Job 19:1-7, 23-29
SS Lesson for 10/12/2014
Devotional Scripture: Ps 57:1-11
The lesson remindes me to rejoice in the fact that My Redeemer Lives. The study's aim is to recognize that God's justice system may not always function as ours does and that we must ultimately submit to His. The study's application is to learn how to respond to false accusations and to wait for our Redeemer and Defender in heaven to act on our behalf. (Adapted from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator Commentary).
For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
This chapter records one of Job’s lowest points, emotionally and spiritually, and also one of his highest. After bemoaning the animosity of his accusers (Job 19:1-6), of God (Job 19:7-12), and of his relatives and friends (Job 19:13-22), Job rose to a new level of spiritual confidence, certain that he would see God and be vindicated by Him (Job 19:23-29). Nettled by the trio’s wordy assaults, with which they were tormenting, crushing, and reproaching him 10 times (a Heb. idiom meaning “often”; cf. Gen. 31:7, 41; Num. 14:22; Dan. 1:20), Job threw back at Bildad his words, How long? (cf. 8:2; 18:2, “When... ?”) Then Job maintained that if he had sinned, it was his problem, not theirs. If they were going to act superior to him, they should realize that he had not sinned and trapped himself as Bildad had said (18:8-10); God had trapped him. He said God had wronged him, perverting justice in his case (this Heb. word for “wronged” is trans. “pervert” in 8:3). Again Job placed the blame squarely on God (cf. 3:23; 6:4; 7:17-21; 9:13, 22, 31, 34; 10:2-3; 13:24-27; 16:7-14; 17:6). How else could he account for his plight?
Just after Job was at his lowest ebb, he rose to his highest peak. Forlorn, wracked by pain, and maligned by both God and people, he then mounted in spirited confidence to a future vindication of his cause. This was a “magnificent burst of faith” (W.B. MacLeod, The Afflictions of the Righteous. London: Hodder & Stoughton, n.d., p. 173). Job expressed his desire for a permanent written record of his words of innocence and protest, either on a scroll or engraved in rock in letters filled with lead. Then present and future generations could know of his guilelessness. In his jubilation of faith Job affirmed his certainty that God his Redeemer lives. Though Job believed God was against him, he knew that only God could vindicate his innocence. Job would die, but God lives on as his Defender, Protector, or Vindicator (gōʾēl, “a person who defended or avenged the cause of another, or who provided protection or legal aid for a close relative who could not do so for himself”; cf. Lev. 25:23-25, 47-55; Num. 35:19-27; Prov. 23:10-11; Jer. 50:34). Job knew that in the end God would stand upon the earth and, like a witness for the defendant at a court trial, would testify that Job was innocent. In that way all would not only read of his uprightness (Job 19:23-24) but also all would hear of it—from God Himself!
After my skin has been destroyed may be rendered, “After my skin has been flayed” (or “stripped off”), that is, after he had died from the constant peeling away of his skin (another symptom of pemphigus foliaceus; cf. comments on 2:7 and see 30:30) or after worms (cf. 17:14; 24:20) in his grave had eaten away his skin (though “worms,” supplied in the kjv, is not in the Heb. text). After he was dead, Job then would see God. He would continue in a conscious existence; he would not be annihilated or sink into soul sleep. But how could he say he would see the Lord in his flesh after he had just said he would die? Either he meant he would receive a resurrection body (in which case the Heb. preposition min, here trans. “in,” would be trans. “from the vantage point of”; in 36:25 min is used in that sense) or he meant he would see God “apart from” any physical flesh at all (min normally means “without”; cf. 11:15b), that is, in his conscious existence after death but before the resurrection. Favoring the first view is the point that whereas min normally means “without,” it takes on the meaning of “from the vantage point of” when it occurs with the verb “to see” (ḥāzâh). Favoring the second view is the fact that since 19:26a speaks of his condition in death, one would expect that verse 26b in Hebrew parallelism would also refer to death rather than to an after-death resurrected condition. So certain was Job of his seeing God that he repeated this point. The Hebrew word for see (ḥāzâh) is the same in verses 26 and 27a. Also Job twice emphasized the word I (Job 19:25, 27)—literally, “I, even I, know,” and “I, even I, will see” Him. This gazing on God for all eternity will be with his own eyes (either the eyes of his resurrected body, or figuratively the eyes of his soul). Job would no longer be like a stranger to God, for God would be on his side. This thought so overwhelmed Job that he exclaimed, My heart yearns (lit., “my kidneys,” considered the seat of the emotions, “waste away”) within me! He was emotionally drained by the very thought of meeting God and having Him once and for all vindicate rather than vitiate his cause. If Job’s friends continued to hound (the same word is trans. “pursue” in Job 19:22) him—to get him to accept their view that sin had precipitated his suffering, and that the trouble lay within him—God would eventually strike them down by the sword (perhaps a retort to Eliphaz’s word about the sword in 15:22). Then they would see that God punished the sin of the wicked. Rather than God punishing Job for being wicked, they would be the recipients of God’s wrath for they had repeatedly harassed an innocent victim. Confident that they were wrong about his spiritual state and that he was right, Job was able to look beyond death to his being acquitted by God and fellowshiping with Him.
