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Almost Happily Ever After

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Job 42:7–17

In the end, the tragedy that marked Job’s life is replaced with God’s abundant blessings. We may not find relief from our suffering in this life, as Job did, but he points to the wonderful truth that the suffering of the righteous is temporary and God’s blessing awaits them.


We come now to the last few verses in the book of Job. And I’m afraid that the average person is saying, “You know, Job had a rough go of it, but he ended up living happily ever after. Everything turned out perfectly in the end.”

Well, let me tell you, that conclusion is for shallow thinkers. Ask someone who has lost a child if having another child eliminated that hollow place in their heart. Ask someone who was abandoned by friends and family or someone who was the victim of a crime if they look at life exactly the same way they used to.

Let’s not come to the last chapter and say, “Hey, Job had ten more children, his diseases cleared up, and he got rich again”—as if this were some fairy-tale ending. No, believe me, Job will never forget what he lived through.

Job is going to have a deeper appreciation for his health than he ever had before; he is going to look at business and wealth with a different perspective; he is going to hold his children and grandchildren a little closer than he did in the past. And he will never forget those thirty-nine seconds back in chapter 1 when four messengers delivered the news that he had lost everything.

Now there are some wonderful things taking place here in this closing chapter. First of all, God is going to speak on Job’s behalf. Verse 7 says:

The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

Eliphaz represents Bildad and Zophar, and God publicly condemns their false counsel—and that must have done a world of good in the heart of Job. The fourth man, Elihu, isn’t mentioned. He seems to have disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

But these three counselors, so-called, are now called out for their uncaring, proud, pseudo-spiritual counsel continuously condemning Job as a rebellious man worthy of God’s judgment. Even though the Lord has rebuked Job for questioning His justice, Job had not experienced the judgment of God for secret sins.

Remember, Job was not suffering because he lacked faith; he was suffering because he was a man of faith. Indeed, God had made Job a lasting testimony that even when a believer is confused, God is still in control; and that even when a believer suffers, God still has His sovereign purposes for it.

So, God vindicates Job here—publicly. The Lord refers to Job as “my servant” four times here in verses 7 and 8.

God then tells Eliphaz and his two friends to prepare sacrifices for their own sinful pride. I love what God tells these three arrogant men here in verse 8:

“My servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly.”  

And with that, God begins to restore the blessings of health and life to Job. We read in verse 10:

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.

God also restores Job’s family circle, as noted in verse 11:

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 … And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.

Back in chapter 19, Job had mentioned in verses 13-14 that his family had basically deserted him.

So, picture the scene here, as the family is essentially showing up to apologize. And I have to think that it took a lot of grace for Job and his wife to forgive them—but they did. The idea of eating bread together signifies restored family fellowship.

 We are told here in Job 42:10, “The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Verse 12 gives us the precise number of livestock and cattle he now has, which is double what he had previously (see 1:3).  

Then verse 13 tells us that Job and his wife have seven more sons and three more daughters. Now you will notice that these ten children born after his suffering matches the number he had before (see Job 1:2); it isn’t double that number. But think about it: Unlike his cattle and flocks, his first ten children are not considered lost because they are alive with the Lord and he is going to see them again one day. So, Job and his wife effectively have twenty children now.

Finally, we read that Job lived another 140 years after all this suffering; and the last verse of the book, verse 17, says, “Job died, an old man, and full of days.” This is the Hebrew expression for being satisfied with a full life. And what a life he had!

There are many lessons to be learned from the suffering of Job. I personally think the greatest lesson of all is that Job had not been alone; although God was invisible, God had been present and involved all along.

As an undergraduate at the University of Colorado, William Frey spent a couple of hours a week reading to a fellow student named John. John was blind, but he was an eager student. 

The young man told William how he lost his sight in an accident when he was a teenager and how, at that point, he had given up on life. He was bitter and angry with God for letting this happen, and he took his anger out on everyone around him. He wouldn’t lift a finger on his own behalf and demanded that others wait on him.

When William Frey asked what had changed his attitude, John said, “One day, my father came into my room and started giving me a lecture. He said he was tired of my feeling sorry for myself. He said that winter was coming, and it was always my job to put up the storm windows, and that I was to get those windows up by suppertime tonight, or else! He shut the door and went downstairs.” 

“Well,” John said, “that made me so angry that I resolved to do it. Muttering to myself, I groped my way out to the garage, found the windows, a stepladder, all the necessary tools, and I went to work. They’ll be sorry when I fall off the ladder and break my neck, I thought; but little by little, groping my way around the house, I got the job done.”

Then he stopped, and his sightless eyes misted up as he said, “I later discovered that at no time during that afternoon had my father ever been more than five feet from my side. I didn’t know it until later, but all the while I was climbing up and down that ladder, muttering to myself . . . fumbling with the tools and sweating my way through that horrendous project—in the dark—my father had been beside me all the way.”[1]

There is the lesson.

  • Even when the heavens are silent, you can trust the heart of God.
  • Even when the world is filled with evil, you can trust the hand of God.
  • Even when you don’t know which way to turn, you can trust the will of God.

You are always in the presence of your ever-near, all-wise, forever-caring, gracious God.

[1] Adapted from Charles Swindoll, Getting Through the Tough Stuff (W Publishing, 2004), 224-25.

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