My Redeemer Lives
I Know That My Redeemer Lives
Scripture: Job 1, 2, 13, 19, and 23, especially 19:25–26 I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.
Why is life so unfair? Haven’t all of us asked that question at one time or another? Most of us know that God does not cause death or other awful tragedies. The Bible states clearly that “God does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men” (Lamentations 3:33). The tougher question for most believers is this: Why does God allow such awful things to happen?
Why is life so unfair? Well we could say one reason is, that we live in a sin-marred world. Dr. Bill Bouknight, a retired pastor wrote this answer to the question, why is life so unfair? He wrote ...
In the garden of Eden, there were no tragedies or illnesses or death. It was a paradise. But Adam and Eve rebelled against God and exchanged paradise for a sin-marred world, a place where awful things can and do happen. This is not only a sin-marred world; it is also a free world. God will not turn us into puppets or robots. To take away our freedom would be to distort our basic humanity. Therefore, God rarely intervenes miraculously to prevent accidents, to stop murderous criminals or to force terrorists to behave. God usually allows natural laws to operate, even when one of those laws causes a disastrous hurricane.
Back when Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, I was conversing with a very good friend, a Presbyterian pastor. With a twinkle in my eye, I said to him, “I sure am glad to be Methodist instead of Presbyterian this week. We Methodists see Katrina as just more evidence that this is a sin-marred world, but you Presbyterians have to explain how Katrina was part of God’s preordained plan.” Of course, I greatly oversimplified our theological differences.
God does not play favorites. He does not prevent lightning from striking Americans while leaving Australians unprotected. God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). God loves Armenians as much as Americans; He loves Italians as much as He loves Israelis.
When our 8-year-old son Aaron first began to develop symptoms of the brain tumor that took his life, his mother was helping him with his bath one evening. He asked her, “Mom, why did this happen to me?” She assured him that we had done nothing to cause it and that God was not angry with us. She told him that this was just an illness that could happen to anybody. We live in a sin-marred world.
— Charles Wesley once wrote this story … it goes something like this ... One day while we were having lunch, I asked my wife a strange question. It was sort of out of the blue, and she didn’t know what to make of it. I asked her, “What would you think of a good friend who would come up to you and slice you open with a knife?”
“Well,” she said, shocked, “that would be terrible.”
“Yes,” I said, “but what if he were a surgeon and he was performing an operation that would save your life?”
Well, that’s different, isn’t it? We still wouldn’t like it at the time, but we’d be grateful that we had a friend with enough skill to help us at a critical moment. When Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” he was saying, “I know that God loves me, that He is a Great Physician, and that He will never harm me but will always work all things for good. And even if it appears for a moment that He is harming me, I know it’s in appearance only and that in reality it is for my benefit. So I’m going to trust Him completely. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
I know that my Redeemer lives, and ever prays for me; A token of His love He gives, a pledge of liberty.
Our title for today is “I Know My Redeemer Lives”
Today’s Scripture is taken from The Book of Job 19:25–26
The Book of Job is rightly understood to be a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry and Western literature. As the first poetic book of the English Bible, Job introduces the reader to the idea of Hebrew poetry, which involves the repetition and combination of ideas more than sounds.
The author, date, and place of the Book of Job are all uncertain. It may be that Job himself recorded his experiences in the book, or there may well have been another anonymous author. Judging by the style of the Hebrew it uses, some scholars judge Job to be the oldest book of the Old Testament. "Ancient it is beyond all dispute. It probably belongs to the period covered by the book of Genesis; and possibly, to the time of Abraham. Its lesson, therefore, is the oldest lesson we could have; and it takes us back to the first lesson taught in the Bible itself."
"It is fascinating to think that as we open this text we may be faced with the earliest of all written accounts of a human being's relationship with Yahweh, the one true God."
The Book of Job is not primarily about one man's suffering and pain; Job's problem is not so much financial or social or medical; his central problem is theological. Job must deal with the fact that in his life, God does not act the way he always thought God would and should act. In this drama, the Book of Job is not so much a record of solutions and explanations to this problem; it is more a revelation of Job's experience and the answers carried within his experience.
"It is then, a true and real history that we here have of him, and not a fiction or a moral parable, as some have believed.
You may never have heard of Robert King Merton, the Columbia University sociologist who died in 2003, but I’ll bet you’ve heard some of the phrases he coined, like self-fulfilling prophecy and unintended consequences.
It was Merton who invented focus groups and who popularized serendipity. And it was Merton who coined the phrase role model to describe someone who provides an example of positive behavior.
The term may be new, but the concept is as old as the Bible; and if you want a role model of someone transformed by the message, you can find it in the book of Job.
(SHOW ONLY ) 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:10-11)
According to James 5:10–11, Job is a role model for all of us.
So who was this man named Job that was and is such a great example for us all?
Job... A wealthy and pious man from the land of Uz (Job 1:1). The main character in the book of the Bible bearing his name. The meaning of Job’s name is uncertain. He is mentioned in the book of Ezekiel as one of three great examples of righteousness, along with Daniel and Noah (Ezekiel 14:14, 20).
Job is the story of a righteous man’s suffering, apparently as a result of a heavenly wager between God and “the Satan.” Job debated issues of reward and punishment with four friends and was eventually vindicated by God.
When he loses all of his wealth and his precious children, their house collapses on them while they were feasting, Job rends his garments and mourns, but he does not turn away from God.
He is then subjected to another test in round two of the heavenly debate—the Satan suggests that afflicting Job’s body and making him ill will lead him to curse God.
