Is the book of Job’s “happy ending” tacked on? Is it a sort of reassurance, to make the reader breathe easy again after emerging from the wringer? No. Job’s happy ending is a resolution that deserves the word “profound.” As ever with God’s work in a person’s life, Job’s character or inner self is more important to God than Job’s “doings.” Thus, the provided-for life that Job ended up with was not provided until he prayed in selfless fashion for his three unworthy friends (Job 42:10).
We are also told that Job’s sufferings were “all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). Everything that happens to us comes from God. “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Such truths challenge us no less than they challenged Job, but they are also responsible for leading Job (and us) to a right understanding of the God who provides eternity—even if it is through earthly difficulties. God’s purposes are eternal as he weans us from earth and woos us to heaven.
God’s purposes are eternal as he weans us from earth and woos us to heaven.
Finally, Elihu’s prediction of how Job’s life was supposed to end, actually came true: “If [people] listen and serve [God], they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness” (Job 36:11). “Job died, an old man, and full of days” (Job 42:17), with his losses restored and possessions increased (Job 42:12–16). Even his children were doubled, if one considers the existence of those already in eternity with those new on earth. As the expression goes, “It’s never too late.” We could also say, on the basis of Job, that things are never so bad that God is not present and “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Of course, for many of those who suffer in this world, prosperity and pleasantness await fulfillment in the new heavens and new earth, but this reality is no less real for those of faith. Through Job we learn that God will do whatever is necessary to claim the hearts of those he loves. His eternal love is solace, sufficiency, and satisfaction for all whose ultimate hope is in him.
It’s the old, old story, of Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus the tax collector, Peter the denier, James and John the Sons of (raging) Thunder, Paul the Christian-tracker, and Cornelius the sideliner. And us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.