“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! Job 19:23,24
I am continuing my reading through Job. It is slow going, but that is okay. It is tempting to skim through Job. It’s painful reading…..As I read through his life, I am starting to feel like I am watching a dear friend suffer, and it hurts. Job wasn’t just a very wealthy man with a large family, he was also well known for doing good in the community. He was actively involved in taking care of the poor, opening his home to others, sticking up for the underdog. He wasn’t satisfied to just sit back and enjoy all of God’s blessings when he knew others were suffering and in need.
It is tempting to skip through the long winded speeches of his so called friends. I want to tell them to be quiet! But maybe I am being too hard on them. There is truth in much of what they say, I just don’t think much of it applies to poor Job. Anyway, I can learn from their words what not to do. There is a time to speak and a time to comfort in silence.
So I am going slow. I am going back when I catch myself scanning instead of reading….because every word is important.
Right after Verse 18 when Bildad winds up his speech, Job starts speaking again. And his words stun me because I always thought this verse came from Isaiah. In the midst of his excruciating suffering, the Holy Spirit speaks a beautiful prophecy spoken through the dry, split lips of suffering Job. Like manna from Heaven the words float down…….
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on 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!
Right there in the middle of Job……. a well known aria from the Easter portion of Handel’s Messiah! I know, I know, there are people, Biblical scholars, who say that this has nothing to do with Jesus, but I disagree…..I think that Job knew exactly who his redeemer was, and that he also knew that when his time on earth was through, that he would see the One who redeemed him. He knew like one who has been through the refining fire of suffering knows……He lives! And maybe it took the suffering for Job to know that he truly did believe….
To echo the old song that I used to sing in church…….”Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.” Because He lives, I can get up and go to a stressful job. Because He lives, every day is a gift. Because He lives, it’s all worth it! “……And life is worth the living, just because He lives!”
And lest you beat yourself up because you feel you should be leaping out of bed instead of praying face down on the carpet, remember this: “There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus“…..That was one of the first verses to spill out of the CD player this morning on the way to work. I take great comfort in the fact that He doesn’t love me because I am perfect, but because I am His child!
In the end, Job got his prayer answered. The book of Job is considered one of the most beautiful literary works of all time. His words stand the test of time and eternity……
Photo by Andrea Schafthuizen, public domain pictures