Thursday 30 September 2010

Bible Book:

"For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth." (v.25)

Job 19:21-27a Thursday 30 September 2010


Job has had a hard time. Despite being a righteous man of faith,God has allowed Satan to take from him all his many livestock, hischildren and to cover him with painful sores. Job's friends wereinitially sympathetic, but after he complained they began tosuggest that since God is just, Job must have done something todeserve all his misfortune. Given the scale of this misfortune, Jobmust have done something very bad indeed. Then for the last 15chapters Job has been debating with his friends and insisting thathe has done nothing wrong.

In today's passage Job asks again for the pity of his friends,reminding them that God has taken his riches and family away. Heasks why his friends are being unjust to him and seem to be intenton chasing him just like God is. His wish for his words to bewritten down is ironic: as a character in a story the wish hasalready been granted.

The passage ends with a striking declaration (verses 25-27): allthat has happened to him has not diminished his faith at all. Inhis frail state Job looks forward to the time when his redeemerwill come to stand on the earth and Job will see God. (The originaltext in the Hebrew is less clear than the NRSV translation - thatthis redeemer who will stand on the earth is God - though this isclearly one interpretation.)

Job's patience and hope continue to be remarkable. He believes Godhas been unjust to him; he knows his friends are being unfair andunkind. And yet he has confidence that in time all will be well,that the truth will be made known and that he will see God face toface. The text inspired the famous Samuel Medley hymn:

I know that my Redeemer lives -
What joy the blest assurance gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my everlasting Head.


To Ponder

How do you respond to Job's cries to his friendsin this passage?

Are you familiar with other examples of holdingon to faith in tough circumstances, like Job? What impact does thishave on you?

Medley's hymn takes a decidedly Christianinterpretation of Job's words and assumes Job is talking aboutJesus. To what extent does this respect the verse that inspiredhim?

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