Again, Job’s response is a spiritual one: “Shall we receive the good at the hand of God and not receive the bad?” (Job 2:10). However, his unnamed wife encourages him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9), can you imagine a sup-posit loving spouse encouraging you to do that, but he does no such thing. Rather Job sits in suffering silence on an ash heap, scratching the pus-filled sores that have broken out all over his body (Job 2:7–8).
Despite this intense tribulation and unanswered questions, he verbally affirmed his commitment to the Lord five times. Let’s take a few minutes this morning to study these five occurrences.
So, here are five of Job’s great statements of faith that are planted like signposts in the book of Job.
Job’s first statement of fact ...
1. Blessed Be the Name of the Lord! (Job 1:20–22). In Job 1, the devil stirred up trouble for Job. In responding, Job fell to the ground, not in despair, but in worship (v. 20), saying: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” (cf. 1 Tim. 6:7).
Our life lesson here is simple … we can into this world from our mother’s womb with NOTHING and when you die you will leave here wit NOTHING. Everything you have worked so hard for, that nice big house, those brand new cars, that big screen TV, and yes all the money in you bank account will be left right here for your spouse or children or te government to enjoy. Think about that for a moment.
Job’s second statement of fact … which is actually a question ..
2. Shall We Accept Good and Not Bad? (Job 2:9–10). The devil unleashed another attack, this time on Job’s health. His wife said, “Are you still trusting God after all this?” Job rebuked her and said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this, Job did not sin with his lips. There are several insights woven into this verse, one of which is the importance of sanctified acceptance. See that word “accept” in the verse?
Sometimes we have to accept things, even if we could wish otherwise. Remember the old “Serenity Prayer” that begins: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” Sometimes we just have to accept things, trust God with them, and say, “Well, praise the Lord anyway.”
One of the hardest things for us to accept it the fact the God is in control, not you. He has the perfect plan, not me. Most of all, Romans 8:28 states clearly these words … And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Spoiler alert .. it’s not about you or me, so we need to get over ourselves and walk according to His Word, His perfect plan that was written long before our daddies thought about us.
So, here is Job’s third statement of fact …
3. Though He Slay Me Yet Will I Trust Him! (Job 13:15). Job 4–36 is an account of discussions between Job and his friends who suggested that his problems occurred because of unnamed and unconfessed sins. Job resisted that argument and reaffirmed his faith in God, though he could not explain his suffering. In one of the greatest statements of faith in the Bible, he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” I’ve come to appreciate that attitude. It conveys a sense of utter trust that God will never do anything to us that will in any real or ultimate sense harm us. He only aims for our good, however it may look at the time.
Writing fictionally in the voice of a senior demon instructing a junior demon in his popular book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis stated - from a demon's perspective - this dynamic of trial in the life of the believer: "He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."
Charles Spurgeon wrote … "It is well worthy of observation that in these words Job answered both the accusations of Satan and the charges of his friends. Though I do not know that Job was aware that the devil had said, 'Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not set a hedge about him and all that he hath?' Yet he answered that base suggestion in the ablest possible manner, for he did in effect say, 'Though God should pull down my hedge, and lay me bare as the wilderness itself, yet will I cling to him in firmest faith.'"
Spurgeon also listed several reasons why he thought that "slaying times" were good times.
- Such times show us that we are really His sons and daughters, because He only chastens His children.
- Such times - slaying times - are when real faith is created.
- Such times are when God tests and affirms our faith.
- Such times are when we can grow in faith.
- Such times allow the child of God to prove that they are not a mercenary professor of faith.
Ok, let’s move on, here is Job’s fourth statement of fact …
4. I Know That My Redeemer Lives! (Job 19:23–27). And now we come to the Old Testament’s great Easter text, Job’s fourth declaration of faith. Notice the personal pronouns. Job isn’t just making a theological statement; he’s expressing his own feelings: is is stating with all the boldness tat he can mustard up .. He speaks ... I know that my Redeemer lives… And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.
Jesus rose from the dead, and one day the bodies of His children will be resurrected. This passage contains the truths of the redemption of the soul, the person of the Redeemer, the resurrection of the body, the Second Coming of Christ, the end of the world, and the promise of everlasting life.
And finally, Job’s fifth statement of fact …
5. He Knows the Way I Take! (Job 23:10). The final great declaration of faith in Job is in Job 23:8–12. Job asserts, in effect, “My troubles won’t last forever, and they’re not without purpose. He knows the way I take, and when it’s over I will come forth as gold” (paraphrased).
After Job had almost lost himself in the labyrinth of the divine counsels, how contentedly does he sit down, at length, with this thought: "Though I know not the way that he takes (for his way is in the sea and his path in the great waters, his thoughts and ways are infinitely above ours and it would be presumption in us to pretend to judge of them), yet he knows the way that I take,". That is,
(1.) He is acquainted with it. His friends judged of that which they did not know, and therefore charged him with that which he was never guilty of; but God, who knew every step he had taken, would not do so, Ps. 139:3.
Psalm 139 and 3 states ....
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
Note, It is a great comfort to those believers that honestly believes that God understands their meaning, though men do not, cannot, or will not.
As we close today …
Are you facing trials and troubles right now? The hope of the resurrection undergirded the heroes of the Old Testament, the saints in the New Testament, the champions of Christian history, and you and me and all of us today, and we can sing the lyrics to a song written in 1893 by psalmist Jessie B. Pounds:
“I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know eternal life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand”
(Jessie B. Pounds, 1893).
I want to leave you with this quote for Abraham Lincoln …
I told God that I had done all that I could and that now the result was in His hands; that if this country was to be saved, it was because He so willed it! The burden rolled off my shoulders. My intense anxiety was relieved and in its place came a great trustfulness!