©  Jeff Stacey   |   Last updated: 24 February 2019

3B(JOB)27.  God responded favorably to Job and others, in grace:

(a)  God initially acknowledged that Job had maintained his integrity despite his severe losses and sufferings
(b)  God did not respond at all while Job and his critics were debating with each other
(c)  After all the debates ended, God interrogated Job concerning his radical questions and statements about Him
(d)  God finally confirmed that what Job had said was right
(e)  God forgave Job’s three critics and Job’s wife
(f)  God vindicated Job by restoring and blessing him abundantly

Cycle 1

3B(JOB)27(a) God initially acknowledged that Job had maintained his integrity despite his severe losses and sufferings

3B(JOB)27(a)(i) After the loss of all his possessions and children

Although initially not said by God directly, it was stated that Job’s response was morally positive following his first severe testing Job 1:22.  This verdict was later confirmed directly by God to the Satan Job 2:3c.  So God had made Himself known TO the Satan THROUGH Job’s first severe testing!  That is, Job had carried out God’s Covenantal commission.

3B(JOB)27(a)(ii)  The significance of the Book of Job

This first cycle of testing gives a vital clue to the core theme and significance of the whole Book of Job.  Up to this time it had appeared that God’s blessing and favour were the direct or “automatic” consequences of keeping His requirements [2A11(a, b) and Arrow 2B26 -> 2B27;   3A11(a, b) and Arrow 3B26 -> 3B27].  Conversely, people were warned against the dire consequences of not keeping God’s requirements [1A12, 2A12 and 3A12].  It all seemed to be just a simple matter of cause-and-effect sequences.  So people could be expected to be motivated by personal advantage to keep God’s requirements in order to obtain His blessings and avoid troubles.

But this was precisely the Satan’s accusation against Job.  He alleged that Job only “feared God” out of self-interest rather than due to wholehearted devotion to God.  So the Satan challenged God to test and expose Job’s true motives.  He incited God to withdraw His blessings even though Job was “blameless and upright”.

Only for this purpose of exposing Job’s motives, God had then permitted the Satan to test Job in this extreme way!  So the judgment-like events that resulted were not the consequences of any major disobeying of God by Job Job 2:3.  Instead they were intended by God to result in an accomplishing of His primary purpose, as Job carried out God’s Covenantal commission [3A11(b)].

This raised several basic questions for Job and others.  Were God’s responses to people more complex than just simple cause-and-effect sequences?  In other words, the nature of the Arrows 26 -> 27 in this and each of the previous Charts was being wrestled with.

The Arrows 27 -> 24 also represented great dilemmas.  Why did God allow ongoing acute heart-testing situations to occur for good people?  Could bad things actually happen to good people?  Conversely, could bad people still have good life-circumstances?  Questions.  Questions!

This all focused on the central question of how God pursued His primary purpose in the lives and interactions of all people [3B24(b)].

God’s blessings were generous and important, but they were not His primary purpose [1A8(sub-title)].  He was primarily intending to make Himself known TO and THROUGH people.  His essential requirement to achieve this was that each person must be wholeheartedly committed to Him [3A11(b)].  So God’s priority was to clarify and deepen each person’s commitment to Him.  For this reason His responses were not necessarily immediate and did not exclude further difficult situations.  It was on this basis that God permitted the Satan to test Job so severely.

This was highly significant in relation to how God was accomplishing His primary purpose.  By permitting the Satan to attack Job, God Himself had in effect initiated Job’s terrible heart-testing situations!  Why??  God’s intention was to make Himself more fully known TO Job and his critics and even TO the Satan.  But this was to be THROUGH Job’s responses to his awful sufferings – as well as THROUGH the theological dilemmas his calamities caused for each of them!

God had declared that only Job was uniquely capable of carrying out His Covenantal commission by fulfilling such a terrifying role Job 1:8b,  2:3b.  So in that sense He was honoring Job extraordinarily with such a decisive opportunity to share with Him in accomplishing His primary purpose.

