from this real man and his real story hope that, though we may have tough times, life will be worth living again, if we are patient? This world will treat us kindly again – one day?

I think, that if we made that our conclusion, the Apostle James would say, ‘you’ve missed the point’. Here’s what James says – and take special note of how he uses the story of Job for the benefit of his readers,

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’sperseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy’.

Ok, do you see what James did with Job? James took Job and he transposed the blessings he received – the ones we are considering this morning – and he applied them to believers like us. But the important thing to notice is, he didn’t apply them to us in this age, he applied them to us in the age to come. Did you spot that? Watch. ‘Be patient brothers and sister until the Lord’s coming’.

Not, ‘be patient until the suffering is over, because Job shows us that God will shower us with wealth and health’.

No, the patience, the endurance, the waiting, for us, goes on a life time until we meet Jesus – that’s the moment when the blessing comes. That’s what James means by ‘the Lord’s coming’ – he means Jesus’ return to earth.

James is saying, ‘I get that suffering has a wearing-down effect on you. But the antidote to that is not: throw in the towel; take the easy road; look forward to things getting better in this life. The antidote is: remember that Job received vindication, restoration, increase, and long life as the goal of his suffering. And that’s what you will receive whenJesus returns. So, stand firm in faith and in hope’.

A health, wealth and prosperity message here doesn’t work. Jesus did not give us good reason to put our hope in this life when he said things like this: ‘In this world you will have trouble’.

Or, ‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you, because of me’.

Or, ‘When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another’.

Or, ‘Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me’.

Or, ‘remember what I told you…if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also’.

And James, Peter, John and Paul all teach us to expect trials of many kinds, and they teach us to expect them as a persistent feature of our Christian lives.

In short, there’s no room in the new testament to harbour expectations of heaven on earth as a Christian. James doesn’t want us to read Job that way. He wants us to transpose Job from an earthly key into a heavenly key.

He wants us, when we read of Job’s vindication, to think of the souls under the altar in Revelation 6:10 crying out ‘how long sovereign Lord until you avenge our blood?’ and then to think of them rejoicing in Revelation 19:2 at the answer, ‘He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.’

James wants us to transpose Job’s restoration into the key of Acts 3:21 which says, ‘Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets’.

He wants us to regard Job’s increase as Hebrews 10:35-37 regards it, ‘Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded…For in just a little while he who is coming will come and will not delay’.

James wants us to handle Job’s resulting long-life the way John does in his first letter, chapter 2, verses 24-25, ‘As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and the Father. And this is what he promised us – eternal life’.

In short, he is saying, ‘let us not become weary in doing good – even when we’re relationally broken; even when we’re circumstantially defeated; even when we’re physically on our knees; even when we’re psychologically beaten up – for, at the proper time – when Jesus comes – we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’. That’s James’ message, but it’s ultimately God’s message to us in these final verses of Job.

This earth is not for the likes of Job’s vindication, or the likes of his restoration, or the likes of his increase, or the likes of his long-life. This world is not for the likes of his riches and it is not for the likes of his health. This world is not for his reputation or for his comforts.

But this world is for the likes of losing our lives for the name of Jesus, that we might gain them when he returns, and not lose them forever. Jesus said, ‘whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it’ Mark 8:35.

The way Christians move through this life then, is not sitting comfortably with our surroundings. It’s by living with eager expectation of a bettercountry than this one.

Our eyes are down to the earth so often, but they need to be lifted up to heaven. And with the joy that is set before us, be compelled to run our race with endurance, and perseverance and patience.

If we endure we will also reign with him. If we consider him who endured so much opposition, we will not grow weary and lose heart. If we persevere and endure for his name’s sake we will not fail to receive a commendation. And even though we groan as in the pains of childbirth, waiting eagerly for our adoption to sonship, we do so, knowing that, if we imitate those who exercised faith and patience, we will inherit what has been promised. Or as James says, knowing that ‘we will receive the crown of life’.

Job couldn’t see ahead and know that God would restore his blessings. But we have a better hope than he had. We are guaranteed by the Holy Spirit of God, that if we endure the trials of life, for the sake of Christ, we will be vindicated, we will be restored, we will be richly rewarded - we will, indeed, inherit eternal life. 2 Corinthians 1:21 says, ‘He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come’.

Our greatest challenge then, is our riches and comforts, our NHS even, for we have every reason, because of them, to put our hope in this world. But, we have to know that it will leave us wasted in the end. John says, ‘the world and it’s desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever’.

The church of Christ, brothers and sisters, needs an Abrahamic revolution. One where we learn to stand by faith on the promises of God. One that looks squarely by faith unto the resurrection of the dead. And one in which we live by faith in a country we do not call our own, but wait for a heavenly country that is better by far.

What is the book of Job ultimately in the bible for? It’s there to show us that, by the grace of God we are counted righteous in his sight, but that there’s still residual pride to be dealt with.

It’s there to remind us that suffering is one of God’s tools to purify his people.

It’s there to tell us that the Devil is real and he really wants to eat our faith but that God is sovereign and purposeful in all he does.

And it’s there to remind us that there is a hope stored up for us in heaven - an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs these light and momentary troubles of ours.

That we live in mere shadowlands – an echo of a far-off country that no eye has seen and no mind has conceived of.

Therefore, just as James teaches us, Job becomes our example of not walking away from God when the going gets tough, but like him, standing firm and being patient, because the Lord’s coming is nearer now than when we first began!


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