Faithlife Sermons

Final or Not So Much?

Series on Job  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This week we find all of our passages focused on Job and his lament for what has happened to him. In Job 13 and Job 14 from today’s passage we see Job give a prayer that is pretty much full of sadness. And his words from the part that we get are entirely true.
The winter of 2019 we had a huge snowstorm here in Kingman as I’m sure you remember. It was record breaking from the 20’s I believe, and the newspaper reported over 18” of snow while I know that some of you shared with me that you had over 20” at your homes. During that snowstorm we had a tree come down in a front yard from all the weight of the snow. When the snow melted and warmer weather hit we had someone cut up and remove the tree all the way to the stump. Well after that I forgot about the tree as it was gone now and it actually wasn’t an entirely bad thing that it was gone even. But then this fall hit and new branches and leaves started sprouting from the trunk. I chopped them off but I didn’t have stump killer so I left it alone and forgot about it. It grew back again this Spring and I chopped it again and bought stump killer but I couldn’t find my 100’ cord to do all the steps the directions say need to be taken to do it successfully. Honestly it’s low on my priority list so it’s grown back a third time and it looks like a dumb bush tree. I’ll get to it eventually, when it gets higher on my priority scale.
Like I said, Job is right. Trees can grow back when the water source comes. You all know that weeds find a way time and time again. That tree in my front yard does. But human life isn’t quite the same. We can’t be basically dead like a tree and come back to life. Once we hit that final door that is our last on this earthly journey. Sure, doctors can do incredible things to keep us alive and bring us back from the brink of death, but our earthly walk has a very real finality to it. It is reality, it’s our mortality and it’s something that scares many people. With COVID-19 in our lives and once again spreading like wildfire, that mortality seems all too real and all too close to home. Maybe even some of us are calling out like Job for God to remember us like in Job 14:13.
It’s that call to be remembered that then draws me into the second part of our Job text in Job 19. Job wants his words and his written down. He wants his story remembered. He wants it written down on a rock so that this unfair event can always be remembered. He knows his innocence and with the finality of an earthly death he doesn’t want to be remembered as someone who was a great sinner that lost everything because of his ‘wrongdoing’. I think it’s common for us to want our memories to go beyond our lives and Job does this as well probably even more so because of his situation.
But in the midst of this loss and despair. In the midst of his mortality and wanting to live beyond it in a written down account, and I would say even more than that Job knows something that we as people have a tendency to forget when we experience hardship, suffering and loss. For Job, no matter how much he has lost and how upset at God he is, he knows that in the end he will see God face to face. He knows that God is his redeemer and that when his life as at its end and when the entire world comes to an end God is there. My Redeemer lives.
Even when loss and suffering seem unfair and undeserved, like in the case of Job, we need to recognize that no matter what else exists in life or happens in life that we have a Redeemer. We have a God who is with us (Emmanuel), who hears us, who sees us, who stands besides us. God is on our side. So no matter what hardship we face we can raise our heads up to the mountains and know that our Redeemer lives. We can know that God knows and cares. It reminds me of the words of Psalm 121 which call us to lift up our eyes to the mountains to know where our help comes from, and that help comes from the Lord. It also reminds me of Romans 8:38 where Paul tells us that neither life nor death…nor anything in all of creation can separate us from the love of God as found in Christ Jesus.
For us as Christians we know that our Redeemer is Christ Jesus. Christ who went to the cross to suffer an unthinkable death for our sake. A Redeemer who went to the cross so that when we are faced with our mortality and we bemoan that we are not like the tree that can come back again and again from death. We can know with confidence that this earthly life isn’t the end of the story. That as much as we want our story written down and remembered so that our earthly memory can go beyond our physical life we can know with confidence that we are written down in a book. We are written down in God’s book of life. And that when our earthly life does come to an end we will see our God face to face. And in that moment we will know all the ways that God knew our pains, God knew our suffering. More than knowing we will know that God was with us, and beside us and hurting with us. And when that day comes we will grow again from that stump, not on this earth, but with God in heaven. We will see God face to face, we will see our Redeemer Christ Jesus our Lord, and we will fully know the beauty, wonder and mystery of the Holy Spirit.
Job 19:25–27 NRSV
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; 26 and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
Amen.
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