I said last week that all of God’s stories have a happy ending. I can think of no better title for our final study than that. Happy is the man who is the subject of God’s gracious dealings even when they result in afflictions like those Job endured. In the end it shall be well with him. In His time, God will turn his captivity even as He did Job’s. Job suffered greatly. With regards his children and his business, his loss was total. Who amongst us can envisage such devastation? But now it has come to an end. What wonderful power our God has. From the dreadful state into which he had been plunged by his woes, Job is translated into a state of abundance. His latter end was greater than his beginning. Such is what God can do.
In the verses before us we learn afresh of the unchanging ways of God. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope, Romans 15:4. What good would such records be if God had altered? Since God’s ways never change, then we may learn from the record of Job’s experiences.
Our outline is simple. We shall commence by observing:—
I. HOW JOB’S AFFLICTIONS ENDED
Our text say that God turned the captivity of Job. Devastation is of the devil but restoration is of God alone.
1. See the term used of Job’s affliction. Captivity. When Satan obtains power over us it is captivity indeed, II Tim 2:24-26. The sufferings of Job, like the drowning of the swine of the Gadarenes, Math 8:31-32, serve to show us the cruel nature of our great enemy. Young people, be convinced of this and heed the warnings lest you fall victim to his cruelties. How inescapable is Satan’s hold. For one thing, Job and his friends did not seem to see Satan’s hand in the tragedy. For another, no one could suggests a way out for Job. He was a captive.
2. See the term used of Job’s deliverance. The Lord turned the captivity of Job. The first occurrence of the word is in Gen 3:9. It speaks of a gradual returning by Adam unto dust. The change from affliction to prosperity was a gradual thing for Job. Some aspects of it would have been almost instantaneous such as his health and a sense of God’s blessing and joy. A little more slowly would have been his honour, his wealth and slowest of all would have been his family.
Learn the lesson that the transformation from slave of Satan to the blessed of God involves a gradual process as well as an instantaneous change of status. While instantly delivered from Satan’s power the deliverance from the consequences of his power was wrought over a period of time. What a change follows God’s blessing!
3. There is here a figure of the glory to which God’s people are journeying. The bliss of Job’s latter end is but a very small foretaste of that which is reserved in Heaven for the saints.
II. WHEN JOB’S AFFLICTIONS ENDED
When he prayed for his friends. He had humbled himself before God, 5-6. But God required that he pray for his friends.
1. Here is an Old Testament practice of a New Testament doctrine. Matt 6:12, 14-15, 18:35.
2. Victory hinged upon praying for his critics. Until he passed from sorrowing for himself to interceding for his companions, Job had not passed into victory. Self-concern gave way to concern for others and then VICTORY. It was another aspect of dying to self. Grace reached its fulness when he prayed.
3. God would have us be like the Lord Jesus. Go to my servant Job, verse 8. We ought to be channels of blessing to those around. We ought to be kings and priests, Rev 1:6, I Peter 2:5.
III. WHAT FOLLOWED THE TURNING OF THE CAPTIVITY
The LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
1. The security there is with God’s gifts. The word gave means to join to. It could not be taken from him, I Peter 1:4. There is no such security with any of this world’s goods.
2. Note that our standing with men depends upon God’s favour. Then came, verse 11. As it was with Joseph, Gen 39:21, and as Nehemiah clearly understood when he prayed, Neh 1:11, so let us see this truth.
His family did not just commiserate with him but made a collection for him, James 2:15-16.
3. Our business depends upon God. Never think that you will serve God to the hurt of your business, Matt 6:33. Businesses will ONLY flourish under God’s blessing.
4. Our families will flourish under God’s blessing. In giving him the new family that He did, The Lord thus doubled Job’s family, his first awaiting him in heaven.
There were times when Job believed God had been his enemy, 13:24, 33:10. But now that he has seen the end of the Lord he no longer can think such a thing.
Dear Christian, let us learn from Job never to doubt the outcome that God has planned for us. See in God’s dealings with Job a pattern for His dealings with all His people. The trials of a Christian are but blessings in disguise. The last days of a good man ought to be His best days. Is that not what Pro 4:18 refers to? But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Job would no longer desire what he had in 29:2.
So let us with faith look to the future for it will be brighter by far than our past.