Job’s Reward—A Source of Hope
“Jehovah . . . blessed the end of Job afterward more than his beginning.”—JOB 42:12.
1. What does Jehovah do for his people, even when trials weaken them greatly?
JEHOVAH “becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Hebrews 11:6) He also motivates his devoted people to witness courageously, even if trials have made them as weak as dead ones. (Job 26:5; Revelation 11:3, 7, 11) That proved true in the case of suffering Job. Though maligned by three false comforters, he was not silenced by fear of men. Rather, he gave a bold witness.
2. Though they have suffered persecution and hardship, how have Jehovah’s Witnesses come out of their trials?
2 Many present-day Witnesses of Jehovah have suffered such great persecution and hardship that they have been near death. (2 Corinthians 11:23) Like Job, however, they have shown love for God and have practiced righteousness. (Ezekiel 14:14, 20) They have also come out of their trials determined to please Jehovah, strengthened to give a bold witness, and filled with genuine hope.
Job Gives a Bold Witness
3. What kind of witness did Job give in his final speech?
3 In his final speech, Job gave an even greater witness than he had previously given. He fully silenced his false comforters. With biting sarcasm, he said: “O how much help you have been to one without power!” (Job 26:2) Job extolled Jehovah, whose power hangs our earthly globe on nothing in space and suspends water-laden clouds above the earth. (Job 26:7-9) Yet, Job said that such wonders ‘are but the fringes of Jehovah’s ways.’—Job 26:14.
4. What did Job say about integrity, and why could he express himself in that way?
4 Certain of his innocence, Job declared: “Until I expire I shall not take away my integrity from myself!” (Job 27:5) Contrary to the false charges hurled against him, he had done nothing to merit what had befallen him. Job knew that Jehovah does not hear the prayers of apostates but will reward integrity keepers. This may well remind us that soon Armageddon’s storm will hurl the wicked out of their place of power, and they will not escape God’s unsparing hand. Until then, Jehovah’s people will walk in their integrity.—Job 27:11-23.
5. How did Job define true wisdom?
5 Imagine the worldly-wise trio listening as Job showed that man has used his skills to find gold, silver, and other treasures in the earth and in the sea. “But,” said he, “a bagful of wisdom is worth more than one full of pearls.” (Job 28:18) Job’s false comforters could not buy true wisdom. Its source is the Creator of the wind, the rain, the lightning, and the thunder. Indeed, the reverential “fear of Jehovah—that is wisdom, and to turn away from bad is understanding.”—Job 28:28.
6. Why did Job speak about his earlier life?
6 Despite his sufferings, Job did not stop serving Jehovah. Instead of turning away from the Most High, this man of integrity yearned for his former “intimacy with God.” (Job 29:4) Job was not bragging when he recounted how he ‘rescued the afflicted, clothed himself with righteousness, and was a real father to the poor.’ (Job 29:12-16) Rather, he was citing the facts of his life as a faithful servant of Jehovah. Have you built up such a fine record? Of course, Job was also exposing the falsity of the charges made by the three pious frauds.
7. What kind of person had Job been?
7 Job was laughed at by younger men ‘whose fathers he would not even have placed with the dogs of his flock.’ He was detested and spit upon. Gravely afflicted as he was, Job was shown no consideration. (Job 30:1, 10, 30) Because he was wholly devoted to Jehovah, however, he had a clean conscience and could say: “He will weigh me in accurate scales and God will get to know my integrity.” (Job 31:6) Job was not an adulterer or a schemer, and he had not failed to help the needy. Though he had been rich, he never trusted in material wealth. Moreover, Job did not engage in idolatry by giving devotion to inanimate things, such as the moon. (Job 31:26-28) Trusting in God, he set a fine example as an integrity keeper. Despite all his sufferings and the presence of false comforters, Job made a masterful defense and gave a splendid witness. His words having come to an end, he looked to God as his Judge and Rewarder.—Job 31:35-40.
8. Who was Elihu, and how did he display both respect and courage?
8 Nearby was the young man Elihu, a descendant of Nahor’s son Buz and thus a distant relative of Jehovah’s friend Abraham. (Isaiah 41:8) Elihu showed respect for older men by listening to both sides of the debate. Yet, he spoke courageously concerning matters about which they were wrong. For instance, his anger blazed at Job’s “declaring his own soul righteous rather than God.” Especially was Elihu’s wrath directed against the false comforters. Their statements seemed to exalt God but really reproached him by taking Satan’s side of the controversy. “Full of words” and moved by holy spirit, Elihu was an impartial witness of Jehovah.—Job 32:2, 18, 21.
