Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Job 42:10-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money[a] and a gold ring. 12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
The book of Job in the Hebrew scriptures is an ancient poem that is bookended by what many scholars believe is later prose. At the heart of the book of Job is the terrible suffering of a man who is completely blameless. His so-called “friends” harangue him relentlessly, saying that he must have done something to deserve his suffering while the reader knows he is a good person. It is a kind of satire pointing out how ridiculous it is to believe that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.
The prose sections at the end of the book is the attempt to resolve everything that has happened to him by “restoring” what he has lost twofold. But is that really “fixing” it? Job lost everything, including his family, and it is hard to see how getting double could make up for the losses he had suffered.
So, what are we to make of this? Perhaps the message for us is twofold and both speak to the human condition and remind us of important truths.
First, bad things happen to good people sometimes. If you read the book of Job carefully you will see that Job’s so-called “friends” come out looking ridiculous as they try to argue that surely Job has done something to deserve all his suffering. Job’s friends—and others who think that we always get what we deserve—are just plain wrong. The book of Job is a kind of satire on that way of thinking. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew that God “makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
Second, tragedy can strike anyone at any time, but it doesn’t have to mean that life ends and there is no future. Job’s life goes on, even though the losses he has experienced remain. Perhaps you have experienced the kind of tragedy in your life that makes you wonder if—and how—you can go on. The good news of our faith is that tragedy—even death itself—does not have the final word.
I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster