Drama During Difficult Times Series
“Act Nine – The Drama of Restoration”
For the past two months we have been looking at the book of Job. We have been considering the book of Job as a series of nine acts played out on the stage of life. Each act shows us more and more what Job went through and gives us guidance as we seek to navigate difficult times. Job has been sitting for months on the ash heap suffering in intense pain from a life threating disease that was ravaging his body and suffering emotional anguish over the death of his children, the loss of his wife, and the loss of all of his possessions. For the past several weeks we have been listening to Job’s four friends, who had traveled from surrounding countries supposedly to sympathize and comfort Job, make a series of well-rehearsed speeches. Each of their speeches accused Job of being a hypocrite and his friends insist that God was punishing Job for actively engaging in sinful behavior. Job responded to each speech by trying to present a proper apologetic to his theologically messed up friends. Finally the Lord took center stage and showed Job that he had limited understanding of the ways of God and that he lacked the strength to fight the enemy that was threating his life. So, with a broken and contrite heart Job repents before the Lord. (Ps.51.7)
Act Nine – The Drama of Restoration
Today we will come to the last act in the book of Job. Welcome to Act Nine – The Drama of Restoration. Today we will see the Lord restoring Job’s health, his possessions, and his family. But before we look at today’s text I want to remind you that this wonderful restoration began with Job repenting at the altar of the ash heap. The place where Job had sat for months in misery became a place of worship and adoration to God. The place of Job’s calamity became Job’s church. What made the difference? God showed up and took center stage in Job’s life. No longer were Job’s losses at the center. No longer was Job’s disease at the center. No longer were his distracting friends at the center. God showed up and took center stage. And the Lord is here today ready to take center stage in your life. Brothers and sisters, we cannot expect the Lord to bring restoration if we continue to allow other things to be the center of our lives. We cannot allow the pandemic, the lost of a job, or the uncertainty of the future to be the center any longer. The Lord and His glory must be the center of our lives. If we humble ourselves and crown the Lord as the center of our lives we will experience the Lord’s restoration in every dimension of our lives. What I am saying is that the Lord will bring to us the same restoration that brought to Job. Maybe not precisely in the same form but in the same spirit and with the same design. How can I say that? Because we have the same God! The God who worked wonders and made His strength known to Job will work wonders and make His strength known to us today. (Ps.77.14)
Hear now the Word of God. Job. 42. 7-17:
After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years.
Job’s Friends Rebuked
Notice that directly after Job humbled himself on the ash heap and repented in dust and ashes the Lord speaks to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about Me, as My servant Job has. (42.7) The Lord addresses Eliphaz because he is probably the oldest and Eliphaz was the one who gave the first speech. (Job 4-5) But what the Lord said to Eliphaz in this rebuke is meant for all three. And what was the Lord’s message? Well, to state it mildly the Lord was not happy with Job’s friends. The translations range from “I am angry with you.” To, “My anger burns against you.” To, “My wrath is kindled against you.” The Lord is expressing His divine displeasure against them and tells them the reason for His anger twice saying, “you have not spoken the truth about Me.” (42.7, 8) Job’s friends have spoken lies about God, about His justice, and against His truth.
This reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s warning against false teachers in his first epistle to Timothy writing, “For some men . . . have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. (ITim.1.6-7) This sounds like Job’s friends. It is for this reason the Bible tells us, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. (Js.3.1) And now it is the time for stricter judgment to come upon Job’s three friends.
You might be wondering where Job’s fourth friend Elihu is and why God doesn’t include him in His righteous rebuke. Well, some suggest that Elihu is not included because his words were not as harsh as the others and that he was closer to the truth than his older companions. But I don’t buy that for one minute. Even though Elihu name is not included in the Lord’s condemnation I believe he is just as guilty as the others and possibility because of his immaturity and tendency to throw fits of rage the Lord thought it best just to dismiss him altogether.
