Monday, October 22, 2012

Job's happy ending

Job's Prayer by Claude-Andrew Calthrop - Job 42:8
"Job's Prayer" by Claude-Andrew Calthrop

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 42:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before." Job 42:10

For those of us who like happy endings, Job's is the perfect story! After God addressed him in chapters 38-41, Job's humble reply (Job 42:2-6) showed that he was a changed man from the one who, full of self-justification, paraded his good deeds in Job 29.

Then God spoke to Job's friends, saying that Job was right and they needed him to pray for them. It's interesting to note the little word "when" in this bit of storytelling: "And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends." Does it imply that a right attitude toward his accusers was necessary for God to change the course of his fortunes? It's hard to pray for someone we haven't forgiven, so it seems that forgiveness was key to Job's future.

The word for pray here is palal.*  [Palal  means "To pray, entreat, intercede, make supplication.... Palal speaks of prayer as intercession, asking someone with more power and wisdom to intervene in behalf of the one praying" - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 680.]

Then God restored to Job everything—his possessions, family, most likely his reputation.

His story reminds me of something a former pastor often said: "Always remember, no condition is permanent!" When we're in the middle of trouble, it can feel like things will never change. But in His time and way, God can change anything!

Dear God, when I'm in the fog of trouble, pain, disaster or disease, help me to hold onto You, keeping the faith that You have good plans for me. Amen.

MORE: Palal prayers

Palal occurs over 80 times in the Bible. Here are some occurrences of palal intercession:

1. God told King Abimelech in a dream to restore Abraham's wife Sarah to him, and to ask Abraham to pray for him and his household in order to stay alive - Genesis 20:7,17.

2. During the Israelites' wilderness wanderings, they did a lot of complaining. At one point God sent fire into the camp to consume them. They ran crying to Moses, begging for him to pray for them - Numbers 11:1,2.

3. Hannah prayed for a son - 1 Samuel 1:12.

4. Samuel promised to pray for the Israelites after they repented of their sin of asking for a king -  1 Samuel 12:23.

5. Jonah prayed within the belly of the fish - Jonah 2:1-9.

6. Hezekiah prayed not to die, but to live longer - Isaiah 38:2,3.

For what are we palal-praying (for others, for ourselves)? Let's let God's response in the above situations build our faith today.


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