When considered with an eye to Christ and Job’s faith in Him, this chapter is one of the most interesting in the whole narrative of Job’s conversation with his friends. Job answered Bildad and begged him and his companions to spare their unjust censures, and he still urged his present misery as an apology for his groanings. And then he concluded by professing his strong confidence in the coming Redeemer, and in everlasting life through Him!
Job’s friends blamed him as a wicked man because he was so greatly afflicted. But the poor sufferer reminded them that his afflictions were from the Lord, and so it was doubly cruel for them to intensify them. Although harsh language from friends greatly adds to the weight of affliction, yet it is best to not lay it to heart, or we will begin to harbor resentment. Rather, let us look to Him Who endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, and Who was treated with far more cruelty than Job was. How uncertain is the friendship of human beings! But when God is our Friend, He will never fail us in our time of need. It is very distressing to a believer to be bereaved of both outward comfort and inward consolation at the same time, yet this does not weaken the proof of his being a child of God and an heir of glory.
There seems to be much Gospel-truth in the descriptions of Job’s afflictions that are detailed in this chapter. They are not only describing bodily complaints, but also the anguish of the soul. When the awakened sinner not only feels affliction, but also views the Lord’s hand in that affliction – that is a sweet token that the trial is working some spiritual good. As we read of Job’s tribulations, we are reminded how Jesus – when He undertook to suffer in the sinner’s place, and to become sin and a curse for His people – felt and uttered His sad cries in consequence thereof.
The Holy Spirit, at this time, seems to have been powerfully working on the mind of Job. Beginning in verse 23, he witnessed a good confession; he declared the soundness of his faith, and the assurance of his hope! Much is here said of Christ and of heaven, and he who said these things declared plainly that he looked for the better country – that is, the heavenly one. Job was taught by the Lord to believe in the living Redeemer, and to look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. He was assured that this Redeemer of sinners from the yoke of Satan and the condemnation of sin was his personal Savior, and he expected salvation through Him. He knew that He was a living Redeemer, although at that time, He had not yet come in the flesh. He was also confident that on the Great Last Day, Christ would appear as the Judge of the world, to raise the dead and complete the redemption of His people. What pleasure Job found in this sweet subject!
Every word in these verses is vastly important, and deserves our closest attention. Let us recollect what the Scriptures in Job’s days had already taught of the coming Redeemer. In the Levitical law, the right of redemption was vested in the next kinsman (Lev. 25:25). And by comparing this law with what was observed in the days of Ruth, we learn moreover that both the right of inheritance and the marriage of the next of kin (in order to raise up the name of the dead upon that inheritance) were two different aspects of the same service of redemption. Both of these aspects were performed by Jesus – the Kinsman-Redeemer of His people (Ruth 4:5-6), in whom Job professed faith. And Job’s conviction of his Kinsman-Redeemer being alive is a most precious part in his creed! None except a living Savior can save a dead sinner. And Job’s faith led him to the precious conclusion which Jesus has now revealed more clearly to us: if our Savior lives, His people must live also! (John 14:19)
Thus we see that this chapter clearly includes all the grand parts of the Gospel! It points to Jesus in His human nature, in His incarnation. It points to Him in His crucifixion. He Who once stood upon the earth in human flesh – and Who was crucified, dead, and buried – is the very One Who shall stand again, on the Last Day, to judge the earth. It points to the resurrection, for it implies that the grave was not able to retain our Savior. It points also to His ascension and return to the heavenly throne of power; because without this, His redemption-work would not have been manifested. And it just as fully points to His universal judgment, because this forms a grand part in the work of redemption!
We must not forget to take note of Job’s assurance of the resurrection of his own body, by virtue of his interest in this Kinsman-Redeemer. “In this very body,” he declared, “shall I see Him!” What a sweet thought that the resurrected bodies of believers will not only see Jesus for themselves, but they will even see Him clothed in their own bodily nature. With such hope as this, we do not need to fear the piercings of the sword, nor the arraignment of the judgment-seat; much less the reproaches of men or the flames of the persecutor. As we pass through the valley of the shadow of death, we do not need to fear any evil; for we hear the voice of the Lord, saying, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction!” (Hos. 13:14)
Lord Jesus, we praise You as our living Savior and our Kinsman-Redeemer, Who – by Your death and resurrection – forever destroyed the power of death and sin! Amen.
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