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Happy Endings

Scripture: Job 42:9-17; Text: Job 42:11

My sermon today is not a traditional Christmas message. Hopefully you will see the connection before I complete it. I believe that Christmas is a happy ending. I did not say that it "has" a happy ending, it "is" a happy ending. Do you like happy endings? Some people do not. The more gory and bloody and destructive a movie, the more it seems to attract some people. I think that in itself is somewhat of a commentary on the depravity of man, isn't it? On the other side of the issue, there are those who like for things to work out, for the good to overcome the evil and for people to be happy. Some movies end that way and I for one, prefer that kind of ending. I do not care to attend movies, but do see some on the T.V. When they are all "blood and guts" as I call them, I can usually find something better to do or to watch. If I am going to "waste" my time watching a movie, let me feel good when it it over. Happy endings do that for me.

So if you like happy endings too, then this passage is one that will truly bless your heart. Job had suffered so much and lost so much, it does my heart good to find him enjoying life again, here at the end of the book. Just think about what these verses tell us about his last 140 to 150 years of life. You should remember that he was one of, if not the most, wealthy and prosperous men of his day. Then all his wealth was suddenly taken, so were his ten children and finally he even lost his health. If you have a compassionate heart, you likely ache within for all he endured. Then for the longest time, so called "friends" visited and poured salt in the wounds. They accused him of being an evil man that God was punishing for some terrible wrong. (We should always exercise great care when we are with people going through troubles. If we are not careful, we too may be judgemental and critical, calling upon them to repent of their sins. If you understand the truth of the Bible, people do not always suffer for sins, sometimes they suffer for the glory of God (1 Peter 4:16). We should go to them, not to judge and condemn them but to console and help them.

But after all that and more than any of us can understand, this last chapter of Job and in particular the last 7 or 8 verses, tell us that God returned to Job twice as much as was taken from him. (I did not say twice as much as he "lost" for Job did not lose anything, it was all taken away from him by satan, our arch enemy (1 Peter 5:8). God gave back his sheep, oxen, and asses according to verse 12. Then in verse 13 we are told that God gave him 7 sons and 3 daughters. Some have said well God did not really give him twice as much as before. He gave him the same number of sons and daughters, exactly. Such people fail to understand a vital truth, our departed loved ones do not cease to exist, they just leave us and move somewhere else. That is true of Job's loved ones and yours too. When a loved ones die, they are said in the Bible to go to another country (Jeremiah 22:10 and Philippians 1:23). The truth is that Job had seven sons in heaven and seven sons on earth. He had three daughters on earth and three in heaven. (A minsiter some years ago was asked how many children he had, he replied "I have two daughters." The inquirer looked around and seeing only one, asked about the whereabouts of the other. To which the minister replied, "She is in heaven." He confessed that he worried a great deal more about the daughter on earth than the one in heaven.) Loved ones on earth never "replace" loved ones gone, they are not intended to. Additional loved ones only give us someone to love on earth as well as someone to love in heaven.

Job's health was also restored and he lived and loved God and his family for more than 140 years, enjoying many grandchildren to the fourth generation. As you grandparents know, they are a genuine blessing, so I am told. How much better could it have gotten for anyone? Job had his HEALTH RESTORED; Job has his WEALTH RESTORED; and Job had his FAMILY RESTORED. What more could any man ask for in this life? Our TEXT tells us that his family came back into his home and fellowshipped with him again, that they sympathized with him and comforted him, and that they brought gifts for a new start in life. Do you suppose any of us can begin to imagine the joy that filled Job's heart that day. Perhaps like old Simeon when he saw and held the baby Jesus, he was ready to leave this world; and Job might have felt the same way. At any rate, when he did come to die, the testimony was that he was old and full of days. His life had ended so rich and good, that he could not grieve about dying. Yet if he had died when he asked God to take his life as he suffered so sorely, he would have never enjoyed such good days as followed. To all who may have contemplated suicide, let me say that like Job's life it may be difficult. But hang in there and wait for the happy ending that God has planned for you. Please do not deprive yourself of your happy ending.

