In Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies, and when I read Job, I saw the lesson in action. I'm sharing it because it's so good! There's so much in the lesson of Job, but this part jumped out at me.
If you haven’t read Job, briefly I’ll tell you that God allowed Satan to torment him, because Job was such a faithful man and the Lord knew he wouldn't curse Him. He was right, but since Job wasn't perfect, his sins finally bit him in the butt, (we reap what we sow). The evil power controlling the earth took Job's wealth, children, livestock and even his health. Job had 3 friends and a wife left, all of them telling him what they thought about him and the situation and even telling him he should curse God for allowing these things to happen. But check this out!
Job 42:1-6 – “1 Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.
4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’
5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
Note verse 6. Job finally tried to quit figuring it all out and realized that he needed to repent. He quit making excuses and reasoning, and just repented! After he went through his trials he realized that he was talking about things he knew nothing about.
Then, verses 7-9 – “ 7 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. 8 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.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.”
Now here’s the kicker, in KJV: “10And 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.”
What impressed me here, is not that God gave Job twice what he had before the trial, but that He only did it AFTER Job prayed for his friends! And God did not accept the sacrifices of Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz, strictly from their hands. No, their sacrifice had to be covered by Job’s prayer.
Proverbs 15:8 - "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight."
I wonder how many blessings people could be enjoying, if they just prayed for their enemies?
I guess we don’t have to consider everything Jesus taught as a command, but as instructions to walk in blessings due to obedience to His Word! Hallelujah!
We could be walking in all the blessings God has to offer us, simply by doing our level best to act according to what Jesus taught; blessing our enemies, doing good deeds for our neighbors, finding someone who is sick and cooking a meal, taking care of an elderly aunt, visiting someone in the nursing home, praying for our friends (and enemies)!!!
Proverbs 28:9 - "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." KJV
1 Peter 1:23 - "23For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God."