The legal concept of presumption of innocence (also known as innocent until proven guilty) goes back many centuries. It means that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction can be secured. Although this principle lets some guilty parties off the hook, it is one of the best safeguards to keep innocent people from being unjustly convicted. Going back centuries more, we see that God himself gave Israel laws to protect the innocent. Within the Ten Commandments is the law against bearing false witness (Deuteronomy 5:20). When violated, the penalty to be placed on the false witness was to be the very consequence that he or she was willing to see the innocent undergo (19:16-21). Two witnesses were required to secure a conviction (19:15). Job believed in this kind of justice. One problem, as far as Job could tell, was that his friends were not extending the benefit of the doubt to him. After evaluating his sorry state, they seemed to presume him guilty until proven innocent. We may go through times when it seems that we are being punished for no reason. We are frustrated, we pour out our hearts to God and friends, and still nothing changes. People around us may think we deserve what we are getting. They become desensitized to our situation. But we are not willing to give up, holding out hope that God will do something about the problem. That’s where Job was in today’s text.
Though he lived a righteous life—righteous enough to receive a divine endorsement in that regard (Job 1:8)—Job experienced terrible adversity. God, unbeknownst to Job, was in the process of disproving Satan’s contention that Job lived an upright life only because God had blessed and prospered him (1:9, 10). God then granted Satan permission to test Job. Would great disaster cause Job to crumble and curse God to his face as Satan claimed (1:11)? The bulk of the book of Job features conversations between Job and the friends who came to console him. Their dialogue was different from the one between God and Satan. Job and his friends shared the simplistic view that bad things happen only (or primarily) to bad people. According to that view, if you want to know whether people are righteous or not, all you have to do is see how well they are faring. Are they thriving? They must be doing right. Are they suffering? They must be doing wrong. Since the friends saw that Job was suffering terribly, they assumed he was guilty of some grave offense (example: Job 4:7, 8). Perhaps Job would have agreed under normal circumstances. But Job was the one suffering, and he could recall no wicked action or set of habits that warranted the magnitude of his downfall. Job had no defense other than his own claim of innocence. We don’t know when Job lived. One proposal places him in the twentieth or nineteenth century BC. This is based on the description of Eliphaz (one of Job’s friends) being “the Temanite” (Job 2:11). Abraham’s grandson Esau (also known as Edom; see Genesis 25:30; 36:1, 8) had a grandson named Teman (Genesis 36:11). Teman is mentioned as a place within the territory of Edom (Jeremiah 49:7, 20; compare Ezekiel 25:13; Amos 1:12; Obadiah 8, 9). The length of Job’s life (Job 42:16) fits this period of time (Genesis 25:7; 35:28). Job is mentioned by name in Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and James 5:11, so we are certain that he is not a fictional character.
1 Then Job answered and said:
2 "How long will you torment my soul, And break me in pieces with words?
3 These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me.
4 And if indeed I have erred, My error remains with me.
5 If indeed you exalt yourselves against me, And plead my disgrace against me,
6 Know then that God has wronged me, And has surrounded me with His net.
7 "If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice.
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 "Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah
5 Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
2 "Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God?
