For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God. – Job 25:25-26
I had a quick moment to write a devotion. My first thought: “What should I write on?” Well, BibleGateway’s verse of the day was from … Job.
As we draw nearer the end of Matthew in our year-long sermon series, I said to our staff, “With all the chaos in our world right now, what should I preach on next?” The first person to speak said … “Job.”
Job! I don’t know if I’ll preach through this book next, but Job surely addresses a world in chaos! Thankfully none of us is dealing with a turmoil quite as daunting as Job’s; nevertheless, our current challenges are fully our own whelming challenges.
Stress does crazy things. Nancy Flory at The Stream recently reported that “last month, the ‘Disaster Distress Helpline’ at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration had an 891% increase in calls [over last year],” and that “the CDC reports that stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in … eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping [and] changes in … sleeping patterns
- Difficulty … concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems.”
I wonder which symptoms Job had.
I wonder what symptoms you are having.
One symptom that I pray that you don’t have is “friends” like Job had! Do you remember the story? Rather than comforting him, Job’s “friends” started blaming Job for his long litany of tragedies. And they also started blaming God, in a sense. They kind of had a karma-esque theology, repeatedly saying something like, “Job, you must have done something to deserve this, and our god of retribution must be handing out your well-deserved punishment.”
Yes, hopefully you don’t have “friends” like this!
And hopefully you don’t have a karma-esque theology. (I actually read something insightful once about karma. The person contended there were only two kinds of religion. Almost every religion in the world preaches a version of karma – in the end, you’ll get what you deserve. Christianity is the only alternative. Grace joyfully proclaims an alternative – You don’t get what you deserve; instead, you get forgiveness!)
Job knew this! In spite of his outward circumstances, Job knew of God’s mercy, love, goodness, and grace. Indeed, though living approximately two thousand years before Jesus was born, Job still somehow – and confidently – knew and could proclaim that “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God.”
Look at that, phrase by soaring phrase …
“I know that my Redeemer lives”: Though I may feel like I’m dying, one holier than I is living. And he’s not waiting to crush me. No! He’s my ultimate and eternal redeemer.
“And … I know … that at the last he will stand upon the earth.” God is not a distant deity. He’s our personal Lord who will one day – “at the last” – dwell among us!
“And after my skin has been thus destroyed” – After my physical body dies a physical death …
“Then in my flesh I shall see God” – I shall, nevertheless, have a physical resurrection.
Wow! Two thousand years before Jesus and the New Testament, Job prefigured and proclaimed the grace, mercy, redemption, incarnation of our God through Jesus Christ! Even in ancient times, he was proclaiming the heart of “Emmanuel” – God dwelling with us! He proclaimed an end of the age theology of a new heaven, a new earth, and a resurrected body! Amazing.
Thankfully none of us is dealing with a turmoil quite as daunting as Job’s; nevertheless, our current challenges are fully our own whelming challenges. And, therefore, I pray you’re like job in the midst of your challenges. Job was allowed by God to confess his confusion. So here’s my prayer for you: Even in the midst of any confusion you might have, I pray you will still boldly proclaim the goodness of God!
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s biggest
a change in eating habits.
(I restarted my diet today!)