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  • Writer's pictureWil Librizzi

Devotional: Job's Reply

Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. (Job 38:3 NIV)

Then Job replied to the Lord : “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:1, 2 NIV)

Let's say God had a chat with Job. It was a serious talk. This conversation between God and Job transformed his life; it was a monologue that would maximize his potential. Conversations with God are powerful, and should be engaged in often. In fact, the book of Job is really nothing more than an array of extended conversations; Job conversing with his wife about his faith, his friends conversing with Job regarding the cause of his illness, and finally God conversing with Job concerning his sovereignty. When tragedy strikes we are inclined to talk about it. Talking is good. Now, the most significant conversation occurred at the end of the book we read about, God who talks with Job, and Job patiently and reverently listens to God.

The Bible actually offers us the script of this conversation so we can see what God had to say to the man who experienced incomprehensible loss. The themes are amazingly unexpected. So what did he talk about to this troubled saint? Well, it was not Job's struggle. Satan was not even mentioned. It was not Job's loss. Nor was it the cruel accusations of Job's friends. No, the conversation God had with Job was simply about nature. It was about His power as manifest in His creation. It was about His wisdom and sovereignty in all that is and was made. That is what God spoke to Job about.

As far as his friends go, well, God did not mention them. In fact, God simply told Job to pray for them for their inaccurate assessment of Job's situation and God's purpose. Yes, thirty chapters of misrepresentation and judgment on this suffering saint and God does not say a whole lot except to pray for them. Maybe we can take a lesson from that. We spend way too much time on the violations and misunderstandings of people. God did not want Job to develop a "woe is me" perspective because of how unfair they were in their judgement of Job and his situation. God maybe did not want Job to fixate on this, so he therefore, minimized it in his conversation. The message is clear: Don’t expect to be treated fairly by others, and when you are not, don’t hold it too close to your heart. Move on.

So God tells Job that He will question him, and Job must " answer" Him. In fact, the command to answer, or respond to God, was actually the only command God would give to Job. Yes, when God questions, we must answer. All of the time. The key really is not in the questioning of God, although that is important. Rather the key is in our self-reflection that is required before we answer God. Job listened and answered. You see, God understood that it is the answers or conclusions we draw that have the greatest bearing on our quality of life. We need to be careful about how we experience life, and even more careful about the answers we conclude from it. God would monitor Job’s answers.

Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:1, 2 NIV) Another translation reads that God can do "everything". What a picture of sovereignty. That is the message of Job, that in spite of loss and having nothing, God can do everything and no purpose of his can be thwarted. The evens of Job’s life did not just occur randomly. No,God had a purpose or as James states, God had “an intended end.”

That is faith. Lest we forget, Job did not affirm God’s sovereignty after he was restored of everything. No, that would not require much faith at all. Job's response suggests that God brought about the loss of everything, and that Job's tragedies were fundamentally part of the "purpose" of God. Now that takes faith. Job, even in the midst of the loss, can repent and "abhor" himself, knowing that God had a reason for it. And ultimately, in the proper time, he would experience again the blessing of God.

So Job in fact did answer God. His answer was clear and concise. It was important for Job to see sovereignty in his suffering. It was in the answer that he was a step closer to his restoration. Regardless of what happens, like Job, we believe that God is in control and we can trust him.

Father, today, regardless of my circumstances, I choose to trust you in all things. I understand that you have an end and purpose for all things, and that nothing of your plan can be thwarted. Therefore, I trust and wait on you to work mightily in my life for my good and your glory.

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