God is still in the whirlwind before Job and his friends. Job has completed his lesson. Now God rebukes his friends for their part.
Job’s friends contention all along was that God was punishing Job for some sin he had committed. They saw God as an exacting God who punished EVERY sin. His punishments were according to the severity of you sins. So their supposition was that Job must have sinned greatly. They also saw God as the one doing the inflicting of punishment. And they saw themselves as ‘God’s instrument of correction’ for their friend Job. They were wrong on all counts.
God called Job’s friends to repent for their ‘misrepresentation’ on all counts. He called what they did sin and they had to atone for it. They had to ask forgiveness from God AND Job. Their sacrifice had to be offered to God through Job’s hands, thereby covering both bases. God wouldn’t listen to their request for forgiveness unless they first made amends with Job.
Thinking about God’s directive to these three men, a couple of things occurred to me. First of all, it was absolutely necessary that they bore witness to God talking to Job. If they had not been able to hear God’s words or at least His meaning, they wouldn’t have believed Job when he told them. They were already classifying him as a wicked man; one God would NOT speak with. By letting them bear witness, they saw God’s regard for Job and they changed their view on his situation. I wonder what they felt when God started talking directly to them. Did it terrify them? I probably would have wet my pants!
The second thing that occurred to me is that Job could have chosen not to forgive his friends. If Job had held a grudge because his friends accused him of being a wicked man, there would have been no forgiveness for them. But Job rightly decided to intercede on their behalf. I’m pretty sure God would have held his unforgiveness against him as sin if he hadn’t. And God knew that he would forgive them when He spoke to them. His instructions to them about their offering already concluded that Job would be praying for them. There was no ‘IF’ included; only a ‘when’.
I wonder if the relationship between these men changed after this day. Did they become closer? Did the three friends respect Job more or did fear of him creep in? How did Job see them after this encounter? Was he wary of them after seeing them turn on him? Did he fully forgive them and go as far as to forget the experience? What about our youngest participant? What became of him? What was his relationship with these four men and how did it change afterwards? His words are what softened Job’s heart enough to bring him to the point of listening to God’s correction. Did Elihu become known for his wisdom, even though he was young?
Thank You Father for ‘publicly’ vindicating Job. You knew exactly what was needed for his life and his future. You know what is necessary for my life too. Thank you for helping me stand my ground with the workman today but also for softening my heart in the exchange. I pray that You will have Your way in his life as fully as You did in the lives of Job’s friends. My complaints were grounded but my anger needed Your temperance. Thank You for that tempering Father.