We can imagine that Job’s friends were quite surprised by the Lord’s rebuke. They no doubt believed that their teachings about the Lord were true. But the Lord was angry with them because they had not spoken the truth about the Lord. As I said in earlier sermons the biggest problem these guys have is that they believe in a work driven righteousness. Their words made God out to be a divine parole officer rewarding people for good behavior and imposing punishment for bad behavior. The words were shrouded in spiritual concepts while being devoid of the gospel of grace. Lets take the position for a moment that Job had committed a trespass against the Lord, which he hadn’t. But if he had the gospel of grace would have compelled his friends to seek to restore Job with a spirit of gentleness. (Gal.6.1) But instead they distorted the gospel of grace and preached a rule keeping righteousness that earned rewards from God.
But I also want you to see that the Lord’s rebuke consisted of another dimension. The Lord contrasted their unfaithfulness with Job’s faithfulness calling Job, “My servant,” three times in two verses. (42.7-8) Listen, Job wasn’t perfect and everything Job said during the months of his suffering wasn’t a hundred percent correct. But it seems that Job’s words came from a heart lamenting to the Lord, whereas the words of his friends came from a judgmental heart. Therefore the One who knows the heart rebukes Job’s friends.
So the Lord told them to take seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. (42.8) Their words had been spoken against the Lord so a sacrifice must be presented to the Lord. But they were not to be the ones who offer the sacrifices. Job would be the one to offer the burnt offerings to the Lord.
By bringing the seven bulls and seven rams Job’s friends admit their guilt and demonstrate their need for the Lord’s forgiveness and restoration. Remember, the Lord Himself appointed the sacrificial system in Genesis chapter three when the Lord made garments from animal skins to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, which had been exposed by their sin. (Gen.3.21) The sacrificial system that the Lord appointed pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (Jn.1.29) Job would act as the high priest by receiving the offerings from these repented sinners, offer the burnt offerings to the Lord on their behalf, and intercede for them.
Job’s Friends Restored
So Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. (42.7-9) As Job, the Lord’s servant, offers the sacrifices for his friends he points to Jesus Christ, who as God’s suffering servant offered the sacrifice of Himself to appease the Father’s wrath against sinners. As Job acts as the high priest and prays for his friends he points to Jesus Christ, who as our great High Priest makes intercession for those who draw near to God through Him. (Heb.7.25) Once again, the book of Job is pointing beyond itself to the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ who gave Himself as an offering for sins and now lives to make intercession for us.
There might be those who might think that God is humiliating Job’s friends by making them go to Job with their sacrifices, ask him the offer those sacrifices on their behalf, and pray for them. But that would be a false interpretation of what is going on here. God is being gracious and compassionate to Job’s foolish friends who have been caught in a trespass and instead of issuing a harsh judgment against them gives them a visual representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and allows them to receive the benefits of the Christ’s redemption, the benefits that neither they, nor we, deserve. As Job prayed and offered sacrifice for those that had grieved and wounded his spirit, he represents Jesus Christ who prayed for His persecutors saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Lk.23.34) Can’t you see that God is not trying to humiliate Job’s friends? He is presenting the gospel of grace to them in visual form. God is not going to live out the lie that these guys spoke against God. God is going to live at the gospel of grace and offer them restoration through the types that point to Christ.
Job’s Fortune Restored
After this great portrayal of God’s redemption through Christ we are told that the Lord restored Job’s fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. (42.10) The Lord was good enough to restore Job’s wealth to him, even though Job never asked for this. Job’s agony was always more rooted in the more spiritual aspects of his crisis instead of the material. But now that the spiritual had been restored the Lord restores the material. It is interesting to see how the Lord restored Job’s fortunes. We see all of Job’s brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. (42.11) The Lord used the generosity of others to restore Job’s fortune. There is no more merciful act than to see someone who is hungry and give them something to eat. Or someone who is thirsty and give them something to drink. Or someone is homeless and give them somewhere to stay. Or someone who is naked and clothed them. Jesus told us to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. (Mt.25.34-40)
And here we see Job’s family and neighbors showing mercy to the one who had been downtrodden for months. Through each one giving Job just a little piece of their abundance supplied everything needed for Job to get back on his financial feet.
