Q: Job's enduring trials resulted in God's blessing him double in everything but his family. Why was his family omitted from this tally?
A: This includes an interesting observation which reveals a special blessing to each of us.
Job was a wealthy person, and an inventory of his holdings is provided at the beginning of the book:
And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. - Job 1:2, 3
The drama of the book derives from a challenge by Satan of Job's faithfulness (a series of conversations that Job was not privy to!). The bulk of the narrative deals with the extensive dialogs with Job's advisors. (With friends like these, you don't need enemies!)
God Himself finally intervenes with His science quiz and declarations of Chapters 38-41. After Job endured the loss of his wealth, his family, and his health - and the dubious counsels of his three "friends" - God ultimately restored to him double:
So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he [then] had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. -Job 42:12, 13
We can't help but notice that while God doubled his inventory of goods, He only restored seven sons and three daughters, equivalent to what he had at the beginning.
A Comforting Insight
I believe the lesson here is that he hadn't really lost the original children in the first place! The first seven sons and three daughters are waiting for him in heaven. We have a tendency to overlook this.
This insight has been a great comfort to Nan and me since we lost our firstborn son a couple of years ago.
(Chip was 39 years old and had a stroke while jogging one Saturday afternoon. With no prior medical history, it came as quite a shock to the family.)
Donald Grey Barnhouse described believers as:
A group of displaced persons, uprooted from their natural home, and on their way to an extraterrestrial destination, not of this planet, neither in its roots nor in its ideals.
We all suffer from a myopia regarding this present life: it is but a prelude to the larger reality we enjoy in Christ. We are simply foreigners just passing through.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. -Romans 8:18
Our ultimate inheritance will be full of pleasant surprises!
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