9. How did Elihu hint at restoration for Job?
9 Job had become more concerned with his own vindication than with God’s. In fact, he had contended with God. As Job’s soul drew close to death, however, there was a hint of restoration. How so? Well, Elihu was moved to say that Jehovah favored Job with this message: “Let him off from going down into the pit! I have found a ransom! Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.”—Job 33:24, 25.
10. To what extent was Job to be tested, but of what can we be sure in view of 1 Corinthians 10:13?
10 Elihu corrected Job for saying that there is no profit in taking pleasure in God by maintaining integrity. Said Elihu: “Far be it from the true God to act wickedly, and the Almighty to act unjustly! For according to the way earthling man acts he will reward him.” Job acted rashly in emphasizing his own righteousness, but he did so without adequate knowledge and insight. Elihu added: “Let Job be tested out to the limit over his replies among men of hurtfulness.” (Job 34:10, 11, 35, 36) Similarly, our faith and integrity can be fully proved only if we are ‘tested to the limit’ in some way. Nevertheless, our loving heavenly Father will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.—1 Corinthians 10:13.
11. When sorely tested, what should we remember?
11 As Elihu continued, he again showed that Job was laying too much stress on his own righteousness. Attention should be focused on our Grand Maker. (Job 35:2, 6, 10) God “will not preserve anyone wicked alive, but the judgment of the afflicted ones he will give,” said Elihu. (Job 36:6) No one can call God’s way to account and say that he has been unrighteous. He is more exalted than we can know, and his years are unsearchably endless. (Job 36:22-26) When sorely tested, remember that our ever-living God is righteous and will reward us for our faithful activities to his praise.
12. What do Elihu’s concluding expressions indicate about God’s execution of judgment on the wicked?
12 While Elihu spoke, a storm was brewing. As it drew near, his heart began to leap and tremble. He spoke of great things done by Jehovah and said: “Do give ear to this, O Job; stand still and show yourself attentive to the wonderful works of God.” Like Job, we need to consider God’s wonderful works and fear-inspiring dignity. “As for the Almighty, we have not found him out,” said Elihu. “He is exalted in power, and justice and abundance of righteousness he will not belittle. Therefore let men fear him.” (Job 37:1, 14, 23, 24) Elihu’s concluding expressions remind us that when God soon executes judgment on the wicked, he will not belittle justice and righteousness and will preserve those fearing him as his reverential worshipers. What a privilege to be among such integrity keepers who acknowledge Jehovah as the Universal Sovereign! Endure as Job did, and never let the Devil draw you away from your blessed place among these happy throngs.
Jehovah Answers Job
13, 14. (a) Concerning what did Jehovah begin to question Job? (b) What points can be drawn from other questions that God asked Job?
13 How amazed Job must have been when Jehovah spoke to him out of the windstorm! That storm was an act of God, unlike the great wind Satan used to collapse the house and kill Job’s children. Job was speechless as God asked: “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? . . . Who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause?” (Job 38:4, 6, 7) Jehovah plied Job with one question after another about the sea, its garment of cloud, the dawn, the gates of death, light and darkness, and the constellations. Job could say nothing when asked: “Have you come to know the statutes of the heavens?”—Job 38:33.
14 Other questions indicated that before man was created and given dominion over the fish, fowl, beasts, and creeping things, God was providing for them—without any human help or advice. Jehovah’s further questions cited such creatures as the wild bull, the ostrich, and the horse. Job was asked: “Is it at your order that an eagle flies upward and that it builds its nest high up?” (Job 39:27) Of course not! Imagine Job’s reaction when God asked him: “Should there be any contending of a faultfinder with the Almighty?” No wonder Job said: “Look! I have become of little account. What shall I reply to you? My hand I have put over my mouth.” (Job 40:2, 4) Since Jehovah is always right, if we should ever be tempted to complain against him, we should ‘put our hand over our mouth.’ God’s questions also magnified his superiority, dignity, and strength, as displayed in creation.
Behemoth and Leviathan
15. Behemoth is generally considered to be what animal, and what are some of its characteristics?
15 Jehovah next mentioned Behemoth, generally considered to be the hippopotamus. (Job 40:15-24) Remarkable for its huge size, great weight, and tough hide, this herbivorous animal ‘eats green grass.’ Sources of its power and energy are in its hips and the tendons of its belly. The bones of its legs are as strong as “tubes of copper.” Behemoth does not panic in torrential waters but easily swims against the tide.
16. (a) The description of Leviathan fits what creature, and what are some facts about it? (b) The power of Behemoth and Leviathan may suggest what about fulfilling assignments in Jehovah’s service?
