God’s purpose in the midst of our tribulations
Jesus tells us that in this world we will have tribulation. He also prayed that God would deliver us from evil. The trials and tribulations that believers encounter today are NOT from God. They are a product of living in the fallen state of the earth because of sin. Jesus even encourages us to pray that God would deliver us from that evil in our lives, and we would be wise to do so!
Even as we consider Job’s life before Christ was revealed as the Savior of the world, we can see that Satan was behind the death and destruction Job had to endure.
Job’s trials brought him to a unique position in his life. He was one of the first, if not THE first man to ask God for a mediator. Job desired Someone to be an advocate for him before the justice of God when the accuser, Satan, brought up charges against him. He sensed that there was no one standing between him and the tribulations he interpreted as judgments against him, so he cried out in Job 9:32-33:
For He [God] is not a man as I am that I may answer Him,
That we may go to court together.
There is no umpire between us,
Who may lay his hand upon us both.
At that point in history, there was no Mediator before the throne of God; there were only mankind, God, and Satan. Satan went directly up to the throne of God to bring a charge against mankind, and there was no one to refute it.
As the book of Job progresses, we see the effects of this lack of mediation between mankind and Satan as we witness the groaning, the hopelessness, the confusion, and the depression Job endured throughout most of the book. He rightfully concluded that a Son of Man Mediator would be able to go between God and speak on man’s behalf. It’s amazing to me that as God was revealing this need to Job and to us, He already had Jesus in mind. God was also troubled that there was no salvation for His people, so His answer is outlined in Isaiah 59:16:
And He [God] saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.
Because Jesus was the Son of Man, He could come to our defense and be the interceder for us in all things with God. Because He was the Son of God, He walked in God’s righteousness and was without fault to walk boldly before God’s throne. Jesus was the culmination of all of our needs! He was the Mediator Job cried out for—IN THE FLESH!
God transformed Job into the answer of his own prayers
As things turned around for him, Job responded to the humility of his friends when they submitted to God and asked for Job’s help, and Job actually became a mediator between them and God. He became the person he asked God for.
Job had personal experience with feeling ostracized and rejected by God. He knew how rotten it was to be forlorn and forsaken. He had some empathy to draw from as he began interceding for his misguided friends. He chose to release the unforgiveness he could have justified against them, and instead prayed sincerely for God’s forgiveness and mercy in their lives. Honestly, they deserved to receive the same treatment Job had just gone through as they were blaming Job as the cause of it all, but Job’s intercession intervened between the wrath of God and Job’s friends. Honestly, it is a much scarier thing to be under God’s wrath than Satan’s! I’m sure Job’s friends heeded God’s warning quickly and immediately made their sacrifices and humbled their hearts before Job.
As Job reached the end of his understanding while in the Presence of God, he was able to let go of his right to have an explanation for his tribulations. God’s ways were higher than his ways. God’s thoughts were higher than his thoughts. God knew better than him, and peace was only found in trusting in His goodness and love for Job.
At this point, Job was able to release his need for vindication and turn to God on behalf of his friends and their foolishness. As Job became the mediator for his friends, something amazing happened for him. It’s as if the storm clouds cleared, the sun shone down from heaven, and he sensed God’s favor again on his life. Job 42:9 literally states, “and the Lord lifted up the face of Job.” God then also restored Job’s fortunes two-fold and gave him the same number of children again.
Everything Satan had stolen from Job, God restored two-fold. In this same way, everything Satan steals from us, God also wants to restore to us if we will trust in Him and obey what He asks us to do. He really does have wonderful plans for us, but sometimes we go through hard times on the way. Job didn’t know why he was having such trouble at the time, but he chose to trust God in spite of that and was rewarded with a greater understanding of God’s faithfulness as a result. We can have that same attitude of trust in the goodness and love of God when things just don’t make sense.
The book of Job shows us Jesus
It’s amazing to me how much of the book of Job speaks of Jesus Christ. He became the intercessor that Job’s heart cried out for. Because of His sinless/perfect life, he fulfilled the law’s demand to earn the good blessings and love of our distant Father. If we will accept Christ’s life as our own, He will finally be able to lavish His Presence and Power on us—to the glory of His love and grace-gift, Jesus. There is no other name whereby we may be saved. Our own names are not nearly good enough.