So our journey comes to an end. Job recognises his limitations and seems to move from a head knowledge to a deep, personal, cathartic moment of heart response to who God is. It changes his life. If this is what is going on then it’s all the more remarkable that Job has been so faithful to his God – remember the way he silenced his wife with the words: ‘Shall we accept good from God, but not trouble?’ As we know, there’s a deeper working out of the reality of good and evil that’s going on than Job realised, but it still reflects an extraordinary position of trust for a man who at the time acknowledged the reality of God but had not yet experienced him.
Worth noting that Job’s ‘seeing’ of God also causes him to see inwardly more clearly and his immediate response is to be more conscious of his own sinfulness, lack and it causes him to fall to his knees in penitence acknowledging his need for mercy. Interesting how in the Bible a greater revelation of the glory of God usually causes there to be a recognition of personal unworthiness, or uncleanness. It’s Job’s response; it’s the people’s response to Moses ((Ex 34:30); it’s Isaiah’s response (Isaiah 6); it’s Peter’s response (Lk 5:8); it’s the disciples’ response at the Transfiguration (Matt 17:6).
Are we missing a point here about the holiness of God inducing an appropriate sense of ‘fear’ in our lives that encourages us to lay ourselves under the microscope of his gaze. The early church is described as being strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, growing in numbers and living in the fear of the Lord. Today we really do emphasise the love of God, the intimacy, the nearness and yet this is a holy God we are turning too: in the words of Mr Beaver: is he safe? No, but he is good! Does it matter how we live our lives? Of course: so, for example, do we sit under or over the authority of his word?
I love happy endings. For Job, they all live happily ever after. The friends are told off but God places Job in the position of advocate: a type of Jesus whose prayer – presumably of forgiveness - is accepted. There was much rejoicing, prospering and blessing and Job eventually dies having lived an extraordinary life of gain, loss and re-gain. He reaps the ultimate blessing of a righteous man in seeing his children and their children all the way down to the fourth generation. We don’t always see the dispensation of justice in this life that Job received: faith tells us that one day whatever we have lost will be made up to us over and over again.
I pray for you today, that the Lord will grant you perseverance in suffering, faith in the midst of unanswered questions and will fill you with the power of His love to sustain you.