[Job 19:23-27] “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”
In the World, Tribulation; The Resurrected Christ Is Our Joy
Christ said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33]. The man Job, maybe 2,000 or more years before Christ came, did indeed have tribulation.
The book of Job in the Bible is forty-two chapters long. Job was a man of faith in the true God – unequal in his day. He had seven wayward sons and three daughters. Weekly, Job would consecrate his ten children in case they had cursed God in all their carousing and daily partying. Job would rise early in the morning, the Bible says, and offer burnt offering on behalf of each of them – just as many of you pray on behalf of your children for their sins.
Job’s book has forty-two chapters - In the first chapter, the devil targets Job. God allows Job to be tested. Job’s seven wayward sons and three daughters all die on the same day in a catastrophe. Also, Job’s property is raided and his livestock and servants are taken or killed.
In the first half of chapter two, more trouble is added. Job’s health is attacked – sores from head to foot. And Job’s wife loses faith, telling Job to curse God. In all this, Job did not sin against God with his lips.
Yet, at the start of chapter three, Job curses the day he was born. The next forty chapters are the storms and turmoils of Job’s heart and mouth, men’s answers, and finally God’s long answer – “Who are you, Job, and Who am I?”
Around the middle of these forty-two chapters, Job speaks today’s words of sure hope about his Redeemer and the promise of the resurrection of his body – “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself”. In the middle of it all, Job speaks about the Easter resurrection as his hope – a promise revealed to Job ahead of time.
In the last chapter, joy and goodness finally return to Job’s life.
“In the world, you will have tribulation”, brothers and sisters. In the middle of it all, the Easter resurrection is your hope, as it was for Job. In your last chapter, joy and goodness will return to you – “take heart, I have overcome the word”, Jesus said.
Jesus is your Redeemer as He is Job’s. Jesus is the sacrificial offering for the sins of God’s wayward sons and daughters. As Job offered sacrifice for his children, now God the Father has offered – not a lamb or a bull – but His own child, Jesus, as the sacrifice to atone for the sins of sinners.
By His sacrificial and willing death on the cross for man’s sin, Jesus became our Redeemer who redeemed us – bought us back – for God. Jesus paid His life to Redeem the wayward. And now Jesus has risen from the dead, having once and for all conquered the death that took Job’s children, has taken many more, and will take each of us.
Though death still takes us and sin still clings to us, neither has power or dominion. Our Redeemer lives and, at the last, He will raise us up with Him. Though you go to the dust, He will raise your body and breathe in you life. In your own flesh, renewed – and with your own eyes, renewed – you will see your Redeemer.
Only God and your Redeemer, Jesus Christ, are man’s true and lasting joy. The Easter resurrection means you will have Him as your joy and goodness when your final and unending chapter of resurrected life finally comes.
Others have had tribulation in this world. Mary Magdalene, a once demon-possessed woman, trapped by Satan, but set free by the Man-and-Lord Christ Jesus, had found joy in her Redeemer. But, on Good Friday, she did not understand why her Redeemer hung dying. And on Easter morning, she was not expecting to find her Redeemer alive again.
But, alive He was, and her joy returned to her.
When Mary Magdalene’s joy had been taken from her, she wept, but she did not despair (She had gotten up and gone to the tomb early that Sunday morning to anoint and take care of Jesus’ body).
And Job, though he cursed the day he was born, never fully despaired. He said many foolish things from a broken heart, but, in addition to his word of faith, “I know that my Redeemer lives”, he also spoke other words of faith such as “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” [Job 1:21], and to his wife “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” [Job 2:10]. He knew to receive the good and the bad from God’s fatherly hand.
And we also know words of faith: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” [Romans 8:18]. And, because our Redeemer has died and risen for us, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 8:38-39].
Because we know the crucified and now risen Redeemer, Jesus Christ, let us not sin with our lips or despair during our time of tribulation, but, by the help of God the Holy Spirit, let us have these and similar words of faith on our lips in every circumstance. To the very last chapter, our faith is in God and in His Son Jesus. Amen.