I was reading my Bible the other morning and I noticed something in Job that I had not previously noticed.
I was on my way to Psalms in my Bible whenever my eyes fell on certain words of Job in chapter 42. I had highlighted a verse that became dear to me during these past couple of years. My faith in God has become my own personal faith and I have developed my own relationship with Him. That is why I had highlighted the following verses:
Job 42:5-6 “My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
Then I continued to read to the end of chapter 42. That is where I saw something that really struck me about forgiveness and receiving God’s blessings. The verses at the very end of Job told me that God was not pleased with Job’s friends because they had not spoken the truth about Him like Job had. God told them to take a sacrifice to Job to be offered up for them and that He would hear Job’s prayer and not deal with them according to their error! And after they did what God told them and Job prayed for them, then that is when God blessed Job and restored to him more than what he had lost during his time of testing!
OK… Did you catch that? We all hear about how God blessed Job and restored to him more than he had lost. We hear about Job’s patience and endurance. We hear that God rewarded Job because he did not curse God.
I think it is of utmost importance that we realize that God did not bless Job until AFTER he forgave his friends and prayed for them!
Here is the verse: Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
The other important thing to notice is that Job’s friends did do as the Lord told them to do and took their offerings to Job for him to offer up for them and to pray for them. Then, the Lord accepted Job’s prayer for them and did not deal with them according to their folly.
Here are the verses: Job 42:7-9 “After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 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.’ 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.“
Now, the end to this story is stated very simply and the emotional aspect is easy to overlook. I do not believe that it was easy for Job to forgive his friends who did not comfort him during his time of testing. I do see that because he had a real encounter with God and did himself repent in dust and ashes, that it probably was a lot easier for him to forgive them and pray for them than it would have been before his time of testing. There is another whole lesson in that…. But I want to acknowledge that forgiveness is not an easy thing for us to give. But that does not let us off of the hook!
What I learned from Job 42 is that God did not bless Job and restore to him all that he had lost until after he prayed for his friends that had hurt him. I see that Job came to a personal revelation knowledge of God and humbly repented before Him. But that alone did not secure his blessing from God. God knew Job’s heart and knew that He could trust Job to obey Him, to forgive and to pray for the friends that had hurt him. After this was done is when God blessed and restored Job.
I have been learning more and more about forgiveness. The words that Jesus said when He taught us how to pray have been sticking with me a lot more in the past couple of years. Seeing this lesson in Job about how Job prayed for his friends reminds me that Jesus said that if we do not forgive those who hurt us, then God will not forgive us….
That is pretty heavy.
Jesus said that we are to forgive those who hurt us in some way seventy multiplied by seven times… in a day… that is as much to say as always forgive your brother or sister (Matthew 18).
Also, in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells the parable of the ungrateful servant who was unwilling to forgive as he was forgiven. Jesus said that all who behave in the same way will receive the same punishment from the Heavenly Father that the ungrateful servant received. The ungrateful servant was handed over to be tortured until he repaid all of his debts.
I don’t know about you, but I do know that I could never repay anyone for the hurts that I have caused in my lifetime to others. I do not want to be turned over to be tortured. I am beginning to see just how much I have been forgiven and I am so grateful. I am so grateful that I do wish for others to also be forgiven so that they can receive the blessings of God and know His love.
I truly believe that if we would stop holding one another captive to the sins of our pasts, that we see many more blessings for not only ourselves, but for others. I truly believe that forgiveness is one of the keys to the kingdom of heaven. I truly believe that if we will allow God to reveal His love to us that we will be more like Him and the entire world would be a much more pleasant and less painful world.
**There is a great book out there called Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall that I read many years ago. A Christian Counselor referred me to this book when I told him about how I was molested for many years as a child. I honestly believe that because God led me to forgive and I was able to do so from my heart with His help that I became able to receive more of God’s love. The book, Total Forgiveness, gives a Biblical definition of forgiveness and brings forth references from Scripture that allow truth to come in and bring healing. You can find more about R. T. Kendall and his book at: https://rtkendallministries.com/total-forgiveness-2
~Angela Dingler 1/8/2016 *from my morning on 1/4/16