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The Comfort of a Wealthy Man

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. Job 1: 1-3

Yes – Job was a wealthy man. When and where he lived has not been precisely identified. But a fair guess would be that he lived in territory which is now part of present day Jordan – and in the sixth century BC.

Clearly wealth was reckoned in those days through livestock. Job had it all going for him. He would never need for anything. And he had children to inherit it all from him. His daughters are on the record as particularly attractive and beautiful.

But there was more. Did you notice (see bold above) that Job was “blameless and upright”? What could go wrong?

Well, it did – very much - go wrong. So the bigger question became, ‘Why did it go wrong?’

What went wrong? All his sons and daughters died together when a building collapsed. On that same day the Sabeans attacked his oxen, donkeys and servants in the south and took them away. From the north the Chaldeans took the camels and more servants. Lightning struck the sheep and all were lost. A while later Job contracted unrelenting and virulent skin disease. He was finished.


‘Affliction may be lasting, but it is not everlasting.’ (Thomas Watson, preacher and author, 1620-1686)

The eponymous book preserved in the national archives of Israel and later in the Christian Bible contains about 40 pages of fierce argument between Job and his friends as to the cause – the WHY – of Job’s awful suffering. It’s well worth reading.

But Jersey folk – especially successful men and women may appreciate a shorter answer to Job’s “Why?”

Job’s very own words in his own dust and ashes are on the final page of the book which bears his name. They are addressed to the LORD – the God of Israel, the God of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are they -

1. “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
2. Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
3.  I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and am comforted in dust and ashes.”

They need only a little thought, don’t they......

1. In all his suffering he had learnt one thing that he never knew before. Almighty God can do all things. And what he purposes to do cannot, ever, be thwarted.
2. In all his suffering and in all his arguments with his friends he had spoken many words. He now realises that his words were not just words – they were wonderful realities. He had, for instance, said :  I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
3. His knowledge – deep down personal knowledge of Almighty God had been transformed. He now saw himself for what he really was – he actually now despised himself – and was wonderfully comforted whilst still in his dust and ashes – comforted by the living God, his Redeemer.

‘You can’t get to tomorrow morning without going through tonight.’ (Elizabeth Elliot, whose first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca of eastern Ecuador, 1926-)

A worthwhile transformation? Job no longer needed to ask “Why?” He knew why. 

The book records the same wonderful truth: The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.

Richard Syvret

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