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Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Job Experience # 20

"And the Lord Turned the Captivity of Job, When Job Prayed for His Friends"

Now, because Job willingly accepted the Lord's Way in his life, the Way of the Cross, it would seem that the Lord would immediately restore all that Job had lost! - but this is not what happened, not immediately that is. After Job had made his anguished confession before the Lord, the Lord immediately turned His attention to Job's friends:

"An it came about after the Lord had spoken these  words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has" (Job 42:7).

The Lord was angry with Job's three friends because they had not spoken what is right of the Lord, as Job had. Now, this cannot be speaking of all the things that Job and his friends had said in chapters three through thirty-seven; because Job had said as many good and as many unwise things as his friends had. No, the Lord is referring to Job's confession found in Job 42:1-6: the confession which acknowledged that the Lord's purpose could not be withstood! - the confession which acknowledged Job's lack of truly knowing his Lord in reality! - the confession that  resulted in Job's repentance, as he came to the end of himself and said, "I abhor myself" - which is saying, "I abhor my good self as well as my bad self." No, Job's friends had not spoken the right thing of God, or to God; because they had not come to the end of themselves; they had not cried along with Job: "I abhor myself." And the Lord's anger is kindled against them.

Why? What is the reason for the Lord's anger? The Lord is angry because they have not truly shared Job's experience. When one or more of the Lord's people are going through the purging and chastening [child training] work of the Lord, there is always a Divine principle involved; and the Divine principle is this: God has purposed that His purging and chastening wok should be a corporate experience. When a brother or sister in the Lord suffers, whether it be those with whom we are closely associated or whether it be those we only know in the Spirit, God has purposed that the work being done in their innermost being should also be done in ours. Remember that Daniel and others always prayed, "we have sinned."

Job's friends had thought all along that Job had done something wrong and needed to repent; and in one sense they were right, for there is always something in our lives that can cause us to miss the right Way of the Lord. Only Christ is Perfect! However they were wrong, in that, they could only see Job's problem and not their own. They loved Job, and we are sure that they rejoiced at Job's repentant heart; and they probably thought the Lord had answered their prayers for job, - but it had not occurred to them that they too were missing the right Way of the Lord! It had not occurred to them that they too should "abhor" themselves.

Beloved, the purging and chastening work of the Lord is always a corporate work; and when one of our brothers or sisters is in the midst of a "Job experience," this experience should also do a similar work in us. And if their suffering does not bring us to a place of crying, "I abhor myself," then we are missing the right Way of the Lord.

Job's friends had thought that Job needed prayer when, in fact, their need was greater than Job's. Therefore, the Lord said: "My servant Job shall pray for you." Job's friends loved the Lord, and they immediately "did according as the Lord commanded," they yielded to the chastening hand of the Lord. And even though Job is still in the midst of "infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses," the Lord calls upon Job to pray, to intercede, for his friends - friends who could not comfort him; friends who at times, had made his situation even worse. But this does not matter to the Lord or to Job, for the Lord has prepared Job for just such a time as this; thus, the Lord calls upon Job to pray for them, to comfort them "by the comfort wherewith (he, Job) was comforted of God."

Now, Job was by no means perfect, for the Lord knew that there was much more work to be done in him; but the Lord also knew that He could now flow by His Spirit unhindered in and through the innermost being of Job. Job had always been a vessel of prayer, but now the Lord knew that Job was prepared to join with Him in intercession that would span the ages - intercession that would continue to be effective throughout all eternity - for this kind of intercession finds ts fulfillment in the always-increasing, never-ending Fullness of Christ.

"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 had before" (Job 42:10)

Most believe that the above scripture ended Job's battle, but the truth is that he had only just begun to be involved in the intense spiritual warfare that will continue until all things are consummated in Christ. And, even more glorious, he had only just begun to be apart of that which brings forth the Eternal Fullness of Christ. Dear friends, the battle of the ages will end when all things are consummated in Christ; but there will never be an end of the increase of the Fullness of Christ.

Yes, Job had only just begun to fellowship with his Lord in the Spirit of Prayer, and in Job 42:10 there is a phrase which speaks of this kind of eternal intercession and of that which it produces. The phrase is: "the Lord turned the captivity of Job ..." In order to explain how the Lord helped us to understand this phrase in connection with Job's travail and suffering, we need to lay a little background first.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 21)

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