A few days ago Kelly and I completed the book of Job in our Bible read-through. As we were reading that last chapters, I was struck by verse 10 of chapter 42. God rebukes Job and Job readily repents of his questioning. God then turns on Job’s well meaning but rather wrong friends, cursing them and commanding them to sacrifice and have Job pray for them. Like Job they do so and demonstrate their repentance. The Lord accepts Job’s prayer and turns his anger away from the men, and then we read this verse; “And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10) Those two sentences hold a truth that is massively important for us to grasp.
In God’s economy, forgiveness precedes blessing.
It isn’t until Job has forgiven his friends for their harsh words towards him that God restores his fortunes. It’s implied that, had Job acted unrighteously and refused to forgive, he would have been left with only the clothing on his back. His fortunes were restored “when he had prayed for his friends,” not before.
Jesus himself tells his disciples to pray the strange words, “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12) Judging by that prayer, our sins are forgiven with the same measure that we forgive others sins against us. If forgiveness is withheld from those who do not forgive, how much more the blessing?
Don’t let this pass by you lightly my friends. Our King has glorious things in store for you. Don’t let unforgiveness keep you from receiving them. If there are people in your life against whom you are holding bitterness or unforgiveness do as Job did. Repent of your own sin, then forgive and pray for them. Release both them and yourself from bondage to the Satanic slavery unforgiveness creates. Forgive and be amazed as the Lord restores you and blesses you above where you were before the harm they caused took place. Remember; in God’s economy, forgiveness precedes blessing.