Job 19:21-27a Easter IV
May 14, 2017
St Paul’s Anglican Church

“My Redeemer Lives”

I know that my redeemer liveth.

What monumental words! It is almost impossible to find a word suitable – appropriate – to describe this revelation of Almighty God to Job, of old. “Remarkable” is an understatement. “Incredible” falls far short! It is perhaps the way of wisdom just to hear it and to savor it…

I know that my redeemer liveth.

This from one of the most ancient of all of the Books of the Bible! In fact, outside of the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis, the Book of Job is probably the oldest book of the Canon. Job could easily have been a contemporary – or at least a near contemporary – of Abraham and of Lot.

The fact of Job’s longevity at 140 years fits this timeline… as does his position as a man whose wealth was measured in the possession of cattle… as does the picture of roving Sabean and Chaldean tribesmen.

It is most interesting to note in passing that Abraham did have a great grandson who was named Eliphaz, the name of one of Job’s three so-called “friends.” This is recorded in verse 15 of the 36th chapter of the Book of Genesis.

The Book of Job is, indeed, one of the supreme literary masterpieces of the world. And that is not an overstatement! Each reading of it makes one a far richer person — for its wisdom! It probes the subjects of human suffering and the goodness of God. Through it, the Ancient of Days reveals Himself to you and to me. Through it, we have been furnished a priceless perspective and profound understanding of life!

Job, by the way, is referred to in the Old Testament by the Prophet Ezekiel, who undoubtedly had prized access to a copy of his inspired writings. And in the New Testament, our Lord’s half-brother, St. James, writes of “the patience of Job” in the General Epistle bearing his name.

Our lesson this morning begins with Job crying out for pity. He asks his friends, “Why do you persecute me as God is persecuting me?” “Why do you add your persecution to the suffering already upon me by the Hand of God?” “Why do you add your load to that which the Almighty, in His sovereignty, is already heaping upon me?”

Then comes a very powerful preface – an extremely graphic buildup: “Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! Though translated “book,” the word Job used here actually refers to a very thin copper scroll – almost indestructible – a fabulous means of preserving written communication for posterity.

And he continues: What I am about to say is so important that it should be “graven with an iron pen and lead in rock forever!”

To simply scribe or chisel letters in stone would produce a very permanent record. But infinitely more long lasting was to chisel letters in stone and then fill the carved out inscriptions with molten lead. This cooled and solidified, producing a contrasting medium, which though it would oxidize on the surface, was practically indestructible.

Job drew this vivid picture under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to stress the importance of the prophetic words about to follow!

And so they are important! They are words which open for you and me a vision of basic truths vital for every Christian to know and to understand!

…I know that my redeemer liveth… and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another…

For centuries these words have been part of the processional in the Burial Office of Christ’s Church – fortunately preserved in the worship of the continuing Anglican Communion – words beautiful in cadence, but even more importantly, profound in meaning, hope, and comfort!

But even then, these words are much, much more than poetry and comfort – infinitely more! Here preserved in the pages of Holy Writ (more indelibly preserved than the inscriptions on copper or molten lead in stone for which Job prayed) is the unmistakable knowledge of Jesus Christ over 4,000 years ago – by a humble patriarch who lived two millennia before the Lord of life ever walked the Judean hills doing good!

Let us think about this for just a moment!

Job did not use the future tense. He did not say: “I know that my Redeemer shall live …He did not vacillate, saying: “I know that my Redeemer may live… He did not doubt saying: “I know that my Redeemer might live…

He clearly and confidently set it forth: I know that my redeemer liveth. Write it down for posterity. Inscribe it on copper, make it permanent with lead on stone. In today’s vernacular, we might hear him say: Underline it! Put it in bold! Italicize it! Save it! Back it up! Put it in the cloud!

I know that my redeemer liveth.

Job understood something from the distant past that many people today still do not understand: That the One Who will rise at the latter day upon this earth as our Judge is uncreated Being – living from everlasting to everlasting! And He is the same yesterday… today… and forever…

Our Lord, indeed, said it of Himself: “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

I know that my redeemer liveth.

These words certainly have enhanced value for you and me – living in the 21st century. Four thousand years distant from their original composition, we now intone them with a fuller meaning. A “resurrection” meaning!

Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death upon the cross for His people. He was then placed is a tomb – a sealed sepulcher – for three days! But the tomb could not hold Him and He walked out in Resurrection power – and that is what we celebrate during Easter!

It is through the testimony of St. Peter, St. John, Mary Magdalene, and countless others, we may speak the very same words: I know that my redeemer liveth. I stake my life on it! My eternal destiny hangs on it!

These words certainly belong in the Easter Season – so filled with optimism and encouragement! So imbued with life and light and power! They can certainly lift us up when we are down… bolster our flagging spirits when depressed… embolden us to move forward when fear and trepidation would paralyze and hold us back.

How simple these six words are! And how old and valuable they have become! How much they have seen! How wise they appear. How much they know! The volumes they tell!

I know that my redeemer liveth.
I know that my redeemer liveth.
I know that my redeemer liveth.

“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Yet He passes on His life to His followers through baptism – the washing of regeneration! Let us make these words our very own this very day! And let us keep them ever so close!

I know that my redeemer liveth.

He is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia.

Amen.

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