My husband was trying to come up with a quick survey through the Old Testament for his men's group and we were discussing which books to include. I actually suggested they could skip Job since everyone knows the story of Job. Well, bite my tongue. I just read Job again yesterday and today and I take it back. They can't skip Job! Yes, it's about suffering and the sovereignty of God, but it's more than that, too. I love seeing Christ in Job. Some call this the redemptive historical hermeneutic, others call it the scarlet thread of redemption woven throughout the Scriptures. What this simply means is that God has given us glimpses of Christ in the Old Testament. The book of Job is one of the oldest in the Bible, written before the institution of the Levitical priesthood and most likely during the time of the patriarchs. Here are some of my favorite passages:
On our need for a mediator:
"God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together. The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of His punishment. Then I could speak to Him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength." Job 9:32-35
Compare this with Hebrews:
"So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:14-16
Cool, huh? God answered the prayer of Job's heart. We have just such a mediator in Jesus that Job desired. I believe that Jesus was Job's mediator, but it was prior to His incarnation so He had not yet suffered as a man. He could not identify with Job's weaknesses to the same degree that He can ours, since He Himself has now lived and suffered as a man. The only way we could possibly have the kind of mediator Job describes- One who can bring us together with God- is that our mediator be both God and man. Incredible! Right there in one of the oldest books in the Bible we get a glimpse of God's perfect plan to bring us to Himself.
Here's another one:
"Even now my witness is in heaven. My advocate is there on high. My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God. I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends." Job 16:19-21
On our redemption and the bodily resurrection:
"But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes, I am overwhelmed at the thought." Job 19:25-27
Me, too. Overwhelmed at the thought of seeing Christ, that is. I've never heard a sermon preached on this, and I've heard a lot of sermons. Isn't it exciting that resurrection didn't just pop up in the gospels? God always planned, from the beginning, to bring back to life our decayed bodies. We won't be disembodied spirits sitting around on clouds strumming harps for all eternity, thank goodness! We will have real bodies and we'll see Christ! And Job knew this!
And another good one:
"But if an angel (messenger) from heaven appears- a special messenger to intercede for a person and declare that he is upright- he will be gracious and say, 'Rescue him from the grave, for I have found a ransom for his life.' Then his body will become as healthy as a child's, firm and youthful again. When he prays to God, he will be accepted. And God will receive him with joy and restore him to good standing. He will declare to his friends, 'I sinned and twisted the truth, but He did not punish me as I deserve (Septuagent). God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light." Job 33:23-28
That passage has it all. The gospel in the book of Job!
God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He does not change. His plans do not change. The whole Bible is His perfect, holy Word and therefore relevant to us today. Every book of the Bible is about Christ. And none of them can be skipped, except maybe Song of Solomon : ). Anyone want to explain that one to me?!
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.