But there is one more vital point to be learned for this happy ending. All these blessings did not come to Job until after he had PRAYED FOR THOSE WHO OFFENDED HIM. Did you notice that fact in the scriptures? Job's friends who had criticized him unjustly, were told by God to offer a sacrifice and that He would not accept it except through Job. Wow! What an opportunity to get even. Job could really get revenge, he could"draw blood!" All he had to do was turn his back and refuse to help them. He could say, you did me wrong, forget it. I tell you many "lesser" people would have done just that. But they would also have deprived themselves of great blessings. This is the lesson, anytime we refuse to forgive, we hurt ourselves as much or more than those we are trying to hurt. There is a time for hurt to end and forgiveness to begin. So they brought their offerings and offered them and Job PRAYED FOR THEM (Verse 10.) And at that turning point, God began the process of replacing all that was taken from him. Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 5:44). His philosophy was to give and declared that it was more blessed than to be on the receiving end (Acts 20:35). Do you know why that is true? Because, when we give, forgivness or any other gift, we help OURSELVES while at the same time helping OTHERS. The benefits are like Job's, TWICE as much.

What a story! What a happy ending! I like this happy ending, but God must like happy endings too. He must like happy endings for He put so many of them in the Bible. Think about it, David defeated Goliath, Samson was freed from his enemies at last, Daniel was delivered out of the den of hungry lions unharmed. Those are only a few of the many Bible stories, accounts of the lives of REAL people, to whom God gave a happy ending. But as we come to the New Testament we find even a greater example of a happy ending. It unfolds in the suffering and death of God's only begotten Son - Jesus Christ. It must have been sad for Mary and Joseph to have to put Jesus in a manger. It must have been far more difficult to see Him nailed to the old rugged cross. Faithful saints wept near and far. The disciples who followed Him abandoned their hopes in despair. The earth shook and darkness covered the earth. It was indeed a dark hour. It was the darkest hour of mortal history. He died, was taken down and laid in a borrowed tomb. How can I paint a darker picture? But thank God that was not the end. Jesus did not remain in the tomb, He rose to life again and became the first fruits of them that slept (1 Corinthians 15:20). Light began to shine. He visited His disciples and others, bringing joy to replace the sorrow. He took them out a ways and ascended with the promise of His return (Acts 1:11). The Bible tells us that there was a happy ending to the cross, for in His resurrection and ascension, there was joy and gladness (Matthew 28:8 and Luke 24:52). The joy has even grown over the centuries that followed, for we and others, have realized that the eternal result of His sacrifical death and sinless blood, is salvation for sins and life eternal (Romans 5:21 and Revelation 1:5). Again, what a happy ending!

Thank God it is not over yet. In this life we suffer, as did Job, but in heaven there will be no suffering (Revelation 21:4). Now there are often clouds in the sky, but someday, He will come in a cloud to carry us home to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). For those of us who are saved by God's amazing grace, the best is yet to come. There will be a happy ending to this life, when we are taken from the earth, plucked up by Him. Then in heaven, there will be only happy beginnings and continuings. It will not be true of those who are not saved, theirs will be a terrible ending and an even worst beginning and eternity.

In conclusion, let me say that I am glad Christmas falls at the end of the year. It is a wonderful season of joy in celebrating our dear Saviour's birth. It does not come in January or in July. It comes during the last month of the year and fairly near the end of it. I like to think that God had a hand in this arrangement. That way it fits in with the many other happy endings the Christian can enjoy. May this Christmas be a time of love and every gift an expression of heartfelt love. May this year have a happy ending as the merciful and loving God we serve and His Son, bless us through the remaining days of this year.

As great as Job's happy ending to his life, it was nothing to be compared to what was to follow as he left this earth and entered into the presence of God in heaven, to await the resurection. The best is yet to come for us too. Such life enriching blessings should stir our hearts to worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father. I hope we will all take time to think about His goodness to us in our many happy endings, then commit ourselves to Him as did Job. God blessed, that is true, but Job loved and faithfully served the Lord. He wanted to live close to Him and did so during prosperity and adversity. Let us not be "fair weather" servants of the Lord, but love Him and honor Him; praising and thanking Him for every HAPPY ENDING.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014