Have you ever been crushed by what a friend or family member has said? Have you ever crushed a loved one with your words? In today’s scripture Job’s friends have crushed him with their words. When people are hurting they don’t need lectures, they need love. When trying comfort a friend who is suffering it’s best to say very little. Words like, “I’m sorry,” and “I’m praying for you.” are best. Look at what Job says to his friends,
1 Then Job replied: 2 “How long will you torment me and crush me with words?
3 Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. 4 If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. 5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me, Job 19:1-5 (NIV)
What do I do when?
- My Friends Attack
What do I do when I feel that?
- My God has Wronged
6 then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. 7 “Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice 8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. 9 He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. 10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. 11 His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. 12 His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent. 13 “He has alienated my brothers from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. Job 19:6-13 (NIV)
What do I do when?
- My Family has Abandoned
14 My kinsmen have gone away; my friends have forgotten me. 15 My guests and my maidservants count me a stranger; they look upon me as an alien. 16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my own mouth. 17 My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own brothers. 18 Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me.
19 All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. 20 I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth. 21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. Job 19:14-21 (NIV)
This has to be the low point of Job’s life! It seems that EVERYONE has turned against him. Have you ever felt that way? Despite all that he lost and all that he experienced Job had a living hope. A hope that was beyond what he could see and feel in that moment.
Viktor Frankel was a Jewish psychotherapist who survived the Auschwitz death camp. He went on to write a book called, Man’s Search for Meaning, that sold over 10 million copies. He began the research for this book as he was actually in Auschwitz watching his fellow prisoners and how they responded to the death and the torture and the humiliation and degradation that was that death camp, Auschwitz. And in his observations he saw several things. He said some people became brutal. Good, nice, respectable people…when they saw and smelt death everyday and saw the nakedness and humiliation that went along with those demonic death camps some people who were nice and kind became brutal and savage like animals. Other people simply gave up. He said one day they just wouldn’t get out of the bunk.
One day they just wouldn’t show up for roll call. Many of them would set a date and they would think this is the day, I had a dream and this is the day I am going to get out of the camp, but the day wouldn’t come. When they began to lose hope, when they gave up the immunity system in their body shut down and opened them up to the variety of the diseases that were floating around the camp and they would die. He said some people held on, but they held onto some expectations that weren’t really real. They said, we are going to get out of here someday and when we get out of Auschwitz we are going to go back to our city, to our town and we are going to go back to our family and friends and enjoy the life of prosperity that we did before the war. And Frankel said they got out and life wasn’t the same. Life is never the same after undergoing a Job like, Auschwitz like time of suffering and they didn’t thrive or make it. There was a fourth group of people, according to Frankel, who somehow maintained their inner liberty, a sense of freedom. He said the way they did it is that they had hope that was outside of them. And he said the only way to survive this death camp is to have your trust in the living hope. A living hope in the middle of death, a living hope in the middle of unparalleled suffering, but it kept them alive and it gave them joy.
What gave Job hope? What can give you and me hope?
Let’s read what Job says,
25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27 (NIV)
In 19:25-27, Job expressed confidence that, even if he died, he would still have a Redeemer who one day would exercise judgment on the earth. Furthermore, Job affirmed that he himself expected to live again and see his Redeemer! It was an affirmation of faith in the resurrection of the human body.
The Hebrew word translated “Redeemer” in verse 25 refers to the kinsman redeemer, the near relative who could avenge his brother’s blood (Deut. 19:6-12), reclaim and restore his brother’s property (Lev. 25:23-24, 39-55), and set his brother free from slavery The kinsman redeemer could also go to court on behalf of a wronged relative (Prov. 23:10-11). In the book of Ruth, Boaz is the kinsman redeemer who was willing and able to rescue Ruth and give her a new life in a new land.
Previously, Job had talked about his need for an umpire (Job 9:33-34) and an Advocate in heaven (16:19). Now he takes it a step further: his Redeemer will one day vindicate him, and Job will be there to witness it! When you consider how little God had revealed in Job’s day about the future life, these words become a remarkable testimony of faith. And when you add to this the discouragement expressed by Job’s friends and his own intense suffering, Job’s witness becomes even more wonderful.
Of course, this kinsman redeemer is Jesus Christ. He took upon Himself a human nature so that He might reveal God to us, experience all that we experience, die for our sins, and then return to heaven to represent us before the Father. He is willing to save and able to save. One day He shall stand upon the earth and exercise judgment; and He will vindicate His own people.
Our living hope….
- My Savior will Redeem Me!!
These few verses contain one of the most frequently quoted passages in the great book of Job. In it, Job cries out in the midst of his terrible suffering and expresses a great hope. He exclaims with an incredible burst of confidence that he knows that his Redeemer lives and that he will see Him with his own eyes! What an awesome hope! Job expresses here a faith like Paul described: a faith that fixes our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen (2 Co.4:18). There in the garbage dump all around Job, as well as in his own mortal body, were nothing but death and decay, suffering and disease. Nevertheless, Job took his eyes off his own pain and agony and, for a brief moment, lunged for the great unseen—the hope and certainty that God would redeem him.
Bear in mind that Job could neither see God nor hear God speaking at this time in his life. He longed for answers from the Lord but so far had received none. And sadly, all he had heard from his self-righteous and arrogant friends were more and more accusations, leading to additional heartache and a heavier burden. Still, from the depths of his being he longed for a Redeemer. Somehow, he knew that God would justify, redeem, and deliver him—if not in this life then surely in the next.
This is the hope that Job had, it’s the hope that I have. Do you have this hope? You can find it in Jesus Christ our redeemer.
Sources: Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) – Old Testament – The Bible Exposition Commentary – Wisdom and Poetry. Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible – Commentary – The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – Job.