As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
– James 5:10-11 NASB
Today’s passage comes from the New Testament, but it refers to the Old Testament and, specifically, to Job – the namesake of the book from which we’ve been quoting for the last few days.
James is pointing out the importance of endurance to his readers. He reminds us that those considered worthy in Old Testament times were those who endured suffering – that is, they were patient throughout the suffering, remaining faithful until the end. This was certainly the case with Job.
The conclusion of the book of Job shows that God restored all the fortunes of Job twofold! Before his trial, Job had 7,000 sheep; afterward, he had 14,000. Before his trial, Job had 3,000 camels; afterward, he had 6,000. Before his trial, Job had 500 yoke of oxen; afterward, he had 1,000. Before his trial, Job had 500 female donkeys; afterward, he had 1,000. Before his trial, Job had seven sons and three daughters; afterward, God gave him another seven sons and three daughters.
Why didn’t God give Job twenty children to replace the ten he lost? Because the first ten would eventually – through Jesus Christ who would come – be resurrected from the dead. This is one of the subtler ways that the Old Testament communicates that God would one day raise the dead.
Many people have heard of Job’s awful trial but few people dwell on the glorious outcome God brought about because Job faithfully endured the trial. What if Job had not been willing to endure? What if he had given up and cursed God as his wife had suggested? What if he had taken the approach counseled by his friends? The short answer to these questions is that Job would not have experienced the reward we see in the final chapter of that book.
Love endures. Job loved God, and we should endure, too.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord God, thank You for letting us learn lessons from Job and all the Old Testament saints. Because of them, we know that clinging to You in any and every circumstance makes all the difference in the world. Show me what I should endure in order to attain to the blessings You want for me…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.