Year B – Proper 25 – Job 42:1-6, 10-17

Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’  Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  ‘Hear and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’  I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. . . . And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.  And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.  Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house.  And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him.  And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.  And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.  And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.  He had also seven sons and three daughters.  And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch.  And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters.  And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.  And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations.  And Job died, an old man, and full of days.

Summary – Coming on the heels of God’s rebukes to Job and one of his answers, this second “answer” of Job to God’s rebuke closes the section and, effectively the book of Job.  After his words, Job and God do not converse at all for the rest of the book, at least in the narrative given us.  This should tell us something about Job’s answer:  it was acceptable to God.  Job acknowledges the shortcomings of his attitude and words to God and repents of them.  Interestingly, Job draws a contrast between his prior knowledge of God, before everything that happened to him, and his later knowledge of God.  The prior knowledge was through the “hearing of the ear,” while the later knowledge was based on his “seeing” of God.  In verse 11, we also find that Job’s friends comfort him for “all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him.”  It is that calamitous and evil circumstance that showed Job God.  Finally, Job’s fortunes are restored more than he had before, enjoying the “covenant blessings” of seeing his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Insight – Have you ever heard someone say, “I wish I could see God.”  Or “Why can’t God just give me a sign, so that I know He is there?”  But if we believe that God is in control of everything, then everything we see is a sign of His work.  It gets even more specific, though.  Are you blessed with Christian parents?  Are you blessed to have your education be in a Christian context at school or at home?  Do you have food to eat every day?  That shows us God.  Job shows us that even the worst things that happen to us allow us to “see” God!  What we need, is to accept that what we are experiencing is God’s handiwork.  If we can accept that, we can answer like Job: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

Child Catechism – What should you do when you don’t understand what is happening in your life?  Trust in God’s perfect plan.

Discussion – Read about John the Baptist in Matthew 7:10-13 and Jesus in Matthew 26:57-68.  What was the main problem with those who dealt with (killed) each of them? (Parent hint: people didn’t recognize who they were)  Do you really think that if you could see God, you would definitely know He was there?  What are some ways you can look at the events of your life and see God?

Prayer – Lord, your power is beyond our searching and your plans beyond our thwarting.  Keep us from doubting your wisdom when we don’t understand your work. Forgive us when we attempt to judge things that are beyond our comprehension, and impart deep faith in our hearts that comforts us in our lives’ trials.  May we truly see you through your interaction with our lives.  Amen

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