By David J. Stewart
When God Turned the Captivity of Job
Job 42:10, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
This is one of the most amazing Scriptures in the Bible. We read in Job Chapter one that God allowed Satan to test Job, so ultimately it was God who took everything away from Job. Job lost his children to death. He lost his wealth. Job lost his livestock, crops, and servants. Job's reputation was ruined. He lost the loyalty of his wife. Job finally lost his health and almost his mind.
To add insult to injury, Job's so-called friends wrongly condemned him, alleging that Job must be guilty of something, for why else would God bring such evils upon any man? They suggested that perhaps Job's children had sinned, bringing judgment and death upon themselves. Sadly, this is the retarded way many people still think today. Every time that something bad happens to anyone, they automatically assume God must be judging them. Not so.
God rebuked Job's hypocritical friends for being self-righteous and for wrongly condemning Job. God was purging Job, testing him, according to His divine plan and purpose. Another of Job's so-called friends said that Job needed to have a Charismatic experience. Job's friends were mere acquaintances more than friends, kicking him at a low-point in his life. This is typical human nature. The Prodigal Son had many friends when he had his father's wealth to spend, but when the money ran out he ended up eating corn husks with the pigs. No one befriended the Prodigal Son, no one cared about him, and all his fair-weather friends vanished. When the money ran out, so did his friends.
It would be understandable that Job would hate what his friends did to him, wrongly condemning him and speaking malicious words of discouragement against Him. What kind of fools would drive over a man's heart while he was grasping onto dead life? Job's children had been killed, all 10 of them. Job lost everything. And then his so-called “friends” blamed Job and said he must be guilty. What evil people. Ah, but Job took the high-road and prayed for his friends. The Bible tells us that this was the critical juncture, the turning point in Job's captivity that had ruined his life. God had something for Job to learn... OTHERS.
For Job to pray for his friends after all the evil words they had spoken against him, crushing his heart beneath their self-righteous feet, says a lot about Job. Most people would curse such friends as being enemies rather than friends; but Job prayed for them. God was waiting for Job to pray for those who were hurting him. There is a great lesson for all of us to learn from the account of Job in the Old Testament. Job prayed for his friends who despitefully wounded his heart with their razor-sharp words and wrongly condemned him. This is advanced Christianity 101. Very few believers ever grow in the Lord to the point when they are humbled enough to pray for those who curse them, hurt them, and despitefully condemn them.
Romans 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” What a precious Scripture! Who is he that condemneth? James 4:12, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” Only God has the right to judge. James 4:12 warns those who like to point fingers at other sinners, because God is the ONLY divine Lawgiver. Who are we to condemn anyone for their sins? Biblically, a hypocrite is anyone who views another person as being a bigger sinner than them self (Matthew 7:3-5).
Job's friends were self-righteous hypocrites, sinfully condemning Job. Even if Job had sinned, his 3 friends had no Biblical right to point fingers at him to condemn him...
Matthew 7:3-5, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”
Those who point fingers at others are bringing condemnation upon themselves for Judgment Day...
James 5:9, “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”
David's enemies condemned him unto his grave, because he had stole a man's wife and killed the husband. David was overwhelmed with grief and had to come to the realization that God was his ONLY Judge...
Psalm 51:4, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
David had to realize that he had only sinned against God, Who is the only Lawgiver. This is why Jesus said...
John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
The world cannot hate us because we did not make the Law, God did. When we proclaim the Word of God, preaching against sin, it is God's Law that we are defending and uplifting.
For example: God said in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” Therefore, we know that abortion is murder. God hates abortion. Over 51,000,000 babies have been murdered in the United States by abortion. The Supreme Court sinfully ruled in 1973 that an unborn fetus is not a human being. Ah, but Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knew Jeremiah before he was even conceived in the womb and God called him to be a prophet in the womb. Abortion doesn't stop a pregnancy, it only leaves a pregnant mother with a dead baby. Abortion is man's will verses God's will. If we preach against the sin of abortion as Christians, the heathen world doesn't hate us; but rather, God Who said, “Thou shalt not kill.”
The life of Job is fascinating and saturated with wonderful encouraging truths for believers today. One of the most dear of these truths is the fact that God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his rotten, cruel, and self-righteous friends. Jesus commands us to do likewise...
Luke 6:26-28, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
If we are to exemplify Christ in our life, then we must learn to turn the other cheek by loving our enemies, doing good to them who do us evil, blessing them who curse us, and praying for those who despitefully use us. We are living on borrowed time and this life is short. Let us redeem the time by laboring for Christ while we still can.
The Sevenfold Sin of Those Who Do Not Win Souls (video by Dr. John R. Rice)
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8
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