This You Will Always Know

In the wake of Bildad’s second speech (Job 18)—a terrifying description of the darkness, entrapment, and utter destruction awaiting the wicked—Job lamented. He returned his focus once again to how God had destroyed him in every way. He mourned his lost hope and the feeling of being trapped in his circumstances (Job 19:10,12). He lamented that he was a physical wreck and that all of his household—relatives, guests, servants, and even his own wife—now despised him (vv.13–19,20).

In other words, Job’s extreme suffering continued. But now it was interlaced with crushing social abandonment. Nevertheless, what Job said next stands as a radical alternative to despair:

“But I know that my Redeemer lives” (v.25).

A “redeemer” was a family member who bought back persons or property that had been lost to the family due to poverty. We know the practice well from the selfless action of Boaz, when he redeemed the property of Naomi’s family and married the widowed Ruth. We know of the redemption and deliverance of God’s people Israel from their enslavement in Egypt. And we remember how Isaiah repeatedly called the Lord “God of Israel,” “the Redeemer,” and “the Holy One of Israel.”

Job’s own declaration about God is woven within this same rich tapestry of faith. Having just said that his own relatives, or “kin,” had completely deserted him, Job fully affirmed that his “kinsman-redeemer,” his God, would not fail to rise up to vindicate and buy him back. “But I know” tells us something about Job’s confidence in God—so much so, that he asked that his words be inscribed as a witness for the future (vv.23–24)—and so they were!

Job’s profound vow of hope continues on as he proclaims that he will see his Redeemer:

“Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.
I will see him myself;
my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger.
My heart longs within me (vv.26–27).”

Perhaps he was echoing the symbolism of dust from Genesis 3, or maybe he anticipated restoration from his present illness (2:8;7:5). Regardless, his words are telling: he knew God would remain faithful. The bottom line is this: Job affirmed that he would see God. He was clinging to the truth that he knew. Seeing his Redeemer was what Job wanted more than anything else, and indeed he did, as we will read later in the book (ch. 38–41).

The beauty of this beloved passage lies in a paradox. On one hand, we see the ambiguity of never really knowing how or when our pain, suffering, and weariness will end. But on the other, we see Job’s fierce, unwavering hope. Hope compelled him forward, re-anchoring and recentering him to his faith. May we learn to do the same. Let us trust in the name of the Lord, relying on Him alone (Isaiah 50:10).

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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