God is sovereign over our hurt. He does all things for his glory and the good of his people. He can be fully trusted and hoped in. In this message on Job 1–3, Deric Thomas teaches us that God used Job in a mighty way for his glory and our good.
- Redemption Promised in Genesis
- Redemption Experienced by Job
- Redemption Available and Applied Today
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Then Job arose and he tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped, and he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Let’s pray. Father, you are glorious and majestic. God, you sit in the heavens, and you do whatever you please. God, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You are the eternal one and the holy one. God, you are all-powerful, and you alone are our hearts’ desires, and we praise you and worship you, and we bow before you, desiring as your servants to hear your voice, to be healed and given hope and encouraged and strengthened. God, give us wisdom and show us wonderful things from your Word. Lord, we need you. We are dependent upon you for everything. God, would you rain down on us bread from heaven, and would you help us to see the glory of the bread from heaven? In Jesus, we pray in His name, amen.
Job 3 Explores Suffering in the World
How do you explain the undeserved suffering of God’s people? It’s like trying to explain why one of our brothers in Christ, who, living in Haiti and just a few weeks ago, lost his wife as a building collapsed on her, and she left behind four sons ranging in age from 3 to 16. Is all hurt and suffering the result of the personal and particular sins of the person who is enduring that hurt and suffering? Why are we so often quick to make such pious judgments when we see great hurt and suffering in people’s lives, and say things like, “Well, of course there would be an earthquake in Haiti. With all of the wicked and godless people who live there, why wouldn’t there?” What about all the people who loved Jesus? What about all of those who loved God with all of their heart, and yet, who have lost family members, children, mothers, fathers, grandchildren, friends, who don’t even have a place to worship right now, for their facilities have crumbled. Why are we so quick to think that when we endure hurt and suffering and pain, it has to be because of something wrong in our lives, or the reason why others go through that is because there’s something going wrong in their life, when, in reality, you look at all human history, and you see the history of people who hurt and who have pain and who suffer, and yet we seem to be surprised. I mean you look at the history of God’s people, and even in the history of God’s people, even in God’s story, you see great hurt and pain and suffering. In fact, think about this theme with me for just a moment, but before we do, let me ask you a question. Why is it that there are so many of us who love stories so much?
God’s Story (HIStory)
I mean my children, one of the first things they say to me before they go down to bed is, “Daddy, tell us a story.” I used to love stories, too, when I was young, and I used to enjoy history to some degree, but the older I got, the more stories didn’t capture my heart the way that they used to, and even as a non-Christian, as I grew and moved into high school, to be honest, I began to hate history. “Who cares what happened to so-and-so, and such-and-such on this date? What does that have to do with me?” It shows you the folly in my own heart, but being just a public schoolboy, and not realizing that, well, all of the stories of history and even all of the random stories that I’d heard my whole life about different aspects of life and reality, they were just random, and I didn’t realize that history was His story. When God saved me, and He opened my eyes to the fact that history was His story, and that history was all about His glory, and His greatness, and His goodness, I’m telling you, when I saw that, and when I began to read the Bible, and God began to open my eyes to things I’d never thought about before, it changed the way that I thought about everything, and, particularly, it changed the way that I thought about my own hurt and my own suffering, and my own pain.
The Genesis Story
Think about it with me for a moment since we’ve been reading Genesis. Let’s go through the Genesis story and see this theme of hurt. First, it’s clear in Genesis that sin brought hurt for all humanity. God, in the beginning, who created all things and exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the God who is glorious, the God who is great, the God who is good and perfect and majestic and wonderful and self-existent and eternal, with no beginning, creates time. He creates humanity in His image, male and female, and they are the pinnacle of His creation. He also creates the angelic realm, all for His glory, to proclaim His greatness and His goodness, and one of those angels rebels and says, “No.” Lucifer is cast from heaven to earth, and he takes on the form of a serpent, and he comes to Adam and Eve, and he deceives Eve, and Adam and Eve fall into sin, and when they fall into sin, with sin comes death, and with death comes fear of God and guilt and shame. That’s the beginning of the hurt, so now, you have this man who was created to labor in the garden and to enjoy his work, and to provide for his wife with what God had given him, and now it’s by the sweat of his brow that he will go to that earth and seek to bring provision, and it will fight back against him.
