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Introduction to Job

The ending is what troubles people.

Job 42:10-17 (ESV)

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.

The book of Job bothers people. They’re troubled by the ending – where Job is blessed with more children and other things. “What about his first children?” they say, “They’re still dead.”

His blessings at the end are nice, but let’s not kid ourselves. It’s hard enough to replace a pet dog. You can’t replace a child, and this book doesn’t suggest that you can. That wouldn’t just be wrong; it’d be offensive. Job has a much deeper message.

There’s a lesson people need to learn before the day comes when they need it. God’s ways are higher than our ways – and we’re not smart enough to understand them.

But you can’t learn that while you’re in pain and doubting everything you thought you knew. You have to study it while your head is clear, and you can work through the hard questions without getting overwhelmed.

The creator is much more powerful than the kind of God who might, say, live on Mount Olympus. Creation is absolute power, including power over all the rules – plus dominion over time. Thus God concerns Himself with things that we don’t even have a clue about.

In this book, God teaches this to Job, and to us, through an incredible sequence of events.

The point of this book is to teach humility. Let’s get a head start.

Everyone has plenty of reasons to be humble. We’re sinners and we’ve done things we regret. One of the great things about grace is that we don’t need to be in denial. Being forgiven means we can be honest with ourselves. This healthy attitude helps us learn from our mistakes.

Spend a few minutes recalling why you need God’s grace. Don’t obsess on your flaws – you’re forgiven – just be humbled by them and prepare to watch Job be humbled too.

To download a free study guide containing the first six Job devotionals, plus some discussion questions, go here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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