I Know That My Redeemer Lives! (Job Sermon 12)
May 16, 2021 | Andy Davis
The Doctrine of Scripture, Jesus Christ, Justice of God
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 18-19. In this passage, we see Job at his worst and then at his best and show us how we can likewise be double-minded.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bible. We'll be looking this morning briefly at chapter 18, but then mostly in chapter 19 of Job. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I want to give you a little more details, concerning one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, Handel's Messiah 260-page oratorio. Handel, George Frederick Handel, German composer living in England, very much down on his fortunes financially, things had not gone well for him. He got a set of Old Testament prophecies, scriptures that had been set together by a writer, and he was being asked... The project was to set them to music, and how Christ had been the fulfillment of these Old Testament prophecies. So he set to work 1741, August 22nd, 1741. Twenty-four days later, he finished—24 days later, 260-page oratorio.
It's probably a musical miracle, especially given the quality of music that came out, and as he completed the hallelujah chorus, the most famous part of that oratorio, his servant came in, and there was just sheet music everywhere, just all over, there's just total mess, and the composer was down on his knees with tears streaming down his face, and he said this to his servant, "I think I did see all heaven open before me, and the great God himself seated on his throne with his company of angels."
Wow. Like, oh God, do that for me. Give me a vision of heaven that would cause tears to come down my face, that I would be able to see the infinite majesty of God seated on his throne, and a company of angels surrounding a hundred million angels worshiping. I could get through anything in my life if I could just have a vision of that, the hallelujah chorus, but then, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, he followed it with this sweet little aria, "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth." Just peaceful, majestic and exactly what needs to follow that vision of the greatness, the infinite majesty of God. Has to do with individual, personal salvation, flowing from the sovereignty of that majestic God seated on his throne, that God can reach down to us in our misery and our brokenness and save us.
Now that scripture that he wrote that incredible aria on, "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth," we just heard read for us, represents, I consider, as I've said this before, but especially in chapter 19, Job at his absolute best. I think that the vision of heaven and all that, it seems to be like you're up on a mountain and there's spectacular valley scenery below you, but there are just clouds, and then a break in the cloud comes, and you can see this incredible scenery, and then the clouds come over again. That's what it's like for Job, and so he comes in and out of a clear vision of the future, the eternal future of resurrection, even. It's Job at his best, but sadly in this chapter, we also see, I believe, Job at his worst. In this chapter, he is going to accuse God of wronging him and say, "There is no justice," or directly accusing God of injustice.
How can there be this kind of range in one chapter from one man? How can we humans be so wildly inconsistent? How can we be so full of doubts concerning God? As James wrote in his epistle, concerning people who go through extreme sufferings, who should count at pure joy when they do, who in the midst of those sufferings, should ask God for wisdom. Home base of that is concerning the affliction, concerning the sorrow. What is going on? What are you doing? They should ask God, but, "When he asks," James says, "he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." James calls that man, that doubting man, “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Well, sadly, that characterizes us at some times, especially in times of sorrow, times of affliction—double-minded, unstable, doubting—we go through these things. That is how we are. We who live in a state of grace, who have been born again, who have received forgiveness of sins, who are in the process of being sanctified, who don't understand how much we need pain and adversity to be sanctified—we have to have it, but we don't understand that we would avoid it all, all of it—and yet born again in the midst of all that, still capable of great corruption that comes up out of our hearts and then out of our mouths, saying things that we ought not to say.
So we see, in the space of just a few lines of holy text, Job saying things that should never have been said, questioning the essence of the character of God, his justice, accusing him of gross injustice, in his case, and then a few lines later, giving one of the most sublime, one of the clearest confessions of faith imaginable, the ultimate, even resurrection of God's people into eternal glory and seeing the face of God with our own eyes. Incredible.
"Out of the same mouth come praise and cursings," said James. "My brothers, this should not be." No, it shouldn't, but it often is, and I think we are helped by the fact that Job went through these things, and it's not okay. I'm not saying it's fine to say things vertically up to God that are wrong and disrespectful and all that. Not saying that, but do you not see how kind God is and how patient with us as we say these things? Job shows us—the account shows us the grace of God in covering our wicked, faithless statements, while at the same time, teaching us and coaxing us to a higher level of confidence in him. A stronger faith that will not vacillate, will not yield to doubts, be blown and tossed by the waves. No, that will be strong and steadfast, knowing God never changes, and he's bringing these trials into our lives for a sweet purpose.
