For I know that my redeemer lives…
A little ‘background’ on Job.
Job knows his guilt yet he does not know what to confess. In the beginning of the book God has declared Job to be a good, upright, and decent man. In spite of that declaration from God the friends of Job continue to try and decide what he is guilt of and what God is punishing him for. We know from reading the intro that God has allowed this yet it is not because of Job’s sin.
In this section of Job it is Job’s friend Bildad who begins accusing him. He tells Job that he has sinned, his dead children have sinned and that is why all of this is happening to him. He then gives Job a list of things to do that will release him from the his sufferings. He tells Job to just pray, be a better person, and have more integrity. He declares that he knows all of these things from history. The wisdom of the generation before us have told us these things.
Job, who has been declared blameless, of complete integrity, god fearing, and a person who seperates himself from evil says:
“Yes I know this is all true in principal But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight.”
Job understands that it is not about who his friends say he is but who God has declared him to be. He knows he can not cleanse himself as his friends have told him to do. Then Job speaks of Jesus. He does no speak of him by name but he longs for who Jesus is and what He will do for Job and for us.
“God is not mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial.
If only there was a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together.
The mediator could make God stop beating me and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment.
Then I could speak to him without fear but I cannot do tha ton my own strength.”
Jesus will become a mortal like Job. He became a mortal like us and for us. We do not need to argue our trial. Jesus stood the trial on our behalf and was hung on a tree. Jesus was our mediator between us and God. He has brought us back together with God. We will never have to live in fear and terror of his punishment. We can speak openly and freely to our heavenly father. Not on our own strength but because of Jesus serving as our mediator.
After being told, once again, that his suffering is because of some specific sin Job has had enough. He retorts with:
“Well I know a few things myself-and you’re not better than I am” Job 12:3
Job gives his friends feedback on all the words and supposed ‘wisdom’ they are giving him. He tells his friends that wisdom does not come from men but from God.
“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.
What he destroys cannot be rebuilt.
When he puts someone in prison, there is no escape.
Yes strength and wisdom are his;
Deceivers and deceived are both in his power.”
He informs his friends that they are worthless and it would be better for them to just be silent. He questions them about whether they are ‘defending God with lies or with truth.
Job begins to call out to God. In his words you can hear the longing he has for the mediator he spoke of earlier.
“I wish you could hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed.
But mark your calendar to think of me again! Can the dead live again?
If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle and I would eagerly await the release of death.
You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins.
My sins would be sealed in a pouch and you would cover my guilt.”
Job has this longing for what is to come. He knows that he is God’s handiwork just as we are. He longs for a God who will guard his steps instead of watching for his sin.
In Jesus we have that. We have the God who guards our steps instead of watching us to see if we do well or if we fail. How awesome is that!
Our sins are sealed they have been thrown away. Our guilt is covered. Our steps are being watched over.
Job’s friends have resorted to calling Job names. Windbag is the name used in the NLT. They throw other accusations at Job too such as not wise or no fear of God. One friend declares that Job does not know a thing, not one thing.
Job’s response is you are horrible at this. All of you are horrible at comforting me during my suffering. He tells them:
“I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are!”
His friends continue to point Job back to himself. Instead of pointing Job to the only thing that can bring real hope or real comfort.
I am afraid I do this too. I do this to myself and to those around me. Instead of pointing people to Jesus I point them to themselves and something they could do to get out of whatever pit they are in. Don’t get me wrong, practical advice from friends is so very good. I however often do not have the practical answer. There are to many variables to many things going on for me to discern what is good.
What I can point them to is the one that went to the grave for them. The one that they are buried with because of faith. It is awkward sometimes when I do this. It can sound so cheesy or unpractical. However, all the words and all the advice and all the checklist hold no hope apart from Christ.
Job asks his friends where his hope can be found in and in his asking alludes to Jesus the one who went to the grave for us.
“Where then is my hope?
Can anyone find it?
No, my hope has gone down to the grave.
We will rest together in the dust.”
The piece of the puzzle that Job is missing is the resurrection.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4
The hope that we have as Christians did not stay buried. The hope that we have was raised by the dead. We too will be raised for a new life. That new life starts when faith starts. Sin is still there. Suffering is still there. Jesus is there also. He has been raised from the dead and we will also.
When people are suffering let’s give them hope. Let’s give them Jesus. Give them Jesus for them in their suffering in their situation.
Job’s friends are, in the words of Job,
“Using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.”
His friends have just given him a list of things that happen to wicked people. Let me tell you the list is not pleasant and it has a lot in common with what Job is going through.
Job dishes out some reality to them:
“One person dies in prosperity
completely comfortable and secure,
the picture of good health
vigorous and fit.
Another person dies in bitter poverty
never having tasted the good life.
But both are buried in the same dust
both eaten by the same maggots.”Job 21:23-26
The reality is everyone dies. The rich die. The poor die. The healthy die. The unhealthy die. All are buried in the same dust.
The difference is this:
“I know that my redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
I will see him for myself.
Yes I will see him with my own eyes
I am overwhelmed at the thought.”Job 19:25-27