Summary: Job realizes that he is only mortal and human.
Job 42:7-17 “Eating Humble Pie”
The ending of Job reads like it was written by an American screenwriter. American plays and movies almost always have to have a happy ending. For forty-one chapters we have walked with Job through his suffering. The storyteller has tried to convince us that the good and bad that happens to us on earth is not God’s response to our sinfulness or our righteousness. Now in the last chapter Job’s fortunes are restored double fold and God threatens to punish Job’s friends because they have not spoken the truth.
Even though we can take issue with the manner by which the storyteller ends Job’s saga, we still can learn from Job. In these last verses we see several important elements that are part of living the abundant life that is ours through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
CONVERSATION WITH GOD
Job’s friends gave him a lot of advice. With calm assurance they accused Job of great sins and tried to convince him to confess and repent. They assured Job that God would then remove the curse that had been placed upon him. Job’s friends talked a great deal about God, but in the story of Job, they never talk to God.
Throughout his story Job talked to God.
• At times Job’s words were not pretty. In chapter three Job laments his birth and asks God, “Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire” (vs. 11).
• Job is bold in his conversation with God. He proclaims, “I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (7:11).
• There are times when Job expresses a note of hope in his conversations with God. In chapter nineteen he says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth” (19:25).
• At the end of Job’s story he confesses, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (42:2).
Job never stopped talking to God and his ongoing conversation is a good example for us as disciples of Jesus. Continual dialogue with God is an important activity in facing the challenges of life.
There are times when we are burned by life and we withdraw in a vain attempt not to get burned again. We might recall when our first “puppy love” relationships broke apart. Those were painful times and some of us may have vowed never to be as open, vulnerable and loving as we had been. After a time, though, we realize that we are missing out on life. We are hurting ourselves.
Job reentered life. He once again began to grow crops and raise livestock. Job had children and he blessed his children with an inheritance. Instead of being a “helicopter father” like he had been at the beginning of his story when he would cover the possibility of any of their sins with a sacrifice, Job gives his children the same freedom that God gives all of God’s creation.
Job reentered life know that there were no guarantees. Even though his fortunes were restored, Job did not know if his life would have a happy ending. There was still risk involved in the process of living.
TOOK DELIGHT IN THE WORLD
Job’s story ends with the assertion that “Job died, old and full of days.” He was able to enjoy the beauty of the world and the gift of life. He enjoyed four generations of his family. Job saw that his daughters were beautiful and he gave them names of hope.
Job lived his life with thankfulness and gratitude. Perhaps he was even able to appreciate life more because he realized how fragile life was.
As disciples of Jesus we walk by faith. We live in the reality of God’s presence, facing the risks of life with hope, and engendering a life of gratitude and thankfulness.