Continue to Cycle 2 [3B(JOB)24(a)(i.ii)]

Cycle 2

3B(JOB)27(a)(iii)  God again confirmed that Job had maintained his moral integrity

The same comment concerning Job’s continuing moral integrity Job 1:22 was repeated Job 2:10c.  As that first verdict had been later confirmed by God Job 2:3b it can be assumed that He also endorsed the second.

God made no response to Job’s wife or three friends.

Continue to Cycle 3 [3B(JOB)24(a)(iii)]

Cycle 3

3B(JOB)27(b)  God did not respond at all while Job and his critics were debating with each other

3B(JOB)27(b)(i)  God’s response

Despite the exceptional kindness of Job’s three friends and Job’s agonised questionings, God made no response.

Continue to Cycle 4 [3B(JOB)24(a)(iv)]

Cycle 4

3B(JOB)27(b)(ii)  God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Eliphaz and Job.

Continue to Cycle 5 [3B(JOB)24(a)(v)]

Cycle 5

3B(JOB)27(b)(iii)  God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Bildad and Job.

Continue to Cycle 6 [3B(JOB)24(a)(vi)]

Cycle 6

3B(JOB)27(b)(iv)  God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Zophar and Job.

Continue to Cycle 7 [3B(JOB)24(a)(vii)]

Cycle 7

3B(JOB)27(b)(v)  God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Eliphaz and Job.

Continue to Cycle 8 [3B(JOB)24(a)(viii)]

Cycle 8

3B(JOB)27(b)(vi)  God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Bildad and Job.

Continue to Cycle 9 [3B(JOB)24(a)(ix)]

Cycle 9

3B(JOB)27(b)(vii)  God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Zophar and Job.

Continue to Cycle 10 [3B(JOB)24(a)(x)]

Cycle 10

3B(JOB)27(b)(viii)   God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Eliphaz and Job.

Continue to Cycle 11 [3B(JOB)24(a)(xi)]

Cycle 11

3B(JOB)27(b)(ix)   God’s response

God remained silent in response to the speeches of Bildad and Job.

Continue to Cycle 12 [3B(JOB)24(a)(xii)]

Cycle 12

3B(JOB)27(b)(x)  God’s response

God remained silent in response to the three long speeches of Elihu.

Continue to Cycle 13 [3B(JOB)24(a)(xiii)]

Cycle 13

3B(JOB)27(c)  After all the debates ended, God interrogated Job concerning his radical questions and statements about Him

God had remained silent as Job struggled to cope with his sufferings and the accusations of his critics.  Only when all had ceased speaking did God respond to what Job had been saying.  Although He took up some of the themes raised by Elihu, God’s speeches were directed only to Job. He interrogated Job with multiple questions!

Elihu had just graphically described how God made Himself known TO people by means of thunderstorms Job 36:29-30,32-33,  37:2-3,4-5a,11b.  God then spoke to Job out of one! Job 38:1.

3B(JOB)27(c)(i) God’s first interrogation of Job

Previously God had twice commended Job to the Satan Job 1:8b,  2:3b.  But now God put a rebuking question to Job Job 38:2.  It is significant that this question focussed on Job’s lack of understanding of God’s “plans”.  This was surely a reference to His primary purpose [3B(JOB)(intro)8].  God then commanded Job to answer His questions! Job 38:3.

Although Job had repeatedly affirmed his moral integrity, he was now interrogated and called to account by God for things he had said.  So the seriousness of correct understanding of God, of true wisdom, was being severely expressed to Job by God Himself! [3B(JOB)(intro)7, 3B(JOB)(m)(iii.iii)].

