Click here for the reading: Job 19:23-27.
Job was “blameless and upright,” before the Lord. In God’s sight there was, “no one like him in all the earth.” And yet, Job suffered like one full of blame and iniquity. In his sufferings he looked for aid and found none. He spoke with his friends, his counselors, and found no support. So he appeals again and again to the Lord.
The famous words that we hear in chapter 19 come hard on the heels of Job’s lament that everyone has forsaken him. He starts by lamenting that his friend, Bildad, has wrongfully accused him of unrighteousness. But the list goes on. Job feels forsaken by God and that forsakenness trickles down through every human relationship. His brothers, relative, close friends, guests, servants, even wife and children seem against him.
The clear implication of all of this is, “where can I look for help?” It is this question that the reading gives answer to. He appeals to an unknown Redeemer. Unnamed, but living, the Redeemer will vindicate Job out of his living death. In this, the redeemer is not just one who buys back, but who serves as an advocate. Before the Lord and before the world. The Redeemer will raise Job up so that He will be able to see God with his own eyes. There is an adumbration of resurrection in these words of the sufferer. Job’s heart faints at the very thought of this, though whether in ecstatic joy or in exhaustion is unclear.
Job’s sufferings transcend his own time and person. He is a pattern of the greater one who will come long after him, the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who though he was blameless and upright in every way, suffered for the unrighteous, the innocent in the place of the guilty. With the coming of Jesus, Job’s unnamed Redeemer, is now named and known.
This Redeemer sticks closer than all those other human relations who have abandoned Job. In His crucifixion he stands in with Job and with all of his creatures to the very end. He laments beside Job and takes the forsakenness of His Father upon himself, bearing the full weight of sin and suffering Himself. But, by His resurrection He is revealed to be the Redeemer who lives forevermore. The advocate for all mankind has been raised up by the Father, vindicated before the whole world. All then who hope in Him, who look to Him for help, will not be disappointed.
Consider where your hearers look for help. Who are the alternative “redeemers,” that might be appealed to? What help do they hold out? Why are such helpers finally inadequate? What is the redemption and advocacy that only Jesus can give? How does this redemption cause the heart to faint? Is it an exhausted fainting, or somehow a fainting that leads to conviction and strength to bear one’s burdens?