March 29, 2021
Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
I know that my redeemer lives…
Much of the book of Job is poetic – and these two verses are particularly so. Look at the progression of Job’s statements. First, he says something along the lines of, “Grab a scratch pad and write this down.” Immediately he follows it by saying, “Actually, these should be put in a book. They are that important.” Next, he calls for an even more permanent record of his words – engraved on lead. And then he finishes the verses by wishing they were permanently carved in stone. Each step describes increasing intensity, labor, and permanence. It feels like the playground back and forth, “I dare you. I double-dare you. I double-dog-dare you.” I imagine Job slowly working himself into a frenzy of metaphors – desperately trying to convey just how important his next words will be to those around him.
If you haven’t read the whole passage of Job 19, you too might miss the weight of Job’s final phrase, “I know my redeemer lives.” That’s because he spends the first 22 verses describing how absolutely destroyed his life, reputation, and health are. He describes himself as devoid of respect, love, and even pity. So you might assume, as Job’s friends probably did, that the one thing he was sure of, was that he was cursed and forgotten by God.
But that’s not at all what he says.
Despite his absolute despair and loss, the one thing he is sure of is that his redeemer lives. He knew he was not abandoned, and although redemption was slow to come and hard to imagine, there was a living redeemer who had the power to save him. What a powerful statement of faith. How about you? When you are low, what do you continue to be sure of? When hope is hard to find, what’s the final thought in your head before you fall asleep?
Honestly, I wish that for me it was always one of surrender and faith. But that isn’t the case. So how do we get to the same point as Job? Confident in a redeemer who seems to be taking His time? The short answer is, there’s not an easy answer. But for a start, try reading Hebrews 10:19 through the end of Hebrews 11. The author of Hebrews talks about remembrance, hope, and suffering at length. In it I find a model and a challenge for faith like Job.