Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Someone to Rescue Me

Put yourself in Job's shoes.

You've just lost everything. All your children, all your possessions. Your health. You believe in God, and you know most certainly that He's decided to torment you.
(These engravings are all by the masterful William Blake.)
Job says this: "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that on the last day, He shall take his stand on the earth ("the dust"). Even when my body is destroyed, yet in my flesh ("in my skin") I shall see God."

Famous verses. Shocking verses. Job's body has long turned into dust, the very dust he says his redeemer will be standing on. But he'll have his skin again, and his body again, and his eyes again.

We modern Christians have equated the words "redeemer" and "savior." "Redeemer" can also mean deliverer, vindicator, avenger.

But what did it mean to Job? After all, he's the one who said "I have a redeemer, and he is alive." A redeemer in ancient times was a more specific, practical term. Think of Ruth -- she needed a redeemer, a living relative who could rescue her from her poverty and ruin, change her life, transfer his wealth to her and give her a home. A redeemer's legal obligation was to restore the life that a person had lost.
With friends like these ....
When Job says he has a redeemer, he must be thinking in those terms. What had he lost? His whole life, all he owned, all his happiness. In the middle of despair, he stated calmly that he had a living relative -- not just a friend! -- who would rescue him and restore to him all he had lost.
Job confesses his presumption to God, Who answers from the whirlwind.
We need a savior for our souls, definitely. Job did too. But Job's description of his redeemer is a very physical one, involving land and dirt, and skin and eyes. Job isn't talking about only a spiritual rescue, important as that is. Job knew, better than we seem to, that God's rescue is a very physical rescue.

What has been robbed from you in this life? Have you lost children, homes, land, businesses, money? Have you bee cheated, ill-treated, defrauded, mocked? Have opportunities been stripped from you? Jesus, the Redeemer, is our closest relative, our brother. He promises that He will restore all that we've lost. The soul comes first; that's how He becomes a brother. But then ... the New Earth will restore all we've lost and more. Land, home, comfort, abundance, rest, family, travel, opportunities, success. For some of us, this life is only a few short years away.

How real is that New Earth to you? Is it pie-in-the-sky? Or is it your future? Job's restoration of his entire life, in abundance, is a picture to us of how we will be restored all things. You have a redeemer. He promises to rescue you, put you back in your skin, look you in the eye, and give you a new life, on good earth for eternity.  That gives new meaning to the song, "Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it!"

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