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Delivered from Suffering

Eastertide Sermons on Vigil Readings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Job 19:23–25 ESV
“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
Job 19:

Introduction

We continue with our sermon series using the readings from the Great Vigil of Easter to show God’s mighty deliverance of His people. So far we have looked at God’s deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea, God’s deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego from the Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, and the faith of Abraham and willingness to sacrifice his only son, Isaac in obedience to God’s command. All of these point us forward to the ultimate act of God, delivering His people by Jesus through His cross and empty tomb. Today we focus on Job.
The book of Job is the first book that was written in the Bible. It’s not the first thing that happened in the Bible. But it is the first part of the Bible that was put to papyrus. It is a lengthy work- 42 chapters long. A lot of dialogue takes place between many in this book, so we will try to condense it for this sermon. Once again, I challenge you to read through the entire text of the Book of Job this week.
We don’t know who wrote the book, though he was a Hebrew Scribe.
The person of Job, himself, is not a Hebrew. He lived in the land of Uz - not the same as Abraham’s Ur. Like Abraham, Job was a rich man. The first chapter tells us He had ten children: seven sons and three daughters. He possessed thousands of sheep and camels. He had many servants. But none were his “claim to fame”.
What he was most rich in was righteousness. The opening verse tells us:
Job 1:1 ESV
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.

Enter Satan

The book of Job records a dialogue between the Lord and Satan. He was about his diabolical work, “going to and fro on the earth and walking up and down on it.”
Then, just as now, Satan was “prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” He still does this, along with his demon minions.
Interestingly enough, God makes a suggestion to Satan about someone to whom he should “pay a visit.”
: 8-
Job 1:8–12 ESV
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.
So Satan goes to work.

A Bad Day

Have you ever had a really bad day?
Job is about to have one. In one single day, he loses his oxen and donkeys and the servants tending to them, the sheep and their servants were consumed by fire, the Chaldeans raided the camels and killed them with his servants, the house collapsed and killed all his children. Yet Job did not curse God:
Job 1:21–22 ESV
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.
Satan wasn’t done. He wanted Job to curse God- that was his wager with the Lord.
Satan caused Job to be covered with sores. Job’s wife sells out early. “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
:
Job rebukes her for her lack of faith in God and does not sin or do evil in God’s eyes.

Enter His Friends

When things go wrong, do you ever think that God is punishing you? It’s a natural thing to do. It’s what our nature expects: If I do good, God will bless me; if I suffer, I must have done something wrong. That’s far from how the Lord deals with us. For we can do nothing good, and yet God still blesses us by sending us Jesus. Jesus enters into our suffering, he’s “in the furnace with us” and will deliver us from suffering. The way unregenerate man looks at God is a whole lot different than what the Scriptures teach.
Enter Job’s three worldly thinking friends. The entire book of Job is a dialogue between them and him, each of them calling on Job to search himself and see what kind of evil that he committed. Surely, if God was dealing with him this harshly, he must have done something terrible.
His three friends were: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad, the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They reacted the same way the world reacts, the same way our hearts want to react when we are suffering. “Why, Lord?” “What have I done that is so bad that this is happening?” If you’re thinking like that, beloved, you need to go back to the Cross and see what true suffering is. The temptation is great to feel these things when suffering, but if you do, you’re going against what you confess when you gather together here.
A reminder, we go back to the opening verse. Job was not suffering because he did something evil; He was suffering because he was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” He was suffering for being good. He was suffering because God allowed Satan to test him to prove that even under literal fire, Job would remain true to God.
So when you’re suffering, instead of clenching your fists, fold your hands.

Yet Job Suffers

Throughout this book Job suffers. He laments his birth. He questions God. He struggles. He keeps getting goaded on by his friends. And the suffering doesn’t end. It keeps coming. Satan thinks that he can undo Job to the point where he will curse God and walk away from him. Job doesn’t.
God does rebuke Job for some of the things he utters:
Job 38:4–7 ESV
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
: 4-
I can only imagine what the Lord will say to all of the intelligentsia and know-it-alls in the world today whose knowledge does not allow for a “God” to even exist.
Yet, even in his questioning, Job does not curse God.

All The Way Back Then....

Let us key in on the verses that we hear at the Great Vigil of Easter. For they are key to understanding what is in Job’s mind in the midst of his earthly hell
Job 19:23–25 ESV
“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
Job 19:23–27 ESV
“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
Remember, Job was the first book quilled in the Bible. As mentioned before, Job’s situation wasn’t the first thing to happen in the Bible as we read in the Pentateuch.
Here is the glory of this text: God’s people have ALWAYS believed in Resurrection. Right from the beginning. Dead people coming back to life.
Job speaks of judgment day. His redeemer lives— he lives, he lives who once was dead, he lives my everliving head. And He returns. He “stands upon the earth.”
Job doesn’t stop there. He says, “After MY skin has been thus destroyed— that is in the dust of death— Yet in MY FLESH I will see God. What flesh? I thought he said it was destroyed?! He did! It was! But it is raised so that He will see it; His eyes will be hold it and not another!” What a wonderful truth that is penned in this first written book of the Bible, that has always carried God’s children through.
Yes, there were doubters in the resurrection. There was the party of the Sadducees who rejected any thought of the resurrection. Dead is dead, end of story. Peter tells us that these people have not gone away.
:
2 Peter 3:3–4 ESV
knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
2 Peter 3:8–9 ESV
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:

I’m going to see Him with MY eyes

That is our hope. We know that our Redeemer lives. He is going to stand on earth on Judgment Day. And even though our flesh is destroyed in death, “I” will see with “my own eyes” my living redeemer .
He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death; He lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives, all glory to His name! He lives, my Jesus, still the same;
But God was cursed. By our sin. And Jesus became that curse for us on the Cross, abandoned by the Father for our sin, suffering our death, and entering hell in our place. On the Third Day He rose
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: I know that my redeemer lives.
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