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Job 19:25-27

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
July 14, 2019

Would you stand with me as we come before God and His word.  And read with me the two verses from Job that we’re going to focus on this morning.  Job 19:25-27.  This is Job speaking:


For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.  After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.  My heart faints within me!


A number of years back - there was a Canadian Air Transat flight going from Toronto to Lisbon, Portugal.  About mid-way over the Atlantic - more than 1,000 miles from Portugal - Captain Robert Piche (pee-shay) and his crew noticed a fuel leak.


23 minutes later - their fuel almost gone - Captain Piche issued a mayday distress signal.  40 minutes later the right jet lost power and died.  2 minutes later the left jet - and there were only two - the left jet died. 


Hundreds of miles from Portugal the plane with 293 passengers - plus crew - begins to helplessly drop out of the sky.  The plane is  depressurized and jerking around.  The passengers are panicking and screaming.  The flight crew became hysterical.


Captain Piche - with only minimum power - a control stick - and an emergency propeller - for 18 minutes wrestled with the jetliner guiding it to Lajes (lah-djus) Airport on Terciera (tuh-cera) Island in the Azores. 


When the plane landed it hit with such force that the tires exploded - bursting into flames.  One of the passengers said, “It was a miracle we survived.” (1)


Do you ever feel like that?


Not that we’re at 30,000 feet and falling.  But, like things are out of control and very wrong.  Like being in an airplane fuselage - the tightness of a cylinder that we can’t escape from - helpless in the circumstances around us - being carried along to a destination we don’t want to go to.


Maybe you’re there this morning.  There are times - too many times - when its very natural for us to ask, “Why is this happening?  Where is God in all this?  Why doesn’t He answer my prayers?  Why doesn’t He step in and do something?”


All of us go through times of suffering.  When stuff is coming at us and all we’re trying to do is survive.


Let’s be clear.  Suffering is a consequence of living in a fallen world.


All suffering is not a consequence of a specific sin.  Like God is punishing us with suffering because of some sin we’ve committed.   He might - because we do sin and there are consequences for our sin and God may be using those consequences to get our attention and turn us towards Him.


But not everything that we suffer is a consequence of some specific sin we’ve committed.


But all suffering is a result of sin.  Adam sinned.  And we all live with the results of that - suffering the consequences of living in a fallen world.


We live in a broken world.  A world in rebellion against God.  And, we all suffer the consequences of that. 


Some of that suffering is self-inflicted.  Some of that suffering is inflicted on us.


Some of that suffering is not such a big deal.  Like getting a cold.


Sometimes that suffering is a big deal - really hard stuff.  We get cancer.  Or we’re called on to care for someone and to watch helplessly as they do a slow fade to death.


The crash and burn of my first marriage - and going through the divorce - was horrendous - painful - lonely.  Suffering.  Some of you have been there.


Or when I was coming to grips with abuse and going through years of counseling.  That was - at the core - heart level - suffering.  Some of you get that.


When dad died - suddenly - of leukemia - and then discovering that mom had Alzheimer's - that was brutal.  Caring for mom over the long haul of 15 years.  Watching her suffer.  Dealing with all that.


These days we’re caring for my 95 year old aunt.  Who’s declining.  And that’s not easy to watch and be a part of.


Through all that I’ve learned to appreciate the suffering of others.  The stuff of life that we all struggle with.


We all suffer.  Suffering is universal to what it means to be human.  Which most of us are.


That’s why these 2 verses in Job.  Job, who is the poster child of suffering.   There is truth here that can be helpful for us to be reminded of - to hang on to - as we’re looking for help moving forward through what we go through.


Before we get to 19:25 - we need to be come up to speed together on the back fill on Job.  To understand where Job is coming from and why.


Starting in Job 1:1 - The book of Job records that Job was a real person who probably lived about the time of Abraham.  About 2000 BC.  He was living in Uz - which is just south of the Dead Sea. 

The book of Job describes Job as being
“blameless and upright.”  Which doesn’t mean that Job was perfect.  But, when he sinned, Job admitted his sin - confessed it - allowed God to deal with it.  So, that he was living “uprightly” - rightly before God. 


Job is described as a man who feared God.”  Who understood God’s power and working in his life.  Who “turned away from evil.”  Meaning that Job chose to turn from his sin and to turn to God - trusting God with his life.


