Job 42:10




A while back I participated in a Toastmaster’s introductory class. Anyone who has attended a Toastmasters workshop knows that part of the training includes a section where you are required to pick up a piece of paper with a topic written on it, then speak about that topic, impromptu, for a set amount of time.

I picked a piece of paper with the word ‘Job’ on it. Whoever had written the word had capitalized it. So of course, I read ‘Jobe’ rather than ‘Jawb’.

Consequently, I spoke for 5 minutes about the Biblical book of ‘Job’ from an historical perspective, that being that the book of Job, written in poetic style, is agreed upon by many scholars to be the first poetic book of the Old Testament.

As I stared at the blank faces watching me wax eloquent, I realized I was not talking about the right topic. I was supposed to be talking about a ‘job.’ Which admittedly, would have been much easier!

The Book of Job explores some of the most profound questions humans ask about their lives. The question I am asking of the Lord is much simpler than those asked by Job and his friends. I am learning that the Lord will resolve the problem for me like he did for Job once I grasp the greater lessons that he is teaching me. (And boy, am I a slow learner….!)

The following verse spoke to my heart because it helped me to see that although the Lord is concerned with my individual problems and issues; he is just as concerned with the problems and needs of others, and he wants me to consider their needs as well as my own, especially when what I am praying about also concerns them.

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. (Job 42:10 KJV)

The fact that it was the Lord who turned the captivity of Job (his captivity being the situation he was ‘stuck’ in) is what spoke first and foremost to my heart.

I have been presenting what I consider valid petitions to the Lord for help with my desire to move closer to a larger center where my husband and I could be closer to medical and other conveniences that are a bit of a drive away from our current, lovely, but very rural location. To date, the only answer I have received is ‘wait.’

That is not the answer I am looking for.

So I have two choices; the first is to barge ahead on my own; the second is to wait.

I have learned that barging ahead of God is not conducive to anything other than bringing trouble upon myself. But waiting involves trust, and at times, my feelings of trust are low. You would think that after all these years I would finally be starting to clue in to the fact that the Lord’s timing is always perfect.

Trusting is not what I want to do. Moving forward is my goal—not sitting and waiting. But my husband is not ready to move forward. I know that the Lord has both our needs in mind, not just my own, so the waiting, for me, involves both faith and trust that the Lord will provide for both of us in his own perfect time and will.

Intellectually I know that. But I still find myself champing at the bit sometimes in my impatience at waiting on the Lord to act, even though I know that in God’s perfect will and time, his answer will come, and it will be perfect. And way beyond what I could have ever thought or asked.

As I study and learn about the power of prayer, I am beginning to experience a glimmer of understanding as to why the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends. I am also garnering a deeper understanding of God’s working in my life and the lives of the people I pray for—even though sometimes the answer seems slow in coming or not what I expected.

My problem is not just about me; it involves my dearest friend, my husband. I can see that just praying for my own wants and needs is not cutting it with the Lord. It’s hard to pray for another when your own needs seem so pressing. But that is exactly what I need to do, and that is exactly what I am learning to do.

God also increased his blessings to Job after Job’s trials had ended. I find that part of the verse perhaps the most difficult to understand. I’m trying to learn to do what is pleasing to the Lord in all that I do. I’m seeking his help not for material gain, but because I cannot resolve my problems on my own. The Lord has already given me so much. Being given more is something I can barely comprehend!

The following is a short excerpt from C. H. Spurgeon’s sermon entitled:

The LORD turned the captivity of Job1

Our sorrows shall have an end when God has gotten his end in them. The ends in the case of Job were these, that Satan might be defeated, foiled with his own weapons, blasted in his hopes when he had everything his own way.

God, at Satan’s challenge, had stretched forth his hand and touched Job in his bone and in his flesh, and yet the tempter could not prevail against him, but received his rebuff in those conquering words, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”

When Satan is defeated, then shall the battle cease.

The Lord aimed also at the trial of Job’s faith. Many weights were hung upon this palm tree, but it still grew uprightly.

Another purpose the Lord had was his own glory. And God was glorified abundantly.

Job had glorified God on his dunghill; now let him magnify his Lord again upon his royal seat in the gate.

God had gotten unto himself eternal renown through that grace by which he supported his poor afflicted servant under the heaviest troubles which ever fell to the lot of man.

God had another end, and that also was served. Job had been sanctified by his afflictions. His spirit had been mellowed. That small degree of tartness towards others, which may have been in Job’s temper had been at last removed, and any self-justification which once had lurked within, was fairly driven out.

Now God’s gracious designs are answered, he removed the rod from his servant’s back, and takes the melted silver from the midst of the glowing coals. God doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men for nought, and he shows this by the fact that he never afflicts them longer than there is a need for it, and never suffers them to be one moment longer in the furnace than is absolutely requisite to serve the purposes of his wisdom and of his love.

The Lord turned again the captivity of Job just as he will turn mine, but not one second before I am ready to be set free. I will be set free when the deepest desire of my heart is met. That being, first and foremost the salvation of my husband!

Spurgeon had a flowery, yet powerful method of speaking and preaching. Here is a short excerpt of the second part of his exposition of the verse:

The circumstance which attended Job’s restoration is that to which I invite your particular attention.

“The Lord turned again the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.”

Intercessory prayer was the beginning of Job’s returning greatness. It was the bow in the cloud, the dove bearing the olive branch, the voice of the turtle announcing the coming summer.

When his soul began to expand itself in holy and loving prayer for his brethren, then the heart of God showed itself to him by returning to him his prosperity without, and cheering his soul within.

Brethren, it is not fetching a laborious compass, when from such a text as this I address you upon the subject of prayer for others. Let us learn today to imitate the example of Job, and pray for our friends, and peradventure if we have been in trouble, our captivity shall be turned.

On a lighter note, in sheer enjoyment of Spurgeon’s poetic allusions, the next time I attend another Toastmaster’s session I hope I pick up a piece of paper with the word ‘Voice’ on it. I shall then joyfully wax eloquent for 5 minutes (or more) on The Voice of the Turtle Announcing the Coming Summer.


1Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume 7: 1861 — Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Sermon (No.404) Delivered on Sunday Morning, August the 11th, 1861 by the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington