After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has." So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job's prayer. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! (Job 42:7-10)
Three things really struck me afresh when I read this passage. I had not noticed them before.
First, God had already forgiven Job's friends but he needed them to make peace with Job and Job to pray for them to Him. God answers before we pray. At the same time he answers when we pray. The paradox is hard to disentangle and seems inefficient. And yet it is this paradox that makes prayer both exciting and necessary.
Secondly, Job's prayer brings about the practical forgiveness of his friends. Prayer really is the highest form of friendship. One way to measure how close we are to our friends is how often we pray for them - specific prayers. Those we love we truly love we pray for specifically. Interesting enough, the more we pray the more we love!
Finally, Job gets blessed only after he prays for his friends. If Job had refused to pray for his friends I am sure he would not have been blessed. He would have failed the test. The hardest thing for Job was to forgive his friends. It was the last temptation of Job! Forgiveness is of course 'love in action'! Love is a test harder than any test! And a test Job passed with flying colours!
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2014
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