Job 18-19

My Redeemer lives!

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. Job 18:25 NLT

What an incredible statement in the middle of incredibly difficult circumstances. Job is suffering inexplicably and unexpectedly. He is being relentlessly attacked and accused by his friends for his apparent wickedness. But in the midst of it all, he cries out, “I know that my Redeemer lives!” What is he saying? At the least, he is expressing belief in a God who will one day vindicate him and prove him as being innocent. It will be proved that his sufferings are not the result of sin and are not some form of divine punishment for wrongs done. Job knows that he will be redeemed in the end. He may die, but he will stand before the Lord with a new body and innocent of any wrong-doing. The word Job uses for “Redeemer” is  גָּאַל (gaal, “to redeem, protect, vindicate”). Listen to what the Net Bible study notes have to say about this rich word: “The word is well-known in the OT because of its identification as the kinsman-redeemer (see the Book of Ruth). This is the near kinsman who will pay off one’s debts, defend the family, avenge a killing, marry the widow of the deceased. The word ‘redeemer’ evokes the wrong connotation for people familiar with the NT alone; a translation of ‘Vindicator’ would capture the idea more. The concept might include the description of the mediator already introduced in Job 16:19, but surely here Job is thinking of God as his vindicator. The interesting point to be stressed here is that Job has said clearly that he sees no vindication in this life, that he is going to die. But he knows he will be vindicated, and even though he will die, his vindicator lives. The dilemma remains though: his distress lay in God’s hiding his face from him, and his vindication lay only in beholding God in peace.”

In the face of the unrelenting onslaught of his friends’ accusations, Job is anxious for someone to vindicate him (to clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like: to vindicate someone’s honor). He is longing to have someone stand up for him and he knows that the only one who will do so is God Himself. Job pleads with his friends to show him mercy. “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me” (Job 19:21 NLT). But they are not willing to show him mercy. So Job is left with God alone as his future source of hope and restoration. Job knows that he may very well die. But he believes that he will stand before God one day with a new body and a clean record. “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 19:26-27 NLT). Job could face death because he believed in an eternity. He also believed in a God who would redeem him and restore him. As bad as his life was, Job could face it only because of his belief in God and his hope in an eternal destiny.

So what about us? How do we face the trials and tests of life? Where do we focus our attention? Yes, Job was fully aware of his suffering. He was not living some Pollyanna dream where he refused to face reality. He was in pain. He was suffering. But he kept going back to the only thing he could trust – God. There was a lot he didn’t understand about God and his own circumstances, but he did know that God was just, righteous, and merciful. He also knew that there was more to life than the here and now. There was a future life ahead of him and he was counting on it. It was there that his vindication would be completed. His honor would be restored. Even his body would be renewed. It was that belief that kept Job going in the face of extreme difficulty. And we have the same hope. We have a Redeemer who will one day vindicate us. He will welcome us into His presence as righteous, spotless, and completely sinless. We will have restored bodies and hearts that are free from sin. And in the last part of Job’s statement, I think we get a glimpse of the future reality of Christ’s triumphant return to earth as the conquering Messiah. “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last” (Job 19:25 NLT). There is a day coming when Jesus Christ will return to earth, not to suffer and die, but to rule, restore, and reign. That is our hope. That is our future. That is why we can cry out along with Job, “I know my Redeemer lives!” He will set all things right. He will vindicate and avenge His own. We will be revealed to be what we have always claimed to be: God’s children.

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God
That spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Now I know, my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know
My Redeemer

He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives
Forever I’ll proclaim
That the payment for my sins
Was the precious life He gave
And now He’s alive and
There’s an empty
Grave!

And I know
My Redeemer lives
He lives
I know
My Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer

I know
My Redeemer lives

©2009 Nicole Mullins

Father, thank You for the reminder that my Redeemer lives. And while I may not understand all that happens in this life, and I may not enjoy all that I encounter as I live my life, I can rest in the truth that my Redeemer really does live. And He is going to return for me some day. There is a day coming when I will stand before Your throne and my righteousness will be vindicated and my sinlessness will be validated. Help me keep my focus on that reality. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org