Summary: The restoration of Job.
A NEW VISION OF GOD
The prose narrative bookends of the epic poem which is the Book of Job provide us at either end with the same judgment of Job’s character.
Twice in the first two chapters the LORD taunts Satan with the integrity of Job (Job 1:8; Job 2:3). Twice Satan questions the motive for Job’s integrity. Twice the LORD gives a controlled permission for Satan to do his worst!
Job thereafter lost property, family, servants, health, and the support of his grieving wife (who mocks him for keeping his integrity, Job 2:9). At first Job was supported in the silence of his companions on the ash-heap, but then he was subjected to accusations and taunts which can only have added to his anguish. Yet ultimately the LORD is the only judge to whom the integrity of man must answer, and His verdict is announced to the astonished friends: despite all of Job’s complaints and questions, he is the one who has spoken of the LORD “the things that are right” (Job 42:7-8).
There are times when it seems that the LORD is far off, that He has withdrawn Himself from us. Sometimes this is on account of sin, as Job’s friends seemed convinced was the case with Job. Yet, as Jesus taught His disciples in the case of the man born blind, that is not always the cause (John 9:1-3).
Our sense of separation from God is only possible because we have a relationship with Him. In the case of Adam and Eve, it was God who, in His grace, came seeking after them (Genesis 3:8-9). In the case of the prodigal son, the young man first came to his senses, set out back to his father’s house - and found his father running out to greet him (Luke 15:20).
In the case of Job, he was pained and grieved that God seemed so evidently to have withdrawn from Him ‘without a cause’ (Job 2:3). Yet Job poured out his complaint to the LORD, questioned, bitterly complained, and cried out in his sense of desolation. The patriarch struggled to make sense of his bitter experience, that bad things happen to good people – but at no point did he blame anyone else, and neither did he cease to reach out towards the LORD his redeemer.