We see at the opening of the book of Job that Job was a good businessman and his financial success earned him the title as “the greatest man in the east.” (1.3) But now instead of 7,000 sheep Job has 14,000 sheep. And instead of having 3000 camels Job has 6000 camels. And instead of 500 yoke of oxen Job has 1000 yoke of oxen. Once again we see the two-fold blessing of God poured out on Job’s life. (42.12) The Lord took away and now the Lord gave back but this time it was twice as much as before. (1.21; 42.10) Job had learned that there were things that he didn’t have the capacity to understand or the strength to overcome but he had discovered that if you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God He will exalt you at the proper time. (IPt.5.6)
Job’s Family Restored
And he also had seven sons and three daughters. (42.13)
Verse thirteen tells us that Job also had seven sons and three daughters. (42.13) We learned in chapter one that Job enjoyed a wonderful relationship with his ten adult children until one day they were killed in terrible tornado. The physical lost of his kids was Job’s greatest tragedy and nothing could ever replace those kids in Job’s heart or mind. But here we see that Job’s double blessing extended to his family in that the Lord blessed Job with ten additional children. You see Job knew that his original ten children were with the Lord and that one-day he would be with them again. (2Sam.12.22) And Job knew that eventually his entire family, all twenty children, would one-day be together forever.
Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters. (Job 42.15a) The names of Job’s daughter are given in verse fourteen, which describe their beauty. The oldest Jemimah means “Turtledove.” The second Keziah means “Cinnamon.” And the third Keren-happuch means “Horn of Beauty.” But what is interesting is that Job loved these girls so much that he granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. (Job 42.15b) There’s nothing like a father’s love for his beautiful daughters! That’s why the Lord gave me all boys because He knew I would give the farm away if I had girls.
Job’s Restored Life
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. (42.16) What a blessing to be a testimony of God’s grace to four generations. I can only imagine the stories Job could tell about the greatest and majesty of God in the midst of difficult times. And the book of Job concludes telling us that Job died, an old man and full of years. (42.17) The idea behind this phrase “full of years” is that Job died when he was “satisfied with this life.” After a hundred and forty years Job was willing to die being satisfied with his days. What a tremendous blessing to go to grave being satisfied with the life that the Lord gave you. Yes brothers and sisters, godliness with contentment is great gain. (ITim.6.6)
Throughout this series I have insisted that Job’s spiritual struggle was to understand how God was getting any glory from his suffering. And even though there are many ways this question could be answered, I think the conclusion of the book shows us the best answer. Job’s contemporaries and four generation that followed his suffering were given a glimpse of the great Redeemer that was to come through the life of Job.
Let me summarize: Even though Job was rich, he was emptied of all the things that were precious to him. He was stricken and suffered greatly. His peers rejected him and cursed him, leaving him to die. But through all of this, Job humbled himself and was obedient to the Lord and His word. Therefore, God exalted him and bestowed upon him a double portion of the wonderful glory that he previously enjoyed. Don’t you see it? It’s the Gospel!
As we come to the conclusion of this great drama it is clear that the book of Job is a drama of redemption. A foreshadow of the great drama of redemption that would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Cor.8.9)
He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil.2.7-11)
Brothers and sisters, I think the greatest way we can glorify God, even in the midst of difficult times, is to emulate Christ. And that is exactly what Job did. As we have linked together Job’s declarations of faith we have see that Job believed in a divine mediator – a divine advocate – a divine intercessor – a divine redeemer. As I mention before, it is remarkable that Job uses this word “Redeemer” saying, “I know my Redeemer lives and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” (19.25) This “redeemer reality” shows that the gospel of grace was fully realized and understood in the oldest book of the Bible. And of course, because we live in a day when God’s revelation is complete we can look back at Job’s declarations knowing that he was speaking of Jesus Christ the only mediator between God and man (I Tim.2.5), the Redeemer of God’s elect. Brothers and sisters, let’s be the people that emulates the “redeemer reality” to the world today. Let’s be a testimony of God’s grace and mercy even during difficult times so to that generation to come will glorify God and pass along the gospel of grace to future generations.
Call to Prayer
We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (Js.5.11)
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Ps.115.1)