Job

Hope for Job and for Us

Job 19:23 “Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, 24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! 25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! 28 “If you say, ‘How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him,’ 29 you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.”

I am going to do something this evening that I am not supposed to do and that is to assume you know the story of Job. You certainly know this one verse for you have heard it over and over. Sadly, however it was not something you heard in an average Sunday sermon but in a funeral or at graveside service.  “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another.”

Beautiful words, wonderful concept! But the context is not beautiful! It is horrid! Job, a wealthy and upright man with a large and great family, good health and everything a person could want, suddenly lost it all, even his health. Now in the midst of his misery his friends tell him, “Curse God and die.”

Well, that would certainly end his physical problems for the moment—but isn’t there something beyond life? Isn’t there some accountability for what kind of life we led on earth and in what state we died?

Somehow Job knew that those who would curse God and die would not really die, rather their worm, (according to Isaiah) that is their flesh would not die and be an abhorrence to all flesh. He knew there was a place of torment where like the rich man, they would crave to have a drop of water placed on his tongue. He knew God was not made of wood or stone or bronze but was a living being.  He knew that the time would come when he would see his Redeemer and see Him in his flesh. “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God…”

He knew in some form or the other “a new heaven and a new earth, was coming. He believed God was preparing a New City where God would reign with His people. He believed that in this new city God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

So he said these marvelous words, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Now notice how he used the both words God and Redeemer. He knew the wages of sin is death and He knew God had provided a method of cancelling that debt. God required a sacrifice, and it was all spelled out in Leviticus. We won’t get into all the details but simply say that if the person could afford an animal—then an animal was to be sacrificed. The wages of sin is death and so a life was taken.  That is—the person was redeemed by the death of the animal. But Job did not talk of an animal or the many animals he had sacrificed before, but a singular Redeemer.

He didn’t specifically say “Jesus” but as Christians that is what we understand.  In the very beginning God had given the human race this hope, that a Redeemer would come and destroy the works of the evil one. Eve certainly believed this for in the original language she believed her first born son was that Redeemer. Throughout the Old Testament we see that people were looking for a Redeemer so Job certainly does not stand alone.

And that is our hope too! None of us have ever suffered like Job—thanks be to God! Nor lost as many things he did. First of all, we would have to be a multimillionaire with a large family to compare ourselves to him. And yet we have had our share of pain, suffering and loss of loved ones.

I am reminded of the members of my Berlin congregation. To quote Luther, many had lost “clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all they had.”  Some had stayed on in Berlin. Many fled from the East; one family came from Posen—that is a part of Poland which had been German but taken over and they were run out. I am reminded of seeing pictures of soldiers on the wall, bordered in black frames identifying a brother or father or husband who had been lost.

Still whether or not we lost someone in some war, or just by natural causes, it is still a loss and it still hurts. We have all been there; done that. Likewise, with pain and suffering. For some of us it had been severe but thankfully not all of us.  In 2007 when I had that failed surgery, the worst thing was the wound vac. Taking that tape off every day was not a 1–10 pain level, but I gave it a 12.

Still—what is that compared to our Redeemer, whose pain was so great that He cried out, “My God My God why hast Thou forsaken Me!” All the pain and all suffering for all the sins of the world, both those committed before Good Friday and those to be committed until the trumpet blows and the New Kingdom begins—were heaped upon Jesus as He paid the wages of sin for those standing around Him -those  jeering and those crying  and for you and for me.

The women standing there along with John had a good idea of that. The one Roman centurion also understood something as he said, “Surely this was the Son of God.” The 500 brethren who saw Jesus after the resurrection believed this as did the 3000 on the day of Pentecost.

Strangely not the chief priests and many of the Pharisees! They had so much proof, yet refused to believe! What will happened to them? Job had the answer: “You should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.” “Curse God and die?” Not a good idea!

Yet we are living in a world, and yes, I am going to say it, in a Country, which in some form or the other is doing just that!

It is one thing to actually do things which are 100% against the Bible and the Church. It’s another thing to be passive about it. Jesus says, “You are either with Me or against Me. You either gather with Me or you scatter Me.” There is no neutral ground in Christianity. It reminds me of the Priest and Levite. Instead of helping the man left half dead, they passed by on the other side. Christians are to be the Good Samaritans who go out of our way to help and befriend those in need.

We need to take a stand on the issues our Country is turning around, like abortion, transgender, BLM and a host of other things which not only go against what America has always held as true but are also directly against the Bible.

But it is easy to be passive—to pass by on the other side. Had the Priest and the Levite handled the blood of that man, they would have been ceremonially unclean for a period of time. Stopping to help would have compromised their schedule. Also, the bandits could have been using that man as bait to lure others to this unsafe place.

Likewise—especially as some of these changes are now so forcefully enforced by the media and many people, we risk being laughed at, scorned, disowned and as we have seen on the TV, maybe even physically harmed for advocating what was and still is morally right.

Undoubtedly both you and I have—at times—held back—or worst, so as not to get into an argument—let on that we agreed. And while that may not be in human terms, like stealing or killing, it is not being the Christian we have been called out of darkness into to His marvelous light to be. And so we repent. God be merciful to me, a sinner. And He is! That is what Good Friday and Easter were all about. Thanks be to Go who gives us the victory over sin, death and the world. We are sorry and repent about the things we have done which we should not have done, but also, we are sorry and repent over the things we should have done but did not! Indeed, God be merciful to me, a sinner. And He is! Amen.

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