We’re told that Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters.  That Job consistently prayed for.


A prayer that’s echoed by every Christian parent whose heart is burdened for their children - especially when we’re concerned about our children’s relationship with God.


As a father Job pours out his heart before God.  He offers burnt offerings which were offerings given in total dedication - consecration - to God.  Crying out to God for God to not let go of His kids.


We can feel Job.  Yes?


So Job was a man - like us - a husband - a father - a man who was trying to live life in obedience and reverence for God.


And yet unlike most of us - Job was also very - very - wealthy.   We’re told that Job had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and many servants.  He was called the greatest man in all the east.  He was - and still is - a well known and important person.


Point being:  Job is a godly man with seemingly everything going his way.


Then reading on in Job - we’re told that Satan comes before God and God points out Job as an example of being godly and being blessed.


Satan argues before God.  “Anybody is going to obey You when life is easy.  If life gets hard - add some suffering - and Job will turn away from You.


And so God grants Satan the right to take everything away from Job.  But God also put limits on how far Satan can go with that suffering.  You can’t harm Job himself. 


Who grants Satan the right and sets the boundaries?  God.   Hold on to that. 


We know how this goes.  Yes?


Satan nails Job.  Within a few short verses, Job looses everything - servants - livestock - family - everything.  With no time to absorb each blow - within one day - everything is taken from Job.  The devastation is complete.


Job’s response - Job 1:21 - Job’s response was “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”


Familiar?  We sing a song based on that response. 


In all of what came down - we're told that - Job never sinned or blamed God.  (Job 1:20-22)


Then Satan comes again before God and God points out Job who - despite all that he’s suffering - Job is still living blameless and upright.


And Satan tells God, “Well, of course.  But, if something happens to him physically he’ll curse you to your face.”


And so God grants Satan permission to do whatever he wants to Job but he can’t kill job.


Who grants permission and sets boundaries?  God.  Hold on to the sovereignty of God in all that.  God has a firm hold on Satan’s leash.


We know how this goes.  Yes?


Satan takes Job’s suffering to the next level.  Within a few short verses - we see Job covered with sores from his head to his toes - some kind of skin disease.  The description in Hebrew has the idea of inflammation and fever.  Job is sitting in the ashes and garbage of the street scraping his skin with pieces of broken pottery.


Within a very short span of time Job goes from being an envied wealthy well known and respected man with everything going for him to a pathetic diseased legendary poster child of suffering.


And still Job doesn’t sin.  In the midst of that unimaginable - and we hope we never have to go through that - in the midst of great suffering Job doesn’t curse God.  He doesn’t blame God.


Job’s wife comes and tells Job, “Are you nuts.  Curse God and die.”  “Tell God what He can go do with Himself so He’ll get fired up and reign down His wrath on you and put an end to your miserable life and suffering.”  (Job 2:9)


Which is harsh.  Yes?


And still Job doesn’t sin.  Job tells his wife:  “You’re talking foolishness.  If we accept the good things that God gives us shouldn’t we also accept the bad?”  (Job 2:10)


And then - as if that wasn’t enough - Job’s friends come with the idea of sympathizing with Job and comforting him.  Which is a good thing. 


Except when Job’s friends showed up - at first they didn’t recognize him.  Then, when they did realize who that pathetic person was in the street - “That’s Job!” - they wailed loudly and tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  Which was what people did when someone died or there was a total disaster.


Which was probably immensely comforting to Job.  Not.

And then for 7 days and 7 nights they never said anything to Job.  Which was what one did when someone dies.  They spent 7 days and nights of wailing and dusting and demonstrating that they thought Job was a disaster in progress waiting to die.  Then they opened their mouths and made things worse.


The greater part of the book of Job goes on to record a dialogue - which is really more like alternating speeches between Job’s friends and Job.  Speeches that are well reasoned arguments that contain a lot of emotion and some really good theology.


But all that is kind of like fake news.  Only this is fake theology and doctrine.  It contains some really good truth but it distorts or misses the bottom line underlying truth that needs to be understood.


On one hand Job’s friends are defending God and warning and condemning Job.  In the midst of all that Job repeatedly struggles over God’s justice and his own vindication. 