So today, we're going to walk through both sides of this equation. We're going to spend time on Job's stunning statement of faith. We're going to walk through it word by word, really, Job, 19:25-27, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon 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!" Well, before we get Job at his worst and then at his best, we first need to go a little bit through Job 18, what I would say is Bildad the Shuhite at his worst.
I.Bildad the Shuhite’s Wretched Second Speech (Job 18)
This is bad. Job 18 is bad. Bildad the Shuhite's wretched second speech, “wretched” is kind. Bildad was not kind. This is just the same song, a different verse, only much more vicious. There's a viciousness to Bildad in chapter 18.
Remember, fundamental to the consistent position of Job's three friends is the law of sewing and reaping. You reap what you sow. God is active, he's energetic, he's involved on planet earth, he's not sitting back letting things happen. He's involved, and what he does is he gives you what you deserve. You reap what you sow. So a just, active, energetic, involved God would never do such terrible things to a righteous man. It's impossible. Not only that, but the proportion of the misery is equal to the proportion of the sin. Even if the friends hadn't seen any of it, this is just all logical to them, it's all theological. They've got it worked out. So Job must be a great sinner, because he is suffering greatly.
"Fundamental to the consistent position of Job's three friends is the law of sewing and reaping ... so Job must be a great sinner, because he is suffering greatly."
So that's been the consistent pattern, but now, as I said, Bildad just gets nasty. His friend, and not just him, but all three of them, as they go on, they begin to be irritated with Job. They get impatient with him. They're prideful about their own reputations and their own arguments, and so they just take the gloves off, and they become increasingly devoid of all compassion. No compassion at all. Absolutely trusting in their theology, which is faulty on both sides of the equation. No compassion and no humility. They don't realize they stand under the same judgment, the same God's looking at them. They don't think about that.
So what does Bildad say? Well, he rehearses the savage curses that come on the wicked, what God does. Let's just walk through them. It's chapter 18 and verse five, "His lamp, [the wicked] his lamp is snuffed out in total darkness." Verses 7-10, "The wicked is snared by his own wicked schemes." Verse 11-12, "The wicked is terrorized on every side." Verse 13, "His flesh is destroyed in great agony." Verses 14-16, "He perishes utterly from the earth," and verses 17-19, "No one ever thinks of him again." Then in verse 21, Job 18:21, Bildad says, "Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who knows not God.” A godless man.
Well, given the context, he is saying these things about Job. This is his explanation for what Job is going through. "You are a wicked, godless man. You don't know God." This is the one about whom God boasted to Satan, "Have you considered my servant, Job? He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." So they're about as far from Job as they possibly could be. So Job could easily ask “Bildad, why, my friend, are you saying these things to me?"
So in chapter 19, he responds, verse one through three, “Job replied, ‘How long will you torment me and crush me with words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me.’" It's evident that these things hurt him. It's hurtful to him to hear this. They have added to his misery and his torture. They're part of the entire experience of suffering he's going through. All right, so much for Bildad. With your consent, we'll move on from Bildad. What do you say? Let's go ahead.
II. Job at His Worst: Accusing God of Injustice
Now, let's look at Job at his worst, accusing God of injustice. Look at verses 6-7, chapter 19, "Know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice." Now that is staggering, but it's essential for us to hear, for it is quickly on the lips of all people who stare into the terrifying blackness of the problem of evil in this world and try to reconcile the problem of evil in this world with the concept of a sovereign, wise, loving God who created all things and rules over all things. They think it is just not possible for both those things to occur. Everyone who feels the weight of human suffering is soon tempted to hurl this same accusation up to the heavenly throne to accuse Almighty God of injustice.
Now that is why the whole topic of theology that we're addressing here week after week, addressing the problem of evil and suffering is called theodicy. The word literally means the justification of God, or perhaps the vindication of God, or the establishment of God's righteousness or justice in all of this. That's what theodicy means. The idea that we are defending a just God in the face of the problem of evil and suffering and pain, theodicy. So God is just, he is righteous, even in the face of such evils that happen to people on earth.
