“After Job interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune- and then doubled it!”
Have you ever really been going through a difficult time and had those whom you thought were your friends deeply hurt you? The faces that come to mind when you hear the phrase, they “kicked you when you were down”. That is where Job found himself. He had lost everything, his fortune, his family, and his health. In the midst of the worst days of his life, those whom he called friends came to his side. Oh, they weren’t there with words of comfort or encouragement. On the contrary, they were beside him dishing up their plates of pious condemnation. They were quick to judge Job and tell him all his problems were a result of his own sin. WOW! I’ve had some tough encounters with “friends”, but this is bad.
They had their verbal battles and then God stepped in (Job 38-42). He quickly reveals to Job where he is missing it and reminds him of Who God is and who Job isn’t. Then, God turns to the “friends”. He rebukes them and commands them to offer burnt offerings on their own behalf and then have Job pray for them. Now, this jumped out at me, first of all, because of all they had said. They were so quick to act all righteous, because their lives were going smoothly and to judge Job, because his life seemed to be falling apart. So, to have them now offer a sacrifice and hear GOD say that the one man they had deemed the wicked sinner and been judging so harshly is now the one that would intercede for them was huge. I would say that was a pretty big slice of “humble pie” to eat, wouldn’t you say?
The second part that stood out to me was from Job’s perspective. You see, after all this time of suffering (and we’re talking deep pain emotionally, physically, and financially), and his friends making matters worse, he now had to pray for them. In turn for all the ‘headaches” they caused him, he was now suppose to specifically ask God to “not treat them as they deserve”.
This seemed astounding to me, until I remembered the previous chapter where God had first addressed Job. You see, it was after Job’s encounter with God where he was reminded of his own desperate need for God and his own inadequacies that he was then able to be obedient to God and pray for those that deeply hurt him. God accepted Job’s prayer on their behalf and they were blessed, because of Job’s prayer. It says, “after Job prayed for his friends, God restored His fortune – and then doubled it!”
So, those names that came to your mind earlier, the ones that have hurt you deeply, have you prayed for them. I mean prayed that they wouldn’t get what they deserve. Have you come to the realization, like Job, that we are nothing without God and it is HE who ultimately controls all things (Job 41:11 & 42:1)? I know this is tough, but there are amazing blessings that follow. Just look at Job (Job 42:10). His blessings were doubled, but it wasn’t until “after he prayed for his friends” (the ones that weren’t quite so friendly!) What blessing is God waiting to pour out to you, but He is waiting for you to recognize Him for Who He is, trust, and obey Him?
May the Lord reveal to us any grudges we may be holding onto. May He bring a face to our mind’s eye that we need to intercede for and give us the love and capacity to lift them up in prayer. Our gratitude over the reality that we don’t get what we deserve will show up in how we love those who deeply wound us. I praise the Lord that He is in control of ALL things, and we can trust Him to do what is right, just, and fair, even when we don’t understand!