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
75 I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
13 Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
23 "Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
24 That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
15 And I — in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
28 If you should say, 'How shall we persecute him?'-- Since the root of the matter is found in me,
29 Be afraid of the sword for yourselves; For wrath brings the punishment of the sword, That you may know there is a judgment."
12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, 14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
7 And quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
17 I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed."
JOB’S ANSWER TO BILDAD: “I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES”
A. Job laments his comfortless affliction.
1. (Job 19:1-6) Job complains that his friends have not understood him at all.
a. How long will you torment my soul: Job answered Bildad with a familiar complaint, that his friends were unsympathetic tormentors of his soul.
i. “They struck at him with their hard words, as if they were breaking stones on the roadside. We ought to be very careful what we say to those who are suffering affliction and trial, for a word, though it seems to be a very little thing, will often cut far more deeply and wound far more terribly than a razor would.” (Spurgeon)
ii. We might say that many in the church today are as unloving as Job’s friends were. “The church has become very jealous about men being unsound in the faith. If a man becomes unsound in the faith, they draw their ecclesiastical swords and cut at him. But he may be ever so unsound in love, and they don’t say anything.” (D.L. Moody)
iii. “Job's friends have been, by the general consent of posterity, consigned to endless infamy. May all those who follow their steps be equally enrolled in the annals of bad fame!” (Clarke)
b. And if indeed I have erred, My error remains with me: Job was steadfast in his refusal to agree with his friends that he had caused his crisis by some remarkable sin and refusal to repent.
c. Know then that God has wronged me, and has surrounded me with His net: Job insisted to his friends that he was not a guilty victim before a righteous God. If God had sent or allowed this calamity in Job’s life, it could be said that God had wronged Job because the calamity was not a just penalty for some sin in Job.
i. And of course, allowing for the emotional aspect of this pained outpouring, we understand how Job would say, “Know then that God has wronged me.” He had reason to think this, and poured out his honest feelings before God and his friends.
ii. “In a sense the Accuser was acting as the hand of God, for he had said to God, ‘But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh’ (Job 2:5). And God had replied, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands’ (Job 2:6). So Job was not totally wrong when he said, ‘The hand of God has struck me’ (Job 19:21).” (Smick)
2. (Job 19:7-12) Job describes how God has attacked him.
a. If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard: Job here complained at what was the core of his crisis. Job was accustomed to finding comfort and some sense of an answer from God in his previous trials. Yet now when he cried out to heaven he heard no reply.
i. “Nothing is more natural and usual than for men in misery to cry out for help. Job’s great grief was, that neither God nor man would regard his moans or deliver him out of the net.” (Trapp)
b. He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass: This is reminiscent of Job’s complaint in Job 3:23, where he sadly said that he was one whom God has hedged in.
c. He has stripped me of my glory . . .: With a deeply moving poetic style, Job described how he felt God had brought him low. He was like a king uncrowned, like a house with its walls broken down, and like an uprooted tree.
d. He counts me as one of His enemies: Though Job could not comprehend it (nor be expected to), God still held him in special favor and care. God put Job into a place where he was expected to believe despite what seemed to be irrefutable circumstances and personal feelings.
e. They encamp all around my tent: In Job 19:8-12, Job recount the reverse progression of an ancient siege and conquering of a city; yet the irony was that Job was not like a mighty city, but only like a humble tent.
i. We can see the reverse progress starting at Job 19:8 :
· Captivity (I cannot pass; and He has set darkness in my paths).
· Dethronement (taken the crown from my head)
· Being like a wall torn down (He breaks me down on every side)
· Being like an uprooted tree (my hope He has uprooted like a tree)
· Having a siege set against him (build up their road against me)
· Being surrounded (they encamp all around my tent)
ii. “Reverse this order and you have a step-by-step description of what happened in siege warfare. . . . God’s troops laid siege as if Job were a fortified city; but, alas, he was only a tent.” (Smick)
3. (Job 19:13-20) Job describes the bitter results of God’s attack upon him.
a. He has removed my brothers far from me: Job probably meant his three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar). He once regarded them as close brothers but now felt they had forsaken him and turned against him.
b. I call my servant, but he gives no answer: Before his crisis, Job was a wealthy and influential man. Yet now even his own servants did not obey or respect him.