So Job, by venting this wicked thought toward God, he is serving the whole human race, because it's what we are thinking. It's what enemies of Christianity are thinking as they look at the problem of evil and say, “There can't be a good God. The one you celebrate, look at the problem of evil.” So he's serving us by venting that, because we all have the exact same temptation when we begin to suffer. Let's not worry so much about apologetics and sharing the gospel with others. When you go through suffering, these thoughts come in your mind. You begin to wonder, you use language of fairness, perhaps. "It's not fair," that kind of thing, but it's the issue of justice, questioning the justice of God.
Now this will be the very thing that God will convict Job of when he appears in the whirlwind. Second phase after Job says something then in Job 40:6-8, "The Lord spoke to Job out of the storm," verse seven, 40:7, "‘Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’" This is Job 40:8. "‘Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?’" So this is the first thing he brings up in terms of Job's specific statements. "It is wrong for you to question my justice so you can justify yourself."
So he brings this issue up. Here we see the frailty of all human beings, even the most virtuous man on the planet, the amazing Job. He is amazing. Certainly Job began the trial well, as you remember in Job 1:22, says, "In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." So he started well, and then again, in chapter two, verse 10, after he was afflicted, his body was afflicted with disease, it says, "In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." But, listen, once he accuses God of injustice, all of that virtue is gone. This is a sin. We should not say, "Oh, Job never sinned against God in what he said." He didn't at the beginning, that's true, but this is sin to say this, and this is exactly why Job felt the need to repent.
If you want to be very loyal to Job and say, "No, no, no, he never," then why did he repent and God accepted it? He says in Job 42:4-6, "[‘Listen,’] you said, ‘Now listen, and I will speak; I will question you and you shall answer me.’ My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” “I should not have said, God, what I said to you."
Isn't it ironic, if you really think about this, how ironic it is that atheists accuse God of injustice, but in so doing, they're actually proving the existence of a God of justice? Where did they get the sense of justice in their hearts? Where did that come from? A sense of justice burning in their hearts, and then they're willing to accuse God of injustice. They do not realize, as we do, the reason why is they're created in the image of God, and some of that image remains, and they do have a sense of justice inside their hearts. Our sense of justice is part of being created in the image of God, but let me tell you, the scope and dimensions of our justice compared to God's justice cannot even be compared. It's as though our justice is like, you know, those little paper books of matches, and you rip off one of those little cardboard matches and you light it on a bright sunny day and hold it up and look at the sun and the match. So the flickering match is just about to go out, because it's a breezy day. That flickering match is your sense of justice, and the sun, 93 million miles away, blazing in glory, is less than God's commitment to justice.
"How ironic it is that atheists accuse God of injustice, but in so doing, they're actually proving the existence of a God of justice? Where did they get the sense of justice in their hearts?"
"What do you mean by saying that, pastor?" Well, we go right to the greatest display of God's justice there ever has been and ever will be, the cross of Jesus Christ. You want to know how committed God is to justice? Look to the cross. Look to what God did to his only begotten son, whom he loves. Romans 3:25-26, "God presented [Christ] as a propitiation, a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he left the sins committed beforehand unpunished." What does that mean, “the sins committed beforehand”? Old Testament saints. You mean like this one by Job? Yes, exactly like this one by Job. Unpunished, and yet Job's in heaven.
So he did it to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance, he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time so as to be both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ. How can he be both just and also justify us, forgive us, welcome us into heaven? That's a problem for God. We don't think of it as a problem, but it's a problem for him, and he solved it by crushing his own Son under his just wrath as our substitute, our guilt, our sins transferred to the substitute, and he dies in our place. That's the display of justice. That is God's commitment to justice. So in other words, Christ's death on the cross as our substitute under the searing, infinite wrath of God is his eternal and best, highest display of the justice of God.
God was saying effectively to all the universe for all time, "I would rather crush, I would rather slaughter my Son, my only Son, Jesus, whom I love, in ways you can't even imagine how much I love him. I would rather crush him than allow a single sinner into heaven with his sins unatoned for, with my righteous laws crying out for that sinner's condemnation. I would rather slaughter my son than give any sinner a free pass into heaven without his lawless deeds having been atoned for, and I'm willing to do that to my Son," and don't think it was easy for the father. There was darkness, a dreadful darkness over the whole land, from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, and at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", and then when he died, there was a massive earthquake and the ground shook and the rocks split open.
"So in other words, Christ's death on the cross as our substitute under the searing, infinite wrath of God is his eternal and best, highest display of the justice of God."
