2014-10-08 / Religion

I know that my redeemer lives

Job 19

The circumstances of our lives can cause us to have a very limited view of our heavenly father — the creator of the universe. It would seem that one, who is attempting to live faithfully in the light that has been revealed, would always know divine favor. This assumed picture of favor would not include difficulties. Yet, life shows us the twisted state of our view.

It is important for all mankind to understand that humans see only a small part of the creation. The physical world is the real world to us. However, there is a spiritual world that we cannot see. Even the most primitive societies seem to have a better grasp of this fact than do many people in Western society. However, the spirit world is not without control. Our God — Jehovah — does not guide these forces, but he allows them to operate only within his set bounds. This is seen in the divine account of a portion of the life of the man, Job.

Some individuals who see their position as that of higher criticism of scripture attempt to make Job some kind of fictitious figure. The record gives us a description of the life of this man — from the land of Uz — from the viewpoint of heaven. He was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” Job 1:1. His family of seven sons and three daughters enjoyed all of the benefits of wealth. This man saw his position as the priest of his household. He “rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according of the number of them all.” Job 1:5b.

The Holy Spirit allowed all readers to have a glimpse into the throne room of Jehovah. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the lord, and satan came also among them.” Job 1:6. The adversary came for his only purpose — to accuse this child of God.

In this encounter, God agreed to change the position of the hedge around this godly man. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” Job 1:12. Thus, Job was stripped of all of his goods and his children. His response is recorded — “Then Job arose and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:20, 21.

After these calamities, the heavenly scene was repeated. The limit was, again, defined — “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” Job 2:6. This time, his body was touched — “Satan…smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” Job 2:7. He, again, showed his mourning — “And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.” Job 2:8. His wife began to question his allegiance to God — “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die.” Job 2:9. His answer to her pointed to his own faithfulness to his God — “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we receive not evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Job 2:10.

The three friends” of Job heard of his predicament, and came for a visit. After sitting with Job for seven days and seven nights, Job spoke of his personal distress, and his view of his circumstances. These three spoke to Job from the standpoint of conventional wisdom of that day. However, the same thoughts these men presented as they comforted — accused — Job are just as prevalent today. Their teaching included the thought that if one serves God faithfully, no evil will come into that life; if calamity does come, he must have committed some great sin. This sin must be confessed in order for it to be forgiven. This — and other man-made doctrines — contains elements of truth. However, these teachings, also, make assumptions that are without valid grounds.

Job listened to the words of these men, and seemed to have been searching his own heart. “Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These 10 times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.” These men had come down hard with their teachings. Job said, “And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.”

The words of Job turn to his friends — “If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.” Earlier, we are told of the hedge that was around Job. Now, he, personally, makes mention of the net of God that surrounded his life. He sees his cry as that of coming from a prison cell, not from a hedge. Yet, he continues to understand that proper judgment will come.

Job realized that his story needed to be made available for others to know. His request was made centuries before modern methods were known — “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book. That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!”

The words of this patriarch looked forward to a time yet to come. He was aware of the brevity of life — no matter the number of years that one would accumulate. This life will come to an end. Job showed insight that many in our day seem to ignore — “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job, then, gave warning to these men who were depending only upon human wisdom.

A person must place his or her faith completely in Jesus Christ, and his divine work in order to have eternal life. Please accept this, today. John 3:16. You, too, can know inner peace.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P.O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478-299-2068. Email: jctjet@aol.com.

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