c. My breath is offensive to my wife, and I am repulsive to the children of my own body: Job was in such a miserable state both physically and spiritually, that his wife wanted nothing to do with him (as in Job 2:9). The children Job refers to here must be either grandchildren or those who were symbolically Job’s children; it seems that all of Job’s ten children were killed in a tragic accident (Job 1:2; Job 1:18-19).
i. Yet Adam Clarke had another suggestion: “But the mention of his children in this place may intimate that he had still some remaining; that there might have been young ones, who, not being of a proper age to attend the festival of their elder brothers and sisters, escaped that sad catastrophe.”
ii. It may also be that Job had in mind that his children cursed or rejected him from the world beyond; he felt that from their place in the after-life they regarded him as repulsive.
iii. “In any society nothing hurts more than rejection by one’s family and friends, but what could be worse in a patriarchal society than to have children ridicule the patriarch?” (Smick)
iv. “The corruption of his inwards (besides the noisomeness of his outward ulcers) made his breath strong and unwholesome.” (Trapp)
d. My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth: Job here referred to his emaciated and unhealthy condition, and just how close he was to physical death.
i. “The bones nearly pierce and show through the skin, appearing to cleave to the skin.” (Bullinger)
ii. By the skin of my teeth: “There is no skin upon the teeth, or scarcely any, and, therefore, Job means that there was next to nothing of him left, like the skin of his teeth.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “The KJV made a literal translation of it and thereby created an idiom in the English language for a narrow escape (by the skin of my teeth).” (Smick) Some think that Job meant that only his gums were left unaffected by his diseased condition. Others suggest that Job was so tortured that he gnawed at his skin with his teeth, or on his own lips in agony.
iv. The Puritan commentator John Trapp had another idea: “All I have left me whole is the skin of my teeth; that is, of my gums, into which my teeth are engrafted; the rest of my body is all over of a scab. . . . Junius gives this gloss, Job had nothing left him but the instrument of speech. These, say some, the devil purposely meddled not with, as hoping that therewith he would curse God.”
B. Job proclaims his trust in God as redeemer and judge.
1. (Job 19:21-22) Job pleads for pity from his friends.
a. Have pity on me, O you my friends: In light of the eloquence and truth of his previous complaint, Job called upon his friends to therefore pity him. Instead of joining against him in a concert of condemnation, they should have had pity on this one so afflicted by the hand of God.
b. Why do you persecute me as God does: Job made his appeal to God and felt there was no reply given. Now he appealed to his friends, and hoped to at least turn their hearts towards him.
2. (Job 19:23-29) Job’s triumphant proclamation of faith.
a. Oh, that my words were written! Job seemed to have no sense that his own personal tragedy and drama would indeed be written and inscribed in a book, and be so for the benefit of countless others through succeeding generations. His words and life were indeed written with an iron pen and lead, forever!
b. For I know that my Redeemer lives, and he shall stand at last on the earth: This is another of the brilliant flashes of faith in Job’s otherwise dark and bleak background of crisis and suffering. Perhaps as he considered that future generations would indeed look at his life and words, it stirred him to a triumphant proclamation of faith.
i. The word translated Redeemer is goel, presenting one of the wonderful concepts of the Old Testament. “The ‘Goel’ stood for another to defend his cause, to avenge wrongs done to him, and so to acquit him of all charges laid against him.” (Morgan)
ii. “A redeemer was a vindicator of one unjustly wronged. He was a defender of the oppressed. A champion of the suffering. An advocate of one unjustly accused. If you were ever wronged, a redeemer would come and stand beside you as your champion and advocate.” (Lawson)
iii. “The meaning of the word goel (‘redeemer’) is fundamental to understanding this passage. The word is important in Old Testament jurisprudence. It had both a criminal and a civil aspect. As ‘blood avenger,’ a goel had a responsibility to avenge the blood of a slain kinsman (Numbers 35:12-28). He was not seeking revenge but justice. On the civil side he was a redeemer or vindicator. Here he had the responsibility to ‘buy back’ and so redeem the lost inheritance of a deceased relative. . . . As such he was the defender or champion of the oppressed.” (Smick)
iv. “When Job, amid the desolation, declared that he had a ‘Goel’ living and active, he was uttering a profound truth, the truth that in God, man has is Redeemer in all the fullest senses of that great word. It was a spiritual apprehension of an abiding fact, which fact came into clear shining when God was manifest in flesh.” (Morgan)
v. “Christ’s kinship with his people is to be thought of with great comfort because it is voluntary. We have some, perhaps, who are akin to us, yet, who wish they were not. Many a time, when a rich man has poor relations, he is half ashamed of the kinship between them, and wishes that it did not exist. Shame upon him for thinking so! But our Lord Jesus Christ’s relationship to us is no accident of birth; it was voluntarily assumed by him.” (Spurgeon)
vi. “Remember, too, that it was always considered to be the duty of the goel, not merely to redeem by price, but where that failed, to redeem by power. . . . There are two redemptions, — redemption by price and redemption by power, and both of these Christ hath wrought for us; — by price, by his sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary; and by power, by his Divine Spirit coming into our heart, and renewing our soul.” (Spurgeon)
c. For I know: We are impressed with Job’s certainty. This was something that he knew; it was much more than a hope and more than a guess.