That's the cost of that display, but that's God's commitment to justice. So that's the raging, brilliant sun of God's commitment to justice. What about yours? How committed to justice are you? Are you up there with that paper match? "Oh, but at least my match is burning." Yes, you have a commitment to justice because you're created in the image of God, and you should develop that commitment to justice, but God's is greater, infinitely greater, and for all of that, Job accused God of injustice. He didn't know what he was saying. He didn't understand what he was talking about. He says he's been wronged. He says though he cries out for justice, he gets no answer from God at all. Furthermore, it seems he's accusing God of using his overpowering strength to be his enemy. He's using his terrifying power to destroy him, as though God were not only unjust, but a tyrant, a bully, his enemy. "God is acting like my enemy."
Look at Job, 19:8-12, just paraphrasing, he says, "God has blocked me in; I cannot get past God. God covers my path in darkness; I cannot find my way. God has stripped me of all of my honors; I'm humiliated before everyone. God tears me down; he uproots all my hopes like a tree. God is like a mighty army advancing against me in force. God's already defeated me out in the plain of battle, and then when I fled to my fortress city, God has besieged me and is destroying my walls, and will conquer this city too. That's what God is to me."
Now, note how terrifying it would be to have Almighty God as your personal enemy. Nothing could be more terrifying than that. Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." So that's what he feels vertically, "And God is my enemy," but then horizontally, he feels complete societal rejection, social rejection. Verses 13-19, Job runs through the depths and dimensions of the rejection and humiliation he's felt from every person he knows in his life, even his wife. Verse 17, his wife cannot stand being near him. She can't stand the smell of his breath. It's offensive to her, verse 17.
John Calvin, in his sermon on this section of Job, singles her out for this level of betrayal. We know that earlier, she's the one that said to her husband, "Curse God and die," but here, it's the indication that she also turned away from him in every respect at his time of need and gave him no comfort at all, probably believing that same theology that we've been talking about, "You're the reason for all of this."
Calvin said this, "His wife showed herself like a savage beast in this situation." For better or worse, richer or poor, sickness and health, that's what we promised to do. I don't know what their vows were, but that's what marriage is, and she turned away from him, turned her back on him. But it wasn't just her. His closest relatives shunned him, his brothers, his kinsman, all his friends, including these three so-called friends sitting with him, his servants, cannot stand him. They won't come when he summons them. They have no respect for him at all. His acquaintances, as well, want nothing to do with him. Even little boys show him disrespect, because undoubtedly, they heard the slanderous reports about this secretly corrupt man who, it turns out, evidently was the greatest hypocrite in the world. No respect, even from little boys.
Now, these days in the world of social media, we have a phenomenon known as “cancel culture,” you've heard of that. Someone says or does something deemed reprehensible and everyone cancels that person, cuts them out entirely. Well, let me tell you something: that was not invented recently in the smartphone and social media and digital age—it's been going on in every generation, and it was going on in Job's time as well, but you know what? It especially happened with Jesus. They all canceled him.
Isaiah 53:3, speaking of Christ, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Everyone ran away from him, his closest friends, one of them betrayed him, another one denied him. Everyone hated him and cried for Barabbas instead of him. So that was Christ.
So Job begs for pity from his friends, verse 21, 19:21, he says, "Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me." So we've seen Job at his worst and the context for it, accusing God of injustice. Now let's see Job at his best, testifying of his Redeemer and of his own personal resurrection glory.
III. Job at His Best: Testifying of His Redeemer
Look at verse 23-24, interesting verse, did you notice it? "Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead or engraved in rock forever!" Isn't it amazing he would say that? "I wish someone would write down my words so that people in future generations could read them." Wish granted, Job.
Here we are, literally millennia later, reading his words. Now I think in heaven, he might wish some of them hadn't been recorded for us to study, but there they are. God had a purpose. It was why he brought Job through this, so that he could bring consolation to God's people in every generation for thousands of years. So he yearns for that, and so God crafted a way that these words would be written down for us in the Scriptures, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit coming on the author, writing down these words, and then God, in his sovereignty, protecting them from every satanic attack for centuries so that we can read.
As Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away,” and neither will Job's. So this is the doctrine of the inspiration and permanence of Scripture, a very human book written by very ordinary people going through specific circumstances, and the words that they wrote on the page were inspired by the Holy Spirit, preserved through all time for us to read and study. 2 Peter 1:21, "Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." So Job's words are more permanent than heaven and earth. They will go on into eternity.
