God’s Renewing Word of Prayer
Job 42:1-17: The Book of Job is the story of a good and righteous man who suffers total disaster—he loses all his children and property and is afflicted with a repulsive disease. Then, in a series of poetic dialogues, Job’s friends and Job himself react to these calamities. Job cannot understand how God could allow such suffering to happen to him; and while he challenges God, he does not lose his faith. Today’s reading is the conclusion to the book and begins with Job responding to God by acknowledging that God is wise and great, and he repents of the angry things he has said. Because Job’s three friends failed to understand the meaning of Job’s suffering, God reprimands them and they are ordered to offer a sacrifice to avoid being punished. Job is blessed by God and his fortunes are restored with even greater prosperity than before.
1Then Job answered the Lord.
2I know, Lord, that you are all-powerful;
that you can do everything you want.
3 You ask how I dare question your wisdom
when I am so very ignorant.
I talked about things I did not understand,
about marvels too great for me to know.
4 You told me to listen while you spoke
and to try to answer your questions.
5In the past I knew only what others had told me,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6So I am ashamed of all I have said
and repent in dust and ashes.
7After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you did not speak the truth about me, the way my servant Job did. 8Now take seven bulls and seven rams to Job and offer them as a sacrifice for yourselves. Job will pray for you, and I will answer his prayer and not disgrace you the way you deserve. You did not speak the truth about me as he did.”
9Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did what the Lord had told them to do, and the Lord answered Job’s prayer.
10 Then, after Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had had before. 11All Job’s brothers and sisters and former friends came to visit him and feasted with him in his house. They expressed their sympathy and comforted him for all the troubles the Lord had brought on him. Each of them gave him some money and a gold ring.
12The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than he had blessed the first. Job owned fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, two thousand head of cattle, and one thousand donkeys. 13He was the father of seven sons and three daughters. 14He called the oldest daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the youngest Keren Happuch. 15There were no other women in the whole world as beautiful as Job’s daughters. Their father gave them a share of the inheritance along with their brothers.
16Job lived a hundred and forty years after this, long enough to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 17And then he died at a very great age.
Today’s Key Verse: Job 42:2
[Job answered:] I know, LORD, that you are all-powerful; that you can do everything you want.
The concluding chapter begins with Job’s final response to God. What does he say? What has he learned? What are your thoughts concerning the ending of Job’s story?
All-Powerful God, your thoughts are not like mine, and your ways are different from mine. You are a God of justice and mercy. Teach me your ways, O God, and help me to live in accord with your will. Amen.
Psalm 33: A song of praise