One of the beautiful but subtle gems of Scripture is found in the book of Job.
Job was a rich man of antiquity before the Lord allowed great calamity to overtake him.
At the outset of the story Job had seven sons and three daughters (1:2). He also had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys (1:3). Every last one of the animals was stolen or killed, and a wind storm struck the house where all of his children were dining and they all died. What great loss and grief!
After his ensuing suffering, satanic attacks, and intense dialogue with his friends and his Lord, God restored his wealth. And then some.
In his later years, he received 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys (42:12). He also had seven sons and three daughters (42:13).
It doesn’t take a math whiz to see that the number of animals Job received in his restoration is double the former number. Yet, if God is so good, why did Job not father another fourteen sons and six daughters?
Why not? Well, that’s the gem that is hidden in plain sight. Job did receive twice as many children as he had previously. But now, only half of them were here on earth. The rest were in the Lord's hands. Because human lives last beyond earthly death, Job DID have 14 sons and 6 daughters – double the number he had before!
What comfort and delight do we take from this little gem? What do we learn?
- People last forever. Animals do not.
- All of God’s creation is valuable, but we should value human life over animals and the rest of creation.
- God counts as precious the death of all of his saints. They are never lost to him.
- People who have lost loved ones to death in the Lord can rest assured. Their souls are present with the Lord while they await the resurrection of their bodies.
- Because people last forever, we should invest in people. We should invest in them body and soul. We thank God for earthly benefits and wealth. But the things of this world are fleeting, whether power or possessions. It is often said that the word of God and people are the two things that will last forever. Let’s spend our time and energy focusing on them.