Now Job is about to say some things that soar beyond his immediate circumstances. They have far greater meaning for us as Christians than they did for Job when he said them. Given that we are beyond, in history, the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Redeemer, and we can put far more detail to these words than Job could, Job spoke these words, but as I've already told you a few times before, the Old Testament prophets didn't fully understand the import of all the words they said. So he says this, and then he is right back in the same mentality in the next chapter, that's just how it went for him. So he didn't fully understand everything he said.
Let's look at it again. Verse 25-27, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon 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!" So let's just walk through these words as Job might have understood them, and then, in a moment, expand them to see how more powerfully clear and impactful they are for us as Christians.
First, how does he understand it? He says, "I know that my Redeemer lives." Now, the word redeemer, the Hebrew word is often translated in the Old Testament, kinsman redeemer, kinsman redeemer. The idea is of a near relative who can step in and save the day for a family member who is in deep trouble. So in a larger sense, the kinsman redeemer is one who is defending the family honor as a whole from shame or trouble, that's what a kinsman redeemer does. The kinsman redeemer might avenge the death of a murdered relative, or pay a price to redeem someone out of slavery, or redeem some property that has fallen into debt.
The clearest picture of the activities of a kinsman redeemer in the Bible is the book of Ruth, that sweet little four chapter book of Ruth, where, you remember, Ruth was a widow, husband had died, and Boaz was a kinsman redeemer, and Boaz steps in, saves the day for Ruth and for Naomi, her mother-in-law, and by his qualities, as I just think he's one of the great pictures of a godly husband, Ruth one of the great pictures of a godly wife. There's just a lot of quality in them as a couple, but he's acting as a kinsman redeemer. She's in trouble, she's a widow, she needs protection, she was poor, and so Boaz steps in and acts as a kinsman redeemer. God is sometimes called by this title, but generally just Redeemer. We don't usually say kinsman redeemer with God, but he redeems Israel out of all of her troubles.
All right, so the problem is, as we read it, who does Job have in mind? Who's in his mind as his kinsman redeemer? It's the same thing we've already seen before in Job 9:33-34, he said, "If only there was someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, [me and God], someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more." A mediator—he's yearning for a mediator. Job 9:33-34, and then as we saw last week, Job 16:19-21, he says, "Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” Same thing, yearning for an individual who stands before God on his behalf and begs and pleads and intercedes. You know, a witness, an advocate, an intercessor, a friend.
And he uses the same language in Job 16, "I know I have that. I've got that." So in the end, this redeemer must have been, to some degree, a mystery to Job. Who could do that? Who could be a kinsman redeemer when my problem is God, or who could ever do that? But somehow God has given Job the faith to see through all his tears and all his pain and his sorrows to see a redeemer, a kinsman redeemer. "I know that my redeemer lives." He's a living redeemer, and that redeemer will, in the end, be fully successful in vindicating Job. Verse 25, "And that in the end he will stand upon the earth." “In the end” means final act of the drama, and the final analysis, getting the final word, he will vindicate me. Job's advocate, Job's witness, Job's mediator, Job's redeemer, Job's friend, his intercessor is now alive, he says, and he will win the case on Job's behalf.
Now, how Job understood that person must remain a mystery, but he knows him now. He knows him now, and so do we, because we're further along in redemptive history. Job's faith soars beyond his Redeemer standing in victory on his behalf. His language soars up to the issue of resurrection. Look at verse 26-27, "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."
Now, I've already said in a sermon two weeks ago, Job's understanding of the resurrection is unclear. It's hard to know exactly what Job really believed, even with these words, we don't know. Remember how I preached in Job 14:14, the question he asked, "If a man dies, will he live again?", and in that context, in that chapter, it seemed like he was saying no, but now we've got this great statement here.
So I believe that the Old Testament saints had some shadowy vision of life after death, some sense of a better country to which we're going, a better life. Hebrews 11:16, "They were longing for a better country—a heavenly one." They had that. I don't think that Job's words could be merely reduced here to his own physical healing. “I know that I'll get healed from this disease, and that in my flesh, I will see God.” It just goes beyond that. I don't think he's just talking about healing.
