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What has Job learned through this whole book?

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Bible passage: Job 42:1–17

Job 42

 1 Then Job replied to the LORD:

 2 “I know that you can do all things;
   no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
   Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
   things too wonderful for me to know.

 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
   but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
   and repent in dust and ashes.”

 7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

 12 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

 16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Knowing God better
God’s questions in chapters 38 to 41 are not difficult to answer. The answer to almost every one is, ‘Yes, you can do that. And that. And that. Yes, you are in control. Nothing is beyond you.’ And this is how Job now responds (v 2).

God hasn’t really told Job anything he didn’t know before. God hasn’t explained himself. Or apologised. Or revealed what went on behind the scenes in chapters 1 and 2. Job hasn’t physically seen God. But God has widened Job’s vision. And now Job knows God better than he did before (vs 3,5).

More precious than anything
So it is for us too. God’s ways are higher than our ways (see Isaiah 55:9). And above all else, God wants an intimate relationship with us. And sometimes what he permits in our lives draws us to cry out to him and see him more truly and depend on him more firmly.

And so the accuser’s question in 1:9 has been answered: ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Job and you and I fear and worship God because he is God – and we are not. He is in control – and we are not. And when everything else is stripped away, he is more precious to us than all we may have or have lost or never had.

Mark Ellis


Suffering is not a sign of God’s anger. Material blessings in this world may come and go (vs 10–17; see 1:13–19). But God gives us himself. And he is altogether good and worthy of all praise.

Deeper Bible study

This final chapter of Job first brings out Job’s response to the Lord’s second speech (vs 1–6) and then his vindication and double restoration (vs 7–17). The latter section serves as the epilogue of the book. Instead of remaining silent, Job gives a sufficient answer to God this time. His statement in verse 6, ‘Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes’, gives the impression that Job confesses his sin. However, the context doesn’t suggest that God treats Job as a sinner who needs to repent. Job’s obscuring God’s plan without knowledge is no doubt corrected by God (verse 3) (see Job 38:2), but speaking of things without understanding them is not sin. Otherwise, the Lord will not commend him twice as his servant and as the one who has spoken the truth about him (vs 7,8). Furthermore, God designates Job to intercede for his friends, a gesture of vindicating Job.

It is possible, however, to understand verse 6 differently. (1) The word ‘myself’ doesn’t appear at all in the Hebrew text. (2) The Hebrew ma’as (‘despise’ in NIV), used with an object, often means ‘reject’. (3) The words nhm ‘l (‘repent’ in NIV) can mean ‘change one’s mind about’. (4) The term ‘dust and ashes’ refers to mourning or lamenting and in this sentence can be taken as the object of both verbs. Thus, as Wilson suggests, this verse is best translated ‘Therefore I reject and turn away from lamenting.’1 Why does Job change his attitude? Because his encounter with the Lord has given him first-hand experience of God, surpassing all the second-hand knowledge he had in the past (v 5): ‘My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you’. Such a life-changing experience infuses new faith and hope in Job – he is no longer mourning and lamenting.

1 Wilson, Job, p207

Alison Lo

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When I walk through suffering (Until the day)
Paul Baloche, Steven Curtis Chapman, Stuart Garrard, Israel Houghton, Tim Hughes, Graham Kendrick, Andy Park, Matt Redman, Martin Smith, Michael W. Chris Tomlin, Darlene Zschech
© 2008 Gloworks Limited for Compassionart (Registered with the UK Charity Commission No.1124708)

Song: Here I am I'm a soul set free (Blessing)
Composer: Matt Redman
Artist: Matt Redman
Album: Beautiful News
Publisher: Survivor Music
Copyright: Copyright © 2006 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs:

  • Sue Hanson | Friday, 20 July 2018

    When all the treasures of this world are stripped away, you Lord are more precious than anything we have or have lost or never had....

  • Rachael Hampton | Saturday, 21 July 2018

    A new perspective, more light, a fresh revelation of You Lord. Yes please! Amen. And amen Matt (and thanks for the song Barbara), Gilvin. Loved your joy filled comment Emma, and praising God with you Peter M, and praying for a great time at Calvert. I appreciate every comment, and pray blessings on every member of our WL family.

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