Now, the woman, who was to be fruitful and multiply and have offspring and children, the birthing process was not supposed to hurt, and now it would be with tears and with pain that she would bring forth children. Before the fall, divorce wasn’t even an option. They were happy. Everything was wonderful. They walked with God in the cool of the day, and Adam and Eve loved each other, and they talked to each other, and their relationship was just perfect, but now, after the fall, there would be abuse and rebellion, and conflict and curses, and the potential for divorce in the future for their children, and the potential for immorality and debauchery. Think about it. God gave them two sons. Thank you, God, for Abel and Cain, and yet it would be years later that they would bury their own son, Abel, when his wicked, jealous brother killed him. You think they didn’t hurt from that? Can you feel Eve’s pain as she buries her son, Abel?
Then, you have this long genealogy, this long story and picture from Adam to Noah, and after you hear everyone’s name, you hear, “And he died…and he died…and he died,” and the reality that just resounds is that, well, everybody dies. Yes, children die sometimes, and husbands and wives and parents die, and grandparents die, and burials multiply and funerals continue on, and yet, we leave the funerals and life goes on, and there’s hurt.
Then, you have the natural creation. You have natural disasters, like floods, and maybe with that flood, there in the beginning, there were mudslides, and maybe even the first tsunami, but creation begins to rumble because, well, sin brought hurt not just for humanity but harm for all creation. Sin brought harm for all creation. You would think things get better after that, but Noah, who built the ark which God had given him as a means to survive the flood, gets off the ark, and he takes what God has given him with fruit, and he makes wine, and he gets drunk. He abuses and over-indulges in the substance, the good gifts that God has given him, and as a result there’s hurt. Some of you know the hurt quite well of those who abuse substances.
Then, there’s Abraham and Sarah. Abraham, this man of God, gives his wife away; he lies about it, and he says, “She’s not my wife. She’s my sister.” Why does he do it? Because he selfishly wants to preserve his own life. Then, his son, Isaac, does the same thing later on with his wife, Rebekah. What about the fact that Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Rebekah go years trying to have children, and they can’t have children? It says, “Their wombs were barren.” Why? It should not be this way.
Then, you have children that are eventually born, and even among those children, you have a mother who loves one son, Jacob, more than she loves Esau. Some of you know what it’s like to be loved or not loved by one of your parents. Then, there’s conflict in the home, and Jacob and Esau are fighting like Cain and Abel, and it continues on. Then, well, you’ve got great sexual immorality, like the rape of Dinah, one of Jacob’s daughters. She was defiled by Shechem. Then, you have Joseph and his own brothers. You see this picture of conflict again relationally, and you see this injustice that you can’t even describe. He’s sold into slavery, and then, he’s falsely and unjustly accused by Potiphar’s wife, who wants to have sex with another man who is not her husband, and he is accused of doing that, falsely, and he goes to prison unjustly. You would think that the people of God in the land of Canaan, in the land of God, the Promised Land, would have had it made. So, why is it that famine hits the Promised Land, and the bellies of God’s people and their children are bloated, because they don’t have enough to eat. This is a dismal picture.
Now, let’s focus in on the story of one man in particular. Let’s think about Job’s story. Turn there with me to the book of Job. Just to give you a little bit of historical setting, we’ve talked about Abraham, and we’ve talked about Isaac, and we’ve talked about Jacob, now the story of Job. Job lived, most scholars believe, around the time of the Patriarchs. So, if you think just historically, Job is living around the same time as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
So, let’s start with Job’s story, and we see that Job was a holy and helpful man. Look at verse 1 and see Job’s holiness. “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and who turned away from evil.” Job was blameless. He was upright. He was confronted with evil at times, but he, unlike most, turned away from evil because he feared God. Notice, God says the same thing about Job. I mean the testimony of God was that Job was holy. Look at 1:8, “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and who turns away from evil.’” Job was holy. You see Job’s holiness and his blamelessness in the way that he loved and cared and helped his family.
Look at verse 5, and see his character show up first in his own home. Verse 5, “And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them [his children], and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.” Notice Job’s consistency. He continually leads his family spiritually. He prays for them. He knows that they need a Savior. He loves each one individually and personally. He makes sacrifices for them. He rises early in the morning.