The KJV, interestingly, adds worms. It's not in the Hebrew text, I don't know how or where that came about, but KJV, Job 19:26 says, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh, I shall see God." So the idea of worms there kind of points to the grave, points to the corruption that comes when a corpse is buried, and then the worms have at the corpse, although there are worms on Job even in his life.
Final destination, "I will see God, I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.” “I will be in the presence of God. I will stand before him." Now he does experience this to some degree at the end, when God appears to him out of the whirlwind, a theophany, appears to him, it says in Job 42:5, "My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you," but these words in Job 19 seem to go even beyond that experience, and the final statement, "How my heart yearns or burns within me."
IV. Christian Testimony Greater than Job’s
Well, that's Job. I don't fully know what he was thinking as he said that. What about us? How can we hear these exact same words a little better than Job might have said them at the time? Basic conviction I have here, as I said a couple weeks ago, is we just know more than Job. We're further along, we have more information than Job had, much better, and so we've already seen in Hebrews 8:6 that we have better promises. God has given us through Christ, our mediator, better promise, better promises. Hebrews 8:6, "The ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises." So better promises lead what? To a better hope.
We have that in Hebrew 7:19, "A better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." The word better in the book of Hebrews means better than the Old Testament folks had. That's what he means by better. Better ministry, better promises, better hope than Job had. John Calvin says this, “Job spoke these words from the time when there was not yet great doctrine, when possibly even the law (of Moses) was not yet written… So, then, having only a little spark of light, he was so strengthened in his afflictions… What excuse will there be today [for us Christians] when God declares the resurrection to us so exactly and so explicitly, and he gives us such beautiful promises of it? And even considered that we see the mirror and substance of it in our Lord Jesus Christ, that he was raised in order to show us that we must not doubt that we are at once partakers of his immortal glory?”
In other words, we have so much more information and more glorious doctrine, we Christians should suffer better, we should do better. That's what he's saying. So we have a clear history of Christ's bodily resurrection recorded in the four gospels, plus we have clear promises that we ourselves shall be raised from the grave by Christ's voice. We have clear doctrine from Paul as to what our resurrection bodies will be like. We have better promises than Job did. We, therefore, should have a more vigorous, three-dimensional hope than he did, but Job's amazing words in particular can come alive for us. So what I like to do is just use them as a springboard from the Old Testament into some beautiful New Testament landing spots. Just a gateway, just going phrase by phrase and say, "Do you see what we have now?" Whatever Job meant when he said those words, what does it mean for us?
So let's start with the beginning. "I know, I know." Well, our knowledge is better than his. Whatever it was the ground of his knowledge that his Redeemer lives, ours is better. Why? Because we have this, dear friends, we have the new Testament. We have the completed perfect word of God, and we have this account. You remember this? Luke 24:39, Jesus, to his own disciples in the upper room, after his crucifixion, after his resurrection from the dead, Jesus said this, "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." You can touch the resurrected body of Jesus by faith, not physically, but not having seen him, you can believe in him, and you can understand the physicality of his resurrection by this text.
He also said this beautiful promise. He said, "I know that my Redeemer." What about us? What do we know? How about this? This promise, John 11:25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." That's a great promise. Don't you think that qualifies as a better promise? That is a sweet, detailed, better promise. We can take that to the grave. Job, at the end of Job 14, said, "Will hope and I go down to the grave?" This promise, John 11, will go with you down to the grave and beyond, but then he asked, "[Martha,] do you believe this?" Do you? Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that he will raise you from the dead? Do you believe, like 2 Corinthians 5:1, Paul uses knowing language? No. “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” He's talking about the resurrection body. “We know this,” that's what Paul says, and then Jesus said in John 5:28-29, "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out." You're going to hear the voice of Jesus and come out in a resurrection body.
Then he says, "I know that my redeemer lives." Jesus is the perfect kinsman and the perfect redeemer. How is he kinsman? How is he kin to us? Hebrews 2:11 says of Jesus, "Both the one who makes men holy," that's Jesus, "and those who are made holy are," listen to this, "of the same family." We're kin, of the same family. "So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” He is our kinsman, and he's redeemer, 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed [from your sins,] the empty way of life handed down to you, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
Kinsman redeemer, that's what Jesus is, and I know that my redeemer lives, Jesus is alive. Do you know that? Do you know that he lives? He's been raised from the dead and he cannot die again. He's still alive. Romans 6:9-10, "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once and for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." Indestructible life, the author of Hebrews calls it, indestructible life. “I know that my redeemer lives, and [that at the last or] in the end, he's going to take his stand.” In the end of what? The end of all things. “I am the alpha and the omega,” said Jesus. “The first and last, the beginning and the end.” At the end, there is an end day.
