Job 42:7-17 – Beauty From Ashes

After God put Job on trial and displayed His power and goodness to Him, Job repents and turns to trust in God’s righteousness, not his own. Now Job has a new sense of God’s reality. It is more than intellectual knowledge or speculation. It is knowledge of the heart. He has tasted the goodness and power of the Lord, and now he sees. And the result is a broken and changed man. This is what God is after!

Today, we see God rebuke Job’s three friends’ wrong views and accusations of Him, He calls them to repent and offer sacrifices for their sin, and then blesses Job by doubling the wealth that he had before all this happened.

Let’s read the closing passages of Job together then we’ll unpack it: Job 42:7-17:

During the long debate (if you will) between Job and his three friends, his friends saw all justice working itself out in this life. But Job eventually broke through to the truth that much that is wrong in this sin laden world would be made right in the life after death (19:25–27). Job was right!

So God humbled these three friends by showing them that the very one they condemned was in fact the better theologian even if he was not perfect. And after we talk briefly about the beauty from ashes that God works in His children, we will address our own current false theologies about God and then repent and turn to God.

Beauty from ashes. This is what happens. Job was sitting on an ash heap outside of town and was the laughingstock of his town (Job 2:8; 29:1-25). He once had it all and quasi-acknowledged it was all from God (29:1-25). God brought him low, re-ordered his and his friends’ thoughts about Himself, and then brought a double portion to Job. There are many reason why I believe God restored Job’s fortunes, but here’s my top three:

1) To validate the truth that Job had come to. People would not believe Job’s new found theology (or his three friends’) in that culture, had God not restored Job’s fortunes. God always validates His truth! (Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jesus, Paul, need I go on…)

2) To have Job continue to bless others with the wealth God had given him (Gen. 12:2: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.) But our culture has taken a drastic turn, much like many other cultures who take care of number one to the neglect of those who need help. Tim Keller has this to say about our current cultural problem:

Our culture gives us a mixed message. It says: make lots of money and spend it on yourself; get an identity by the kind of clothes you wear and the places you travel to and live. But also do some volunteer work, care about social justice, because you don’t want to be just a selfish pig. However, Christians’ attitudes toward our time and our money should not be shaped by our society; they should be shaped by the gospel of Christ, who became poor so that we could become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).1

Here’s what Solomon says about this issue: Proverbs 25:16, “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.” Solomon seems to be speaking directly to the overindulgent affluent culture that has justified living in luxury by giving the religious ten percent tithe, then consuming more than enough honey for themselves and many others. It seems that Solomon is saying that this selfish overindulgence makes one sick, even to the point of vomiting, so that the body extricates unnecessary and harmful things within it.

Here’s what the Jeremiah has to say about this issue: Jeremiah 5:21-23, 28, 21 “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not. 22 Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? 23 But this people… 28 they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy…”

Here’s what Jesus has to say about this problem: Luke 12:33-34, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

I could go on and on. I’ve got pages of notes and verse that speak to wealth being hoarded, the way of the gospel being not just spiritual justice, physical justice for the poor, the needy, those who are in need. This is at the core of Jesus’ message (Luke 4:16-30; Matt. 25:31-46)

3) To show us a glimpse of our eternal glory we have with Jesus. Those who repent and turn to the Lord, God makes beautiful. And to come to the Lord, you have to realize your poverty, and your deadness without the Lord, then He makes beautiful what was once dead.

Isaiah 61:1-7: 1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; 6 but you shall be called the priests of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. 7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

Isaiah gives us a glimpse into this renewal that takes place in Christ. But there is so much more. I want you to see something. Let’s re-read Job 42:7-9 again and see a deeper meaning behind the restoration of Job’s wealth and health:

7 After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.

God tells the three friends to offer sacrifices and that have Job pray for them, then God will hear his prayer and show mercy to them. There is someone else after Job who does this, someone much greater. Except this man who came after Job was the perfect sacrifice, who God chose to inflict in many way, even unto death. And this perfect sinless man was Himself the sacrifice, and He Himself offered up prayers to the Father to not deal with man according to their folly.

This man is Jesus. He was not just blameless and upright, but He was perfect, the Godman who takes away our sins. Consider Romans 3:23: 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

And listen to the hope that this Godman, Jesus, brings to those who believe in Him by faith in His sacrifice and power over death:

Dead to sin (Rom. 6:11)
Spiritually Alive (Rom. 6:11)
Forgiven (Col. 2:13)
Declared Righteous (1 Cor. 1:30)
A child of God (Rom. 8:16)
God’s possession (Titus 2:14)
Heir of God (Rom. 8:17)
Blessed with all Spiritual Blessing (Eph. 1:13)
Citizen of Heaven (Phil. 3:20)
Set free from the power of sin (Col. 2:11-15)
Free from the Law (Rom. 8:2)
Crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20)
Victorious over Satan (Luke 10:19)
Cleansed from sin (1 John 1:7)
Declared blameless (Phil. 2:15)
Set free from the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:24)
Secure in Christ (1 Pet. 1:3-5)
Sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13)
Guaranteed inheritance (Eph. 1:14)
Granted peace (Rom. 5:1)
Loved by God (1 John 4:10)

I could go on, but time won’t warrant that. All this and we haven’t even gotten to Rev. 21 yet. This is the best part. Paul says that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 COr. 2:9)

Just what is Paul referring to. He’s referring back to our Lord’s words the night before he was betrayed and crucified: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7).

And the best picture we have of this place is found in Rev. 21-22. Let’s turn there and then close with this glorious hope that awaits those who trust Him.

Let’s pray!

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