March 7 – Job 19:25-27


So technically our Job series already ended and this week is a separate stand-alone sermon before our Easter series in Luke. However, at Downtown this week Tyler preached from Job 19:25-27, so the normal series vs. stand-alone distinction doesn’t really hold true for this one, and all that we’ve discussed in Job up until now will inform our time in the passage this week.

In Job 19 we’ve backed up to the middle of Job’s discourse with his friends, and at this point they’re still debating whether Job did anything wrong to deserve all the bad things that happened to him. Over and over Job pleads his cause to his friends, who keep accusing him of some hidden sin. Here in Job 19, perhaps a little exasperated at having to repeat himself over and over, we get this amazing statement from Job:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27, ESV)

Despite his circumstances, Job believed that at the end of everything, even at the end his mortal life (or perhaps even after it), he would be vindicated by God his Redeemer. Keep in mind the time period in which the book is set—Job was likely alive around the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So this is well before the Exodus, the sacrificial system, and Jesus’ death and resurrection, before most of the conceptual building blocks of redemption. So what is Job saying here about God being his “Redeemer”?

Interestingly, the Hebrew word there is goel, “kinsman-redeemer.” Here’s Charles Spurgeon on the word goel:

“‘I know that my Goel liveth.’ That is the Hebrew word; I suppose you all know that it means the person nearest akin to him, who, because he was nearest akin, was bound to take up his cause. If a man was slain by misadventure, the goel pursued the one who had slain him, and endeavored to avenge his death. If a person fell into debt, and was sold into slavery because of the debt, his goel, if he was able, had to redeem him; and hence we get the word ‘redeemer.'” (C.H. Spurgeon, sermon on Job 19:25)

For another example, in the book of Ruth Boaz is Ruth’s goel. The word describes both redemption, having someone clear your debts, and vindication, having someone fight for you. But having lost his family, his livelihood, and his health, this had to be a leap of faith for Job. All the evidence, including the accusations of his three friends, pointed to the contrary, that God had abandoned Job and was maybe even punishing him. Yet Job believed even in the face of his suffering that God would be his deliverance and defense.

This is an excellent segue from the book of Job to our Easter series, since Job’s primordial belief in God his Redeemer finds its fullest expression in Christ the Savior. Throughout our lives we have similar, though likely less intense, experiences of suffering that all seem like contrary evidence to the presence and love of God. Jesus lying dead in the grave was a similar sort of evidence for his disciples. And yet it is his death that gives us any hope for redemption; it is Christ fighting for us against the enemies of sin and death that gives us any hope for vindication. Clinging to this hope in the face of suffering is the sort of tested faith that produces steadfastness and assurance.(Jam. 1:3-4)

Questions for Discussion

• Would someone read Job 19:25-27 for us?

• What stands out to you from this passage?

• What can this passage tell us about how Job was processing his suffering?

• When you’re in the midst of suffering, what do you typically look to for hope or relief?

• Next week we’ll be starting our Easter series. How does this passage look ahead to Jesus’ work of redemption?

• How can Jesus’ death and resurrection help us actually process our own suffering?