d. That my Redeemer: Job knew that he had a Redeemer; someone to rescue him from his crisis and despair and every accusation set against him.
i. “Job 19:25-27 are so tightly knit that there should be no doubt that the Redeemer is God.” (Andersen)
ii. “Job cannot understand why God is now acting so completely out of character with what he has always believed. He must somehow recover his friendship with God by means which supersede the theological calculus of the friends. He boldly claims God as his nearest relative.” (Andersen)
e. That my Redeemer lives: Job knew that his Redeemer was alive, and that because He lived He could also bring life to Job.
f. And shall stand at last on the earth: This meant that Job knew his Redeemer was more than a spiritual concept; He was a living being who could stand at last on the earth. He knew his Redeemer would come to comfort and vindicate Job, though to this point Job had been conspicuously without evident comfort from God.
i. “At the end of chapter 16 Job was obsessed with the notion that someone in heaven would stand up for him and plead his case. But here in chapter 19 he expected to witness his own vindication on earth.” (Smick)
g. And after my skin is destroyed: At this point Job held no more hope for the preservation of his flesh; he knew that his skin would be destroyed (it was already in bad condition according to Job 2:7-8).
h. This I know, that in my flesh I shall see God: Though Job expected the destruction of his skin to be completed, at the same time he had the confidence of faith to know that God would not hide Himself forever; that “in my flesh I shall see God.” This would be the moment of Job’s comfort, restoration, and vindication, and he would have confidence in it even if it only came after life on this earth was over.
i. “Beyond the heavens Job thought there lived a Kinsman, who saw all his sufferings, and pitied, and would one day appear on earth to vindicate his innocence and avenge his wrongs. He was content to leave the case with Him, sure He would not fail, as his friends had done.” (Meyer)
ii. “It has occurred to me that, possibly, Job himself may not have known the full meaning of all that he said. Imagine the patriarch driven into a corner, badgered by his so-called friends, charged by them with all manner of evils until he is quite boiling over with indignation, and, at the same time, smarting under terrible bodily diseases and the dreadful losses which he has sustained; and, at last, he bursts out with this exclamation, ‘I shall be vindicated one day; I am sure I shall. I know that my Vindicator liveth. I am sure that, there is One who will vindicate me; and if he never clears my name and reputation as long as I live, it will be done afterwards. There must be a just God, in heaven, who will see me righted; and even though worms devour my body until the last relic of it has passed away, I do verily believe that, somehow, in the far-off ages, I shall be vindicated.’” (Spurgeon)
i. Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: This bold confidence of Job – though it shines as flash of faith in a dark background of despair – completely routed Satan’s confidence that Job could be turned against God. His confidence and trust, blind as it was at the moment, was set upon the fact that he would one day see God for himself, a statement powerfully and poetically repeated for emphasis.
i. Anticipating the fulfillment of all this, no wonder Job could say, “How my heart yearns within me!” With this wonderful revelation and proclamation of his anticipated Redeemer, he clearly though probably unknowingly looked forward to Jesus Christ and His work as Redeemer.
