Because He Lives

Monday: Because He Lives

Job 19:25-27 In this week’s lessons, we look at the amazing trust that Job had in his coming Redeemer.
Resurrection in the Old Testament

When we think of the Christian doctrine of the resurrection we think first and naturally of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and then of the later New Testament teachings built upon it. But it is a remarkable fact that one of the greatest statements of resurrection faith in the Bible is found not in the New Testament, but in the Old. It is the testimony of Job, and is found in our passage for this week, Job 19:25-27.
Liberal critics of the Old Testament do not like the idea that a faith of this scope could have appeared at such an early period. It seems to them to be opposed to their idea of a progressive revelation in which the Old Testament figures had little or no hope of immortality and in which this hope flourished only after Jesus’ days. But Job is an old book, probably the oldest written book of the entire Bible. We think this because it is associated with Uz, Job’s home. Uz was near Canaan, the ancient homeland of the Jews (see Jer. 25:20; Lam. 4:21). Yet Job has no allusions to the many kings of Israel, the judges, the conquest of Canaan, the Exodus, Joshua or Moses, or to the patriarchs who went before them.
“Only one conclusion can be drawn from all of this,” writes Dr. Gleason L. Archer, Professor of Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, “and that is that Job must have been composed outside of Israelite circles altogether, and that it must have been written before there was any such theocracy as the commonwealth of Israel established in the land of Canaan.”1
The story of Job is well known, but we need to review it as a background for the faith in the resurrection that he exhibits in our text.
By the standards of his day Job was a very rich man. His inventory was seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys. Besides this, he had a wife, seven sons and three daughters, and he had the servants that would have been necessary to support this household and manage these large herds of animals. Most important, Job had God’s testimony that he was “blameless and upright” and that “he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1).
The next section transports us into heaven where we see Satan and the other fallen angels presenting themselves before God. God calls attention to Job, asking Satan if he has considered the character of this man: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (v. 8).
Satan, who from the beginning has been an accuser of the brethren and a liar, replies with a slander, affirming that Job fears God only because God protects him—a good bargain from Job’s perspective. God prospers and protects him; in return Job performs sacrifices and gives a little lip service to God. “But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face,” says Satan (v. 11).
God replies that this is not so, and he allows the devil to take away Job’s possessions, which Satan does. Moreover, he does it all at once so Job will be rocked by a rapid succession of faith-destroying blows. A messenger reports that the Sabeans stole his oxen and donkeys and killed his servants. A second brings news that lightening fell from the sky destroying the sheep and those servants. Another told how Chaldean raiders swept down and carried off the camels. Finally a messenger brings the terrible news that a tornado swept in from the desert, destroying the house in which Job’s seven sons and three daughters were feasting, killing them all.
Could any combination of tragedies be more overwhelming than those? Could anyone’s sense of personal loss and pain be more severe? Yet just when we expect Job to burst out in bitter accusations against God and even curse him, as Satan said he would, Job falls to the ground in worship, saying,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,and naked will I depart.The LORD gave and the Lord has taken away;may the name of the LORD be praised” (vv. 20, 21).
The chapter ends by observing, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (v. 22).
The second chapter is the same vein, only more so. The only thing Job had left at this point was his health, but now even this is taken away from him as God allows Satan to afflict Job with painful boils. Then even his wife turns against him, lashing out at him in her own pain: “Are you still holding on to your integrity?” (She has already assumed that her husband is at fault.) “Curse God and die,” she counsels.
But Job answers, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 2:10).
1Gleason L. Archer, Jr., The Book of Job: God’s Answer to the Problem of Undeserved Suffering (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1982), p. 16.

Study Questions
  1. How does Job speak of Christ?
  2. How do we know that Job believed in eternal life?
  3. Why did Satan want to attack Job?
  4. What was Job’s response to personal tragedy?

Reflection: How do you tend to respond to personal tragedy, or to any painful situation that you simply cannot understand?
For Further Study: To learn more about how Jesus is prophesied in the Old Testament, download for free and listen to Iain Duguid’s message, “Christ Foretold: Jesus in the Old Testament.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.

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