Job was a holy man, and he was a helpful man. He helped his own family, but his help did not stop in his own family. Look with me at 4:3. We see the helpfulness of Job, “Behold, Job, you have instructed many…” Job was a teacher. He taught his own family. He taught others outside of that. In fact, he taught many, “And you have strengthened the weak hands.” Those who were weak, Job would build them up; he would strengthen them. Verse 4, “Your words have upheld him who was stumbling…” So, those brothers and sisters who would stumble, Job would come and speak words to them, and he would hold them up. Verse 4, “And you have made firm the feeble knees…” Job was an encourager.
God had been gracious to Job, and Job was a holy man, and he was a helpful man, but he was also, if you noticed, a helpless man. Back in 1:8, you see the helplessness of Job, and here’s what I mean by helpless. I mean there were things going on that Job had no idea about, and he wasn’t in control of. He was not the captain of his own ship. Verse 8, “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant, Job?’” So, the Lord initiates all of this. Not Job, not Satan, but the Lord. “Have you considered him? There’s none like him. He’s blameless, upright; he turns away from evil.” Then, Satan answered, “Does Job fear God for no reason?” I mean, “You’ve protected him; you’ve taken care of him.” Then, in verse 12, the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand.” “Okay, Job. Your life is not in your hand. In fact, your life is in my hand,” God says, “and I’m going to give you to Satan, and I’m going to take him up on his wager.” Job is just there. He’s going to have to live through this, and he’s helpless. Job was not only helpless, but look at 1:20, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and he shaved his head and fell on the ground and he worshiped.” What else could he do?
Verse 21, “And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I mean, what else does the creation do in this moment? I mean, Job didn’t decide to be born in Uz. He didn’t decide to have the parents he had. He didn’t decide this. I mean, he was just born, and he came into the world naked. He was naked, and Job is like, “Listen, everything I have is because you’ve given it to me God, anyway. I mean, who am I? I’m the creation. You’re the creator. I’m helpless. I’m not the captain of my own ship, and so I’m just going to worship you. God, you are glorious; you are great; you are majestic; you are good, and I’m going to hope in you, God, because when I die, I will leave just as I came: naked. Blessed be your name.” However, don’t miss the fact that Job was hurt deeply.
Look at the depths of his hurt in 2:12. Now, his friends are going to go talk to him, and it says in verse 12, “And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him.” He had lost everything. He had lost his children, and he was so physically swollen and beaten, and hurt by whatever disease or sickness this was, that it had deteriorated his body to such a degree that his friends came to talk to him, and they did not recognize him. “And they raised their voices and they wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”
Look at 3:1, “After this Job opened his mouth and he cursed the day of his birth.” Birthdays are supposed to be happy. My daughter recently celebrated her three-year-old birthday, and we grilled out hamburgers and hotdogs, and my mother-in-law made a cake, and we had ice cream. She blew out the candles, and we sang, and we prayed and thanked God for three years with this girl that was a gift from Him, and we celebrated with family and friends. Birthdays are supposed to be happy, but Job was hurting so bad that he cursed the day of his birth.
Job was not only hurt deeply, but he was harassed. You want to talk about a good small group? I mean Job is hurting, and they start off good because they keep their mouths closed for a while, but then they want to start doing what we do, like, “Job, the reason why you’re suffering, according to our theological understanding and based on the Old Testament, is that, well, you’ve got sin in your life somewhere, Job,” and they harass him. These young, practical theologians come in to help their friend, and they heap acid on his burns. Look at Job 13:4. Here’s what Job says about their counsel, “As for you, you whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all. Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom! Hear now my argument and listen to the pleadings of my lips. Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him?” Be warned before you open your mouth.
Look at 16:2. Well, he just kind of summarizes them, saying, “Miserable comforters are you all.” Hurt deeply, harassed by his small group, and even in the midst of great hurt and harassment, Job was hopeful. Look again at 13:15. Job was hopeful. Notice what he said in verse 15. He said, “Listen, guys. Though He slay me, though God has dealt violently with me, I will hope in him. I will hope in God.” Even Job’s wife comes to him, and she says, “Job, curse God and die,” and Job says to his wife, “I will hope in him.”
His friends come, and they say, “Job, there has to be sin in your life. Something is wrong with your life. I mean look at you externally. Doesn’t your external appearance say something about your heart? Doesn’t what is happening to you say something about what’s going on in your heart?” Job says, “I’m definitely not going to hope in your words, but I will hope in Him.” Job was hopeful.
