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.
I. THE REVERSAL.
1. A true reversal. Job's troubles have come to an end. That was a long avenue of fire which he was made to pass through; but the terminus was reached at last. Man may be "born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7); but he is not born to everlasting trouble. St. Paul writes of "our light affliction, which is but for a moment" (2 Corinthians 4:17). Present distress is not a presage of future evil. The very blackness of the clouds that gather about our heads in the dark hour prevents us from seeing the distant prospect where sunshine awaits those who are faithful in trial. There is room for hope, even if we see no light, for though trouble may be lengthy, love outlasts it; "the mercy of the Lord endureth for ever."
2. A Divine reversal. Satan inflicted the blows, though with the permission of God. It is God himself who brings back prosperity. Through whatever channels and instruments evil may come upon us, good comes from the hand of God. Satan simply disappears from the drama. His bold assertions are so absolutely refuted, and he is so completely discomfited, that he passes into oblivion. In the day of the Lord, God's action is everything.
II. ITS OCCASION. Why did the reversal come when it did? Why not earlier? Why not later? The note of time is significant. God reversed the fortune of Job "when he prayed for his friends."
1. In humility. Job was first brought very low. His fidelity had been severely tested, and it had stood the strain. Job did not "curse God and die." Satan's charge was abundantly refuted. Job was not serving God only for the profits accruing from religion. Disinterested devotion was proved to be possible. Yet Job was not faultless. At least there were advantages to be gained by discipline. It would have been cruel to have used him as an unconscious example for the settlement of a question with which he had no concern, like the victim of vivisection. This was not the case. Elihu showed how God trained and educated his children in the school of affliction. Job had been to that school, and there he had learnt humility and a true appreciation of the greatness of God, whom man cannot judge.
2. In kindness. Job bears no grudge against his three friends. He intercedes for them in genuine concern for their condition under the wrath of God. When he shows a forgiving spirit God is most merciful to him. This is not the formal return of payment; but it is a gracious reward, and it is a favour shown to one who is fit to accept it. For we are never so fit to receive good fortune as when we are chiefly occupied in kindly concern for others. Selfish prayers do not bring a blessing. We are most blessed when we forget ourselves in praying for others.
III. ITS EFFECTS. Job's fortune is doubled. God never blesses imperfectly. He does not simply mend and patch up the broken life. He heals and renews and blesses with superabundant kindness. Job's fortune was but external. This was according to the ideas of primitive time& Christ has led us to look for higher blessings. The Christian Job may never recover his property or his health; and yet in his afflictions he may receive his greatest heritage of blessing from Heaven. But whatever be the form of God's blessing, it is great and wonderful. The Christian has more than a Paradise regained. The second Adam brings a kingdom of heaven that is more precious than the lost Eden. The soul that has been tried by fire has a richer inheritance in God than it ever had in the old days of peace. The discipline of sorrow is the key to wonderful treasures of heavenly joy. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.