God peppered Job with His first interrogation of 64 questions concerning wisdom! [3B(JOB)(intro)6].  What did Job really know about God and His ways?  His questions related to:

#  Planet Earth and its physical features (35 questions):-

–  the creation and formation of the Earth Job 38:4-6,7,14,18 and its seas Job 38:8-10,11,16 (9 questions)

–  authority over the dawn and mornings Job 38:12-13a (2 questions]

–  the sources and purposes of light and darkness Job 38:19-21 snow and hail Job 38:22-23 lightning and east winds Job 38:24 thunderstorms and rain Job 38:25-28a dew and frost and ice Job 38:28b-30 (13 questions)

–  control over the movements of the stars Job 38:31-33 clouds, rainfall and lightning Job 38:34-35,37-38 (11 questions)

#  Some aspects of the lives of wild animals and birds (25 questions):-

–  the giving of wisdom to ibis and roosters Job 38:36 (2 questions)

–  the provision of food for lions Job 38:39-40 and ravens Job 38:41 (3 questions)

–  the births of mountain goats and deer Job 39:1-2,3-4 (4 questions)

–  the freedom of wild donkeys Job 39:5,6-8 and roaming oxen Job 39:9-11,12 (10 questions)

–  the strange habits of ostriches Job 39:14-16 due to their lack of God-given wisdom Job 39:17. Yet although flightless they can run very fast Job 39:13,18 (0 questions)

–  the strength and aggressive behaviour of horses Job 39:19-20,21-23,24-25 (3 questions)

–  the flight, nesting and hunting by hawks and eagles Job 39:26-27,28-30 (3 questions)

#  The wicked and death (4 questions)

–  the wicked and the gates of death Job 38:12-13,15,17 (4 questions)

During this interrogation God taunted Job four times about his knowledge Job 38:4b,5b,18b,21.  This led to God twice briefly mentioning the core issue about the true source of wisdom Job 38:36-37,  39:17 again taunting Job about this Job 39:26.  God concluded by directly confronting Job with His last question and challenging him to answer! Job 40:2.

3B(JOB)27(c)(ii)  Some comments on God’s first interrogation of Job

Job had wanted to “present his case” to God.  He then claimed that God would vindicate him, based on the evidence he would present.  In other words, he thought he knew what God would do!

So God’s interrogation was primarily to “put Job in his place” on such grand claims.  God asked him multiple questions about his knowledge of God.  But obviously Job could not answer any of them!

This was another acute heart-testing situation for Job.  It challenged not only his understanding of God but also his complaining statements and accusing questions.

God did not question Job’s heart-commitment to Him.  In fact some of God’s questions and comments seemed to be rather humorous and playful Job 38:12-13,21,28-29,34-35,37b39:5,7.  He also seemed to just enjoy describing the female ostrich’s bizarre behaviour without raising any questions Job 39:13-16,17-18.  This all suggested that God really knew that Job’s heart was not a problem!

Although God was confronting Job, He was imparting knowledge of Himself and His creation (“wisdom”) TO Job.  He was showing Job that He alone was the source of true wisdom and good sense.  These were the gifts of God, not just attained by human capabilities or achievements.  Only God could make Himself known TO people!

Continue to 3B(JOB)26(p)

Cycle 14

3B(JOB)27(c)(iii) God’s second interrogation of Job

From within the storm God continued His interrogation of Job Job 40:6-7 with a further 23 questions!  God’s first two questions went to the heart of the matter Job 40:8.  These were in fact the Satan’s core attitudes to God.  The Satan had made accusations against Job in order to discredit God, assume sovereignty over Him and prevent His primary purpose from being accomplished [3B(JOB)22(sub-title)].

God’s next two questions about His power were also central Job 40:9.  God pressed this issue by challenging Job to match Him in splendour Job 40:10 or to unleash his wrath against every proud and wicked person Job 40:11-13.  Only if Job could do these things would God admit that Job could act independently of Him to “save” himself Job 40:14.

To further make Job realise how little he knew or could do, God then described the tremendous strength and power of two large animals that (like Job himself!) He had created.  These were “the behemoth” (possibly the hippopotamus or elephant) Job 40:15-17,18,20-22,23 and “the leviathan” (possibly the crocodile) Job 41:12,15-17,18-20,21-24,30-32.