ii. This is entirely in keeping with other passages which refer to God as our Redeemer. “And if the places where God is called Goel in the Old Testament be examined, it will be found that either all or most of them may be, and some of them must be, understood of God the Son, or of Christ, as Genesis 48:16; Isaiah 59:20.” (Poole)
iii. Nevertheless, it is also significant that in this passage where Jesus is wonderfully celebrated as a living Redeemer and Vindicator and Kinsman for His people, we also see the shadow of the suffering of Jesus. “Job’s language in Chapter 19 is full of haunting premonitions of Christ’s crucifixion.” (Mason)
· [God] has surrounded me with His net (Job 19:6)
· He has set darkness in my paths (Job 19:8)
· He has stripped me of my glory (Job 19:9)
· He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone (Job 19:10)
· He has kindled His wrath against me, and He counts me as one of His enemies (Job 19:11)
· He has removed my brothers far from me (Job 19:13)
· My close friends have forgotten me (Job 19:14)
· Those whom I love have turned against me (Job 19:19)
· My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh (Job 19:20)
iii. Adam Clarke described how he felt this remarkable revelation given to Job changed him, and gave him a different attitude that is evident in the rest of the Book of Job: “It is not at all probable that Job had this confidence any time before the moment in which he uttered it: it was then a direct revelation, nothing of which he ever had before, else he had never dropped those words of impatience and irritation which we find in several of his speeches. And this may be safely inferred from the consideration, that after this time no such words escaped his lips: He bears the rest of his sufferings with great patience and fortitude; and seems to look forward with steady hope to that day in which all tears shall be wiped away from off all faces, and it is fully proved that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” We could say that seeing Jesus changed Job and transformed him in the midst of his suffering.
j. Be afraid of the sword for yourselves: Full of spiritual confidence and faith, Job warned his friends regarding their own disbelief. They seemed to believe more in God as a system of belief rather than in a person, a person whom Job would see and would one day vindicate him.
i. “Job’s concluding words, addressed to the friends, sound like a warning that they, too, must face judgment. Unfortunately these verses are largely unintelligible, including Job 19:27 c, which reads ‘my kidneys have ended in my chest’.” (Andersen)
ii. “How intriguing it is that Job, even while his tragic circumstances have induced in him a fresh fear of God, never exhibits the least fear of God’s judgment, and is actually eager to see it through.” (Mason)
iii. Job was not afraid of judgment because he was confident that the charges against him were false, and that his Redeemer would vindicate him. However, our Redeemer also clears us of our true guilt. “There is another most comforting thought, - that our Vindicator will clear us from true charges as well as false ones. As for the false charges, what do they matter? It is the true ones that really concern us: can Christ clear us from them? Yes, that he can.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “He has now given full vent to his anguish. He has clung for all that to his sense of innocence; and he has risen from his despair to a height from which he sees, for one brief moment, ‘the land that is very far off,’ the better shore that lies beyond the dark stream of death. And then, silent and exhausted, he has to listen once more to the voice of the third of his counselors.” (Bradley)
(Adapted from URL: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/guz/view.cgi?bk=17&ch=19)
Perhaps the most significant contribution of today’s passage is Job’s resilience in reaching for hope when there seemed to be no hope. That Job did so even as he suspected God to be his opponent is itself a sort of statement of faith in God. Though God was to blame in Job’s eyes, that man’s view of God was not so negative as to see God failing to mete out eventual justice for both Job and his persecutors. Though God, from Job’s perspective, was tormenting him, that man did not believe that God had stepped out of character to such an extent as to neglect upholding justice on some level. This gives us all the more reason to hope! When it seems as though our world is falling apart, we can draw strength from the fact that we have Jesus and his promise of resurrection—something Job did not have. If Job could find faith resources in his day and situation, then all the more should we be able to do so! Though we should not echo all of Job’s sentiments, we can live out his tenacity in the face of despair. We cling to Christ in our darkest hours.
1. Words can often make physical suffering worse (Job 19:1-2)
2. We may need to confront sinning brethren, but they usually already know they have sinned (vss. 3-4)
3. Ultimately, the answer to personal suffering must come from God, not man (vss. 5-7)
4. Suffering is worthwhile only if we allow it to strengthen our faith in the Lord (vss. 23-25)
5. The future resurrection is the great hope of all believers, especially as they suffer in this life (vss. 26-27)
6. We must not assume that suffering is always the result of personal sin (vss. 28-29)