I mean, look at 42:2. See the hopefulness of Job in God in 42:2? I mean, Job knows this. I mean, obviously, he is thinking, “This is God’s story; God created me; God is all-powerful. I mean, He made time; He made me; I’m alive. I mean, obviously, God could do something about this.” Notice what Job says in verse 2, “God, I know that you can do all things.” He knows that. I mean there’s a conviction, “And that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Wow. God had been gracious to this man, and he recognized that he was the creation, and that he was under the sovereign authority and purposes of Almighty God, and he was okay with that.
Job was humbled and hushed. I mean Job was already a humble man, right? He was already a humble man, but God said, “Listen, I want you to see more of my glory and more of my majesty.” In 40:4, Job recognizes. He says, “Behold, I am of small account.” I mean, “God, you’re great. I’m of small account. What shall I answer you?” God has just given him this long answer that, basically, says, “I’m great, and I’m in control, and I’m God.” Verse 5, “I have spoken once, and I will not answer twice, but I will proceed no further.” Job says, “All right. I’m not going to say anything else. I’m just going to hope in you.” He was humbled, and he was hushed.
Look at Job 42:3-6, “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I do not know.” Verse 4 here, “And I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” “God, I had heard about you. I believed in you. I hoped in you. In fact, God, my hope was in you, and it still is, and I’m just going to trust you. I mean it hurts bad, and people are making it worse, but I’m just going to trust you.”
Job 3 Reminds Us that God has the Power to Heal Suffering
However, then, in the end, Job was healed, right? In the end, Job was healed. Look at 42:10. I mean this is the great ending of the story, right? Verse 10, “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Okay, twice as much. Wow. Do you think that took away the hurt of what he’d already lost? I mean we could read the end of this story and think, “There’s the crescendo. I want that to happen to me! God, I’m hurting. I’m suffering. Heal me.” Even if He does, and He does sometimes, does that take away the hurt? Job 42:12 says, “And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning.” He had seven more sons and three more daughters, and yet, did you notice at verse 17? It says he died but, “He died an old man, and full of days,” which is kind of positive, but still, Job died. There’s no doubt that Job was healed, okay?
Now, think about this: you and I are alive. What’s your story? I mean what’s going on in your life right now? I mean under God’s story. He’s in control. He’s sovereign. He’s made you. You didn’t choose to be born where you were born. You were given the parents you were given. The very reason your brain works today is because you were born in a place where you received proper nutrition, and so it formed right, and you can think, and most of you are following me, but you’ve been hurt. Maybe you can identify with some of what we listened to in Genesis, the story of hurt and pain, and maybe you can identify some with Job and what he’s gone through, but what’s your story? How have you been hurt as a result of the Fall?
The first time I read Psalm 88:18, I didn’t know what to do with it because I was still a pretty young lad. The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that the experience of the psalmist here at the end of this psalm is, well, it’s reality for some. The psalmist, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes, “You have caused my beloved…” Is that his wife? “You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.” The NIV says, “Darkness is my only friend,” and that’s what that means. The psalmist is saying, “It has gotten so bad in this world, my hurt is so deep, that darkness is my only friend. I’m thankful for you, darkness, because then I don’t have to see.”
Have you ever felt this way? Maybe you’ve closed the door and laid on the floor, or your bed in your room, in the pitch black dark, and you’ve cried. Well, all of our hearts cry out that something is wrong, don’t they? Maybe you’ve never been brought to that point, maybe not yet in your life, but all of our hearts cry out that something is wrong. Whether you’re a Christian or a non-Christian, you know something is wrong. It shouldn’t be this way. There shouldn’t be a hospital filled with children that are enduring chemotherapy because there is a disease in their young body. This shouldn’t be. Buildings shouldn’t fall on people. Waves shouldn’t crash over them and kill them. “I’m not supposed to lose my job. How am I going to provide for my family? I’m a man. God, you made me a man, and you’ve made me to subdue the earth and have dominion, and now what am I going to do? It shouldn’t be this way. Work should be joyful and wonderful, and the ground should give me what I want from it, and yet, it’s not that way anymore.” Something is wrong.