God then peppered Job with another 18 questions about their powers:

#  Could anyone catch the behemoth? Job 40:24 (2 questions)

#  Could anyone catch Job 41:1-2 tame Job 41:3-5 sell Job 41:6 attack Job 41:13-14 or kill Job 41:7 the leviathan?  (16 questions)

It would be dangerous and futile even to attempt such things! Job 41:8-10a,26-28,29.

Yet even the leviathan, though first amongst all creatures Job 40:19a,  41:33-34 was totally under God’s power! Job 40:19b.

God then closed His “case” with two final questions.  If no-one could control these two great beasts, did anyone have power to oppose God or claim that He owed them anything? Job 41:10-11a.  He answered by immediately declaring His verdict:  all this was impossible because He already owned everything! Job 41:11b.

3B(JOB)27(c)(iv)  Some comments on God’s second interrogation of Job

God was again acutely challenging and testing Job’s heart-commitment by showing him that he was powerless and ignorant compared to Himself.

Yet as well as interrogating Job, God was also making Himself more known TO Job by again imparting knowledge (“wisdom”) of Himself and His creation in the lengthy passages about the behemoth and leviathan.  And again there were hints of playfulness and humour in God’s commentary on the leviathan!  Job 41:1,3-5,8,32

Continue to 3B(JOB)26(q)

Cycle 15

3B(JOB)27(d)  God finally confirmed that what Job had said was right

God twice gave His final endorsement of the rightness of all Job’s words Job 42:7b,8c. This was despite His interrogations and unanswerable challenges to Job.  God was confirming that despite what Job had said in all of his speecheshe had maintained his wholehearted commitment to God.

Continue to 3B(JOB)29(a)

3B(JOB)27(e)  God forgave Job’s three critics and his wife

As God had promised, He accepted Job’s prayer for his three critics to be delivered from His judgment Job 42:8b,9b.

As there is no mention of Job marrying any other women, it is assumed that his wife also bore his further ten children! Job 42:13.  This would indicate that God in grace had forgiven her previous sinfulness Job 2:9 [3B(JOB)30(a)].

3B(JOB)27(f)  God vindicated Job by restoring and blessing him abundantly

God restored Job’s blessings to levels double those before his calamities Job 42:10b,12b.  Job’s brothers and sisters and all who had previously known him now came to him.  They accepted his hospitality, consoled him and honored him with gifts Job 42:11.  So Job’s integrity and reputation were fully restored in their eyes, since God had obviously brought even greater favour upon Job than previously!

God renewed Job’s family to the same size as before, with seven sons and three daughters Job 42:13.  Job’s daughters were beautiful and he gave them inheritances along with their brothers Job 42:14-15.

Job lived for another 140 years after this, which was a further indication of God’s blessing Job 42:16-17.

God’s obvious final blessing of Job fully vindicated him.  It also provided a conclusive answer to the Satan’s accusations against Job’s motives.

By maintaining his moral integrity, Job had been carrying out God’s Covenantal commission.  Consequently God was making Himself known TO and THROUGH Job to his contemporaries, including the Satan himself!

[Continue to Arrows below]

Arrow 3B(JOB)26 -> 3B(JOB)27

This arrow indicates that God’s vindications of Job were His affirmations of Job’s wholehearted commitment to Him.  Nevertheless this confirmation was withheld for a long time.  So Job suffered and was confused by God’s silence and seemingly negative responses to him.

Therefore in pursuing His primary purpose, God was not bound to respond immediately in an “automatic” cause-and-effect way to Job’s responses.  This highlighted the major role of time delays in making heart-testing situations even more acute!  But God had declared beforehand that Job was a man of unique integrity, whom He purposely was going to let be tested severely to demonstrate that this was so.  By this means God would make Himself known TO and THROUGH Job to others.

Arrow 3B(JOB)27 -> 3B(JOB)24 

God’s primary purpose motivated Him to give all people further opportunities to keep His Covenantal requirements and carry out His Covenantal commission.

This applied even to those who had already responded wholeheartedly to God.

All Job’s acute heart-testing situations were occasions for renewed expressions of commitment to God by him and others.  Job never failed these tests but his critics only passed them initially and finally.

Continue to 4A(intro)