16 God also asked Job: “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook, or with a rope can you hold down its tongue?” The description of Leviathan fits the crocodile. (Job 41:1-34) It will not conclude a covenant of peace with anyone, and no wise human is so audacious that he would arouse this reptile. Arrows do not chase it away, and “it laughs at the rattling of a javelin.” Raging Leviathan makes the depths boil like a brewing pot of ointment. The fact that Leviathan and Behemoth were much more powerful than Job helped to humble him. We too must humbly acknowledge that we are not mighty in ourselves. We need God-given wisdom and strength to elude the fangs of Satan, the Serpent, and to fulfill our assignments in Jehovah’s service.—Philippians 4:13; Revelation 12:9.
17. (a) How did Job “behold God”? (b) What was proved by the questions Job was unable to answer, and how can this help us?
17 Completely humbled, Job acknowledged his wrong viewpoint and admitted that he had spoken without knowledge. Yet, he had expressed faith that he would “behold God.” (Job 19:25-27) How could that happen, since no human can see Jehovah and live on? (Exodus 33:20) Actually, Job saw the manifestation of divine power, heard God’s word, and had his eyes of understanding opened to see the truth about Jehovah. Job therefore ‘made a retraction and repented in dust and ashes.’ (Job 42:1-6) The many questions that he had been unable to answer had proved God’s supremacy and had shown the smallness of man, even one as devoted to Jehovah as Job was. This helps us to see that our interests are not to be put above the sanctification of Jehovah’s name and the vindication of his sovereignty. (Matthew 6:9, 10) Our prime concern should be maintaining integrity to Jehovah and honoring his name.
18. What did Job’s false comforters need to do?
18 What, though, about the self-righteous false comforters? Jehovah could rightly have killed Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar for not speaking the truth about him, as Job had. “Take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job,” said God, “and you men must offer up a burnt sacrifice in your own behalf; and Job my servant will himself pray for you.” The trio had to humble themselves to comply. Integrity-keeping Job was to pray for them, and Jehovah found his prayer acceptable. (Job 42:7-9) But what about Job’s wife, who had urged him to curse God and die? It appears that she was reconciled to him by God’s mercy.
Promised Rewards Give Us Hope
19. In connection with Job, how did Jehovah show His superiority over the Devil?
19 As soon as Job quit worrying about his sufferings and was revived in God’s service, Jehovah changed matters for him. After Job prayed for the trio, God ‘turned back his captive condition’ and gave him ‘all that had been his in double amount.’ Jehovah showed His superiority over the Devil by turning back Satan’s disease-infecting hand and miraculously healing Job. God also pushed back the demon hordes and held them at bay by again putting a hedge about Job with His angelic encampment.—Job 42:10; Psalm 34:7.
20. In what ways did Jehovah reward and bless Job?
20 Job’s brothers, sisters, and former acquaintances kept coming to eat with him, sympathize with him, and comfort him over the calamity Jehovah had allowed to come upon him. Each of them gave Job money and a gold ring. Jehovah blessed the end of Job more than his beginning, so that he came to have 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 spans of cattle, and 1,000 she-asses. Job also came to have seven sons and three daughters, the same number he previously had. His daughters—Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-happuch—were the prettiest women in the land, and Job gave them an inheritance among their brothers. (Job 42:11-15) Moreover, Job lived another 140 years and saw four generations of his offspring. The account concludes: “Gradually Job died, old and satisfied with days.” (Job 42:16, 17) The extension of his life was the miraculous work of Jehovah God.
21. How are we helped by the Scriptural account regarding Job, and what should we be determined to do?
21 The Scriptural account regarding Job makes us more aware of Satan’s devices and helps us to see how universal sovereignty is related to human integrity. Like Job, all who love God will be tested. But we can endure as Job did. He emerged from his trials with faith and hope, and his rewards were many. As Jehovah’s servants today, we have true faith and hope. And what a grand hope the Great Rewarder has set before each of us! Keeping in mind the heavenly reward will help anointed ones to serve God loyally for the rest of their life on earth. Many with earthly prospects will never die at all, but those who do will be rewarded with a resurrection in Paradise on earth, along with Job himself. With such genuine hope in heart and mind, let all who love God prove Satan a liar by standing firmly on Jehovah’s side as integrity keepers and staunch supporters of his universal sovereignty.
How Would You Respond?
□ What were some points made by Job in his final reply to his false comforters?
□ How did Elihu prove to be an impartial witness of Jehovah?
□ What were some of God’s questions to Job, and what effect did they have?
□ How have you benefited from the Scriptural account regarding Job?
[Pictures on page 18]
Jehovah’s statements about Behemoth and Leviathan helped to humble Job