Listen to the way that Romans 8:22 puts it, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we, ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Did you catch that? Creation is groaning like a pregnant woman. I’m having flashbacks, because I remember when my wife had our first son, and I remember when we went into the hospital and her water broke. She’s beautiful, but you should have seen her face. It hurt, okay? And I hurt. She wanted the baby. She couldn’t wait to hold the baby. We’d been talking about it. She just wanted to get the baby out, and we were waiting, and we were like, “Nine months, we’ve been waiting.” We were hoping for this son. All creation is waiting. I mean, we who have the Spirit of God, the firstfruits, we long. Let me ask you this about your story: do you have the same hope as Job in the midst of your hurting? Listen to how that passage concludes in Romans 8:24, “For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
Redemption Promises in Genesis
Job was waiting for something to happen. Job was hoping in someone. He was hoping in God, but what was he hoping for? What was he trying to be patient for? All of God’s people have been waiting ever since this promise was made, right? The promise was made in Genesis. The promise of redemption. The promise of a Redeemer. The promise of a baby. The promise of a child, the seed of the woman, and what would that seed of the woman do? He would make war against the serpent, against the enemy of God, and He would make war against sin and against death, and against guilt and against shame, and the warrior God would crush. There is one who is coming, and His blood will cry out louder than the blood of Abel.
We’ve just experienced an earthquake of biblical proportions. There is one who is coming, and He will preserve His people from the wrath of God. Not in a boat, but in Himself. In Genesis 11, the people begin to think, “I know what we’ll do. We’ll rebuild; we’ll build this city up so much, and we’ll make it reach to heaven, and we’ll make a name for ourselves, and that’s how we’ll find hope. We’ll build a city, and we’ll live there, and it’ll be the best city in the world, and we’ll do it for ourselves and for our namesake, and we’ll be seen as great, and we’ll be unified.” However, God says, “You know what? There’s one who’s coming, and He will unify the people from every tribe and tongue and nation, and He will do it for my glory.”
Then, God comes to Abraham, and He promises Abraham a child, a child that will bring blessing to all the families of the earth. In other words, “Abraham, in your seed there’s going to be an offspring that’s going to come from your line, a child, and that child is going to bring blessing to North Americans, and then South Americans, and people from China and people from India, and people from Pakistan and people from Europe, and people from Vietnam and people from Australia, and people everywhere.” This child, He will come.
The Old Testament is about promises made, right? Then, you see glimpses again in Genesis, the promised Son of God. The promised Son of God will be killed to cover the sins of His people. What’s the first thing that happens when Adam and Eve sin? God clothes them with skins. A sacrifice had to be made, and when the sacrifice was made, the skins of that animal covered their guilt and shame. Then, you’ve got Abraham, and he goes up on this mountain, and he offers up his only son as a sacrifice, and God says, “No. Don’t kill your son. I will provide for you a ram,” and He does, and God provides a substitute on behalf of His people. This is pointing forward, right? Pointing forward to the baby that would be born in Bethlehem, right? The second person of the Trinity who has existed forever came from heaven to earth in the Incarnation, and He took on flesh, and He was 100 percent God and 100 percent man. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and she conceived, and she pushed this baby out. It hurt, but this baby that she was pushing out, as much as it hurt, was the hope of the world, the hope that people had been waiting for nine months, and nine years and 900 years, and thousands of years before. This baby, who would come and grow to be a man, who would grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with man would be tempted in all ways, like us, yet without sin, and unlike the first Adam, who was in the garden, and he was tempted in the garden, and he still fell, the second Adam would be tempted in the wilderness by Satan himself, and He would prevail as the holy, perfect, spotless lamb.
Redemption Experienced by Job
Redemption promised in Genesis, but redemption was experienced by Job, right? Look at Job 19. Look with me. Turn to Job 19 and see this redemption. You know, years before this redemption was experienced by Job. Notice first that Job had a Redeemer. Job had a Redeemer, and a personal relationship with the living God. Look at verse 25, “For I know my Redeemer, my Vindicator, my Rescuer, my Deliverer, the one who I have set my hope in, He lives.” Job says, “My Redeemer lives. I might die, I might hurt, but listen: I know that one day my Redeemer will live, and yes, He will die, but He will be raised.” That’s a good story. That’s a true story. That’s God’s story.