So the final drama, the second coming of Christ, the end of the age, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." That's the end, that's where we're going. Second coming of Christ, instantaneous change, in the flash, in the twinkling of an eye, and he will stand. He's going to take his stand with those resurrected, glorified feet. He's going to come back to earth and he's going to take his stand on the ground.
You say, "Well, where?" I'll tell you where. The Mount of Olives. "Are you sure about that, pastor?" Well, I'm surer of other things in theology than that, but listen to the text, Zechariah 14:4, "On that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem." Read Zechariah 14, context, we're talking about the second coming. So wouldn't it make perfect sense for the exact place where he took off and ascended and the clouds hid him from their sight that he would come back to the same place? He's going to take his stand. He's coming back to Earth, and he's going to stand on the earth, the Hebrew word could refer to dust, kind of refers to “dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” but Christ, our redeemer, will, on that final day, stand triumphant over the dust and raise us up.
Daniel 12:2 says, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake; some to everlasting life." So we went back to dust, and he's going to raise us up from the dust. You think, "How could he do that?" He can do it, he's powerful. He's going to take his stand. "And even though my body is destroyed," old age will destroy your body, disease will destroy your body, then death will destroy your corpse; worms, bacteria will finish the corruption, but our resurrected bodies will so show Christ's powerful victory over the plagues of the grave. Hosea 13:14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death." Now listen to this. "Where, O death, are your plagues?" That's what Hosea says, "Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?"
The plagues of death in the grave will have been conquered by resurrection, and he says, "Yet, in my flesh, I will see God." We believe in a bodily resurrection, just like Jesus. "Touch me and see, I'm not a ghost." He eats broiled fish. 1 Corinthians 15 says, "The body that sown is perishable, is raised imperishable; it's sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body." So you're going to get an imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual body. "In my flesh." In my flesh what? "I will see God."
You're going to see God. Job didn't see God, he saw theophany. I know what the language says in the Old Testament, but John 1 says, "No man has ever seen God at any time." That waits for the resurrection, for the glorification, for resurrected eyes and minds and hearts that can handle a full view of the face of Almighty God. God said to Moses, "No one can see me and live." So it says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, "Now we see but a poor reflection as a mirror, then we shall see face to face." Also, 1 John 3:2, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, [Why?] for we shall see him as he is." Then Revelations 22:3-4, "The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will serve him, and they will see his face." That's your future, if you're a child of God, you will see the face of God, and his name will be on your foreheads.
So final statement, "How my heart yearns [or burns] within me." Remember the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and Jesus sat down and went through scriptures with them? I hope that it's been a little bit like that with you, that the spirit of Christ has been in me, unfolding scriptures, and when Jesus broke the bread and their eyes were open, they realized who he was, and he disappeared from them, they said, "Were not our hearts burning within us when he opened the scriptures to us?"
What about you, dear friend? Is your heart yearning and burning within you for this? Do you know that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Have you trusted in him? There is a day of salvation, and that day is now. We don't know how many more days you individually will have, how many more days you individually be alive. We don't know how many more days this history will continue, but today is the day of salvation. Would it not be sweet for your heart to yearn and burn within you, knowing that Christ is your redeemer, your kinsman redeemer, and that you are going to, in resurrection body, see the face of God? Close with me in prayer.
Lord, thank you for the truth of the Word of God. It's infinitely deep, infinitely deep, beyond anything we can comprehend, and Lord, we know that in heaven, we'll have an eternity to be educated in your glory. We will be continually learning how glorious and how powerful you are, but Lord, give us as many foretastes now as you will. Help us to meditate on scripture, help us to put it into practice. Help us when we are going through afflictions and sorrows and trials and it hurts, and we don't know why you're not answering our prayers, we don't know why you're not bringing healing or bringing a resolution, we don't know, and it hurts, it's so hurtful. Help us not to question your justice or your love or your power or your wisdom. Help us to just draw close to you and to trust in you and to find solace in your infinite majesty. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.