Satisfaction with Life's Reward
Book of Job 42:10-17 A Living Commentary
How do you handle difficult testings? A lot has to do with who you trust in difficult times. There is no doubt that God acts as a expert coach to get us through the difficult times with as little scratches as possible. The only problem is that many of us have not learned how to trust God in such circumstances. God is there to help and bring us through, but we simply don't turn to Him. This leaves us only one alternative. Try something else. Unfortunately, the evil one and his evil purposes often lies hidden behind each of this alternative. His intention as can be easily seen through sections two and three is to bring the worse pain and despair as possible. Satan doesn't want us to recover.
Some people get so preoccupied with the severe testing that they lose sight of God. Some of course with their wrong theology don't believe God allows troubles come to His people. But others for other reasons just insulate themselves from the One who specializes in caring for them in such situations. Some harbor bitterness in their own hearts. Others are too upset from having their 'toys' of the world taken from them. It is a shame. Their narrow perspective of their lives on earth keep them from living in the light of eternity's hope. They dwell in a tunnel of pain even when they could have left it. They don't dare look out and see if the storm is over because they are so angry inside. They need to convince themselves that they are right about how mean God or the world is. It was only after Job forgave his friends and prayed for them that he found the blessings that God reserved for him.
Sometimes it seems that God is far from us but if our minds are taught by scripture, we know that He is very near during the difficult times. Faith comes from the Word of God. Fear comes from feelings. Fortunately, my children haven't had to visit the hospital much, but when they have, my wife and I have had great concern for them. Actually the word 'great' is an understatement. We have extreme concern for them. It is so painful for a parent to see their child suffer pain or danger. We do our best to be as close to them as possible. God our Father is in the same way very concerned. There are no hospital rules to keep Him from our presence. He specializes at being with us where others can't be: in wrecks, hurricanes, earthquakes, quarantine, refugee camps or war. Instead we have wonderful promises like, “I will be with you even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
We must resolve to walk by faith. Trials are those times when what we see does not seem to match up with what is true. We are tempted to turn aside from our faith and walk into darkness of lies. Hebrews 11 is a monument of those godly saints that held on to their belief in God and His promises. What do we see when we examine their lives?
We find that at the end they were hailed as brave soldiers who have fought well. They are the ones that are richly rewarded for enduring in their trust in God.
But we need to recognize here that their real reward was not received on this side of life on earth. Job received a great reward. But if we pay special attention to the way this reward is presented, it is easy to see that his real reward was not on earth but in the new heaven and earth to come.
Job’s reward came as a result of God’s blessing. It was double because God wanted to make it double. Even his family doubled in size. God wants to richly reward His faithful children. In this account, Job is rewarded double of everything but his children. His other children are left in heaven for when he meets them and the final and full reward is given. This reward is like a new life for Job. Everything is new, doubled and much more grand. His ongoing long life gives us the picture of heaven without really taking us to another scene of heaven.
This final scene (section 5) parallels the first scene (section 1). Job is very blessed. Except for Job's devotion, one might wonder if he was just another rich billionaire. From scene two and four we find that God is there all the time but hidden in the spiritual world. He is active and observant of all that occurs. He even gets very involved in what happens to His people. God doesn't worry about the arguments about free will. He simply does what He wants. He works in a close way with His people so that they might grow into their share of blessings that God wants to give to them.
The New Testament has a wonderful picture of this whole process. Our Heavenly Father is the vine keeper. He works with every vine so that it bears the most fruit possible. From the verse below we find that His purpose is clear: He wants the vine to bear more fruit.
"Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2)
We just need to remember that the righteous will be pruned so that they might bear more fruit and gain greater rewards. We will not have the curtains drawn back on our lives for us to see. We did get to peek at Job’s life. It was one to emulate. Job confessed that what he had was all from God's blessing. He inherently had nothing. Naked he came into this world. Sometimes God gives us much and sometimes less. But the point is that how we handle our lives will directly be related in what eternal blessings we will receive. Tests, then, are opportunities to gain more eternal rewards. The trials that we face are chances for us to show the Lord how much we love Him. The Giver of good gifts is incomparably greater than the gifts themselves, and yet they are associated. Devotion and reward are connected.
God was not Job's enemy but friend. The Lord desired to advance Job. He wanted Job to be doubly blessed and used this opportunity to train him. God so finely tuned Job's suffering and pain to bring about greater results than would have occurred without the pain. This is always the case. Of course in the end we need to properly respond to Him.
The reward came about when he forgave his friends and fully accepted them (Job 42:10). And so it will be with us. Real blessing only comes after we put aside our bitterness and forgive others as the Father forgives us. Grace is released only when we extend it to others.
God knows how to best implement the pruning of the righteous man. He knows what the branch can take. His purpose is to cause it to bear more fruit.
The Lord assures great rewards to the faithful.