Lots of people know the story of Job from the Bible, about how God punished him.  That story isn’t true (it was the Devil doing it).

Fewer people know all the suffering that Job went through, how his friends counseled him to confess all his sins.  His wife even told him to curse God and die.

Even fewer know the ending of the story, where God spoke to Job and then restored everything he had before.  That part isn’t true, either.  God restored his family (same wife, new group of kids), and twice his flocks.

The important part of all this, the really interesting, make you sit back and go “wow” part, is God’s requirements.  God did give Job a good talking-to (Job 38-41), reminding Him who created and controls everything.  Hint: it’s not Job.

Then at the beginning of 42, Job repents and acknowledges God as his Master.  Then God beats up on Job’s three friends

I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.

and tells them to go sacrifice 7 bulls and 7 rams.  Not at the temple, but at Job’s place.  And then,

My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.

So there’s some more correcting going on.  Is it manipulative?  Sure it is!  God created us and owns us, and wants us to believe, think, and behave in certain ways.  One of those is relationship to others.  Job might have come out of this thing feeling high and mighty, and despising his former friends.  But God enforced that relationship, made sure that they all stayed connected.  Did it work?

So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.  After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.

God waited to make sure that Job had learned his lesson as well.  Which he did – not to get the blessings that flow from God, but to be in right relationship with God and men.

All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him

Everyone who had known him before.  That would include Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  They were Job’s true friends again.  And the Bible doesn’t say, but I’m betting they were also in right relationship with God and men.

That’s what God wants, and what we need to do.

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