Now, listen, Job experienced redemption, and he had a personal relationship with the living God. How do you think he made it through the suffering he did? There’s no other explanation other than he knew God, and Job believed in the resurrection of the dead. He knew that he would eventually be healed. Look at verse 26. Job says, “After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” It may have been foggy; it may have been mysterious, but Job says, “I’m going to die, but in my flesh I will see God.”
I don’t know how he knew it. Somehow, I will one day have a resurrected body, with resurrected eyes, and those resurrected eyes that do not need bifocals will see the true and living God, and at the last, He will stand. God will stand in authority upon the earth. Verse 26, “And after my skin has been thus destroyed, in my flesh I will see him.” Verse 27, “Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” Job is in the midst of pain and suffering, and he says, “You know what? When I think about my Redeemer and the fact that He lives, I am boiling over, and I can’t wait to see Him.” That’s hope.
Who was Job’s Redeemer? That’s a great question. I mean, you know the answer already, right? Jesus Christ was Job’s Redeemer. He was perfect in holiness. He was tempted in all ways like us, yet without sin. He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He’s been here. He knows reality in a fallen world. Jesus is not distanced from that. He wept when His friend, Lazarus, died. He knows what it’s like to be accused and abandoned. He knows the experience of Job better than Job. He suffered more than Job. He hurt and suffered more than anyone ever has.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken; smitten by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their inequities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and he makes intercession for the transgressors.
How does He make intercession? Well, after He died and He was raised, He ascended, and it is there that He makes intercession for His people, even now, and He has promised to return and to come back, and just like He promised before, yes, there was time to wait, but He will come again, and guess what? He was the one who brought about Job’s ultimate healing, because He was Job’s only hope. He was the one who brought about Job’s ultimate healing. Listen to 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself [Christ] bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Is there healing in the atonement, in the work of Christ? Absolutely. One day, He will heal His people, and when He comes in the second coming, all will be raised and all will receive a resurrected body, and His people will be from every tribe and tongue and nation. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death will be no more. Neither will there be suffering and hurt anymore, and He will establish a kingdom, a new heaven and a new earth, and His people will see Him and their hopes will be realized when they see the Son that they’ve been waiting for.
The story of Job ultimately points to Him, right? I mean that’s what the whole Old Testament is about. All of the Old Testament is about Jesus. Isn’t that what Jesus told the men on the road to Emmaus in the best Bible study ever? He started with Moses, and He went through the whole Old Testament. He said, “Hey, it’s all about me.” He opened their eyes to the fact that He was the center of Scripture.
Redemption Available and Applied Today
Redemption is available for us today, and it is applied today. How is it available? Through repentance and faith. Turning from sin, putting your trust in this Promised One, this Jesus, who died as a substitute for sinners and who was raised, who crushed the head of the serpent on the cross, who was victorious over sin and death and hell, and who, one day, will put that same serpent in the lake of fire. He will take His people, and they will bring Him glory and praise for His greatness and His goodness forever and ever. When His people go through hurting in this life, you can be sure that God is with them. In fact, God is with you and He will help you in your hurting. He does all things for His glory, and He does all things for the good of His people. He was working for the good of Job. He was vindicating Job in the midst of all of this. He was showing Job’s character. He was showing Job His faithfulness and His mercy, and He gave Job perseverance, and He was being glorified and, at the same time, He was being good to Job.
I love Psalm 46:1-2, “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.” God is with His people, especially, in time of need. Ultimately, God will heal you of your hurting. God will heal you of your hurting. We’ve seen that. Those who hope in Him who look back to the cross and the resurrection and that is their hope of salvation, and they look forward, and that is their hope of a new body and a new heaven and a new earth to see God and be with Him forever. God will ultimately heal you of your hurting.
God’s Story (HIStory)
All of this brings us to the fact that, so often, when we are hurting in the present, we tend to be self-focused and to see only what’s going on in our life, and I want to encourage you, people of God, and Job didn’t see this, but God’s given us this revelation, that you can realize that there is a bigger story, and this bigger story makes sense out of the little details. In fact, this bigger story brings hopeful perspective to the people of God. It demonstrates clearly that God is sovereign. He is sovereign over our hurt, and God, He does all things for His glory, and the good of His people, and He can be fully trusted, and He can be fully hoped in.
Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” So, Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar,the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him and all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all of the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.
And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there was no woman so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.
The God of Job is worthy of praise. Let us worship Him together.