The future looks bleak for Job. He sees nothing good on the horizon. He might have looked forward to time with grandchildren, but his sons are gone. He might have looked forward to some travel, but his wealth has been plundered. He might have enjoyed some quiet years with his wife, but she’s given up on the faith and walked out on him.
Everything around him is collapsing, and the only way to survive is to grab hold of something solid. That is exactly what Job does. He identifies the fundamental convictions on which he will stake his life. When the bottom falls out of your life, you need to know how to do this.
What’s a redeemer?
“For the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other.” Ruth 4:7
In Old Testament times, a “redeemer” was someone who had the will and the ability to get you out of the mess you were in. It was normally associated with a financial crisis. If a family came on hard times and accumulated large debt, they would be forced to put their land on the market.
Your best hope in a situation like this would be that somebody from within your own family circle would have the means and the inclination to shell out the money and buy the land. Then the land would stay within the family and at least you could stay there and work the land for someone who had your best interests at heart.
You could hope for a redeemer when it comes to land and money, but who in all the world is going to be able to get Job out of the mess he’s in? His whole body is breaking down. His life is ebbing away. Death is on the horizon. Who will get him out of that mess? The issue isn’t recovering his property, it’s recovering his life!
Who’s the Redeemer?
“I know that my Redeemer lives... in the end he will stand upon the earth.” Job 19:25
If Job’s friends had asked him who this Redeemer is, he would not have been able to give them an answer. All he knows is that “God has somebody, somewhere who will have the will and the means to do whatever is necessary to deliver me from this mess.”
His physical condition is getting so bad that he’s beginning to feel that he may well die before this Redeemer appears on the scene. But that will make no difference, “This Redeemer will come and He will stand on the earth. Even though He may not come until long after I’m dead and buried, He will be able to deliver me from ultimate loss.”
“I know that my Redeemer lives. He isn’t here yet, but I know He’s coming!” Can you picture the Son of God listening to these words? It will be another 2,000 years before Christ comes into the world, but here is a man who’s already looking for Him to come, and staking his life and his hope on the Son of God.
What needs to be redeemed?
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10
What was lost? We need to go back to Eden to answer that question. The man and the woman had perfect health—that was lost. They had a shame-free relationship—that was lost. They enjoyed personal fellowship and companionship with God—that was lost. They lived with a clear conscience—that was lost. They enjoyed frustration-free work—that was lost. They were free from the scourge of death—that was lost.
But God promised the man and the woman to send someone, born of the woman, who will get humanity out of the mess we’re in. Job clings to this first promise of God. The pain, the suffering and the loss of life in this fallen world is not the end.
The Redeemer paid a price, “It was not with... silver and gold that you were redeemed” (1 Peter 1:18). It was not like Old Testament days when you looked around for a wealthy uncle to buy your field and get you out of trouble. This mess had a much greater price. You were redeemed by “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). God looks down on the world’s pain and says, “I can’t leave them there. I must go down and redeem them.”
What will it take to do that? It will take God himself becoming a man. It will take God giving up His Son and the agony of the cross. But the Redeemer has come. He paid the price. His blood was shed, and on the third day He rose again. Even through your tears, you can say with absolute confidence today, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
This week's Scripture: I know that my redeemer liveth. Job 19:25
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This LifeKey based on the message “Resurrection,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, delivered August 27, 2000, from the series “Unlocking the Bible.” Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.