Ultimately the difference between Job and Job’s friends - the difference between what they’re saying - as they’re each trying to process and deal with what Job is suffering - the difference in their response ultimately comes down to where each of them is in their relationship with God.


Which - coming to 19:25 - is important for us to hang on to.


In everything that Job is going through - ultimately Job is trying to be honest with God.  Job comes clean with everything that he’s feeling.  How he’s feeling - his doubts - his fears.

Job’s friends only talk about God - never to God.


Which is significant for us to hang on to:  Despite all the emotional and questionable things Job comes out with as he’s trying to process all of this - in despair and depression and severe suffering - as Job is questioning God and arguing with God - Job’s bottom line is always about his relationship with God.


He’s not cursing God.  He’s not blaming God.  Job is continually is seeking redemption by God.


If God will redeem him - meaning vindicate him before his friends and wife and everyone else - it proves that God is not his enemy.   Even if God never restores all of what has been taken from Job.  Job just wants his relationship with God to be right and for everyone else to know that it is.


Which is a big picture - very helpful - idea we need to hang on to:  As much as we might be tempted to think that all of what we’re being shown here is about suffering, it’s not about the suffering, it’s about the relationship of Job and God.


It’s not the suffering.  It’s the relationship.  That’s what’s important.


In the midst of whatever we may be going through.  It’s not the suffering.  It’s our relationship with God that’s important for us to seek after and hang on to.  God Who has Satan on a very tightly held leash.


We need to explore that.


There a number of different ways we can respond to suffering.


First:  We can go into survival mode.  We’re just trying to survive and get through it all.  Which is understandable.  But dangerous to our relationship with God.  Sometimes we’re so focused on moving through suffering, that we’re not paying attention to what God may be trying to get our attention about, in the midst of suffering.


A second response is that:  We can just glad when it’s over.  Relief.  Which is understandable.  But dangerous to our relationship with God.  Sometimes we’re so grateful that we’ve survived - that things are finally better - that we forget what we’ve learned about God.  We can forget in the good times what God was teaching us in the hard times.


A third response is to wallow in our suffering.  We get fixated on it - our disappointments - what we’ve lost - how our dreams have been shattered - what we’ve had to put up with and gone through.  So that our suffering defines us.  It directs our lives.


We feed our minds and emotions and spirit with all of that “woe is me” wallowing and over time our suffering begins to define us - even directs us in how we respond to life.  We live with anger and depression and bitterness.  We can be spiritually damaged because we’ve not dealt with what we’ve suffered with.  Everything in our lives - even today - is viewed through the lens of what we’ve suffered - even if that suffering was years ago.


Which may be understandable.  But all that wallowing is going to keep us focused on ourselves and not on what God desires for us in going deeper in our relationship and faith with Him as He desires to lead us forward in life to as we choose to follow after His plan for our lives.


A fourth possible response is to define our suffering by our own understanding of our suffering or by what others might be telling us about what we’re going through.


It’s understandable that we might be angry with God or disappointed or dissolutioned with God.  We might be tempted to see our suffering as God punishing us or that God is angry with me or doesn’t really love me.  This is because of my failure and my sin and I can never be better than this.  Otherwise God would have stepped in and done something about this.


It’s understandable that in the midst of suffering we can turn to the support and encouragement of others - real or digital - support and encouragement from others who perceive that we’re suffering and only naturally want to encourage us.  Which feels good and may be encouraging and may help us to cope for a time with what we’re experiencing.  (2) 


But the danger is that when we define our suffering by our understanding or someone else’s that we’re not seeing is God’s perspective of our suffering.  And for sure, we’re going to miss what God may be desiring to open up to us - leading us through our suffering - and to what He has ahead for us in life. 


Job’s friends showed up.  They had some great things to say.  Talked a good religious talk.  But they were talking for themselves and not God.  Which would have led Job away from God not towards God - not deeper relationship with God and what God was doing in and through Job’s suffering.  God who is sovereign over all of that.


Pulling those responses together - Job - Scripture Genesis to Revelation - helps us to understand that Satan and God both use suffering but for totally opposite purposes.  Satan uses suffering to tear us down and to discourage us and to defeat us and to tempt us and to lead us away from relationship with God and the sovereign God’s purposes for our lives.


God  uses suffering to build us up and to grow us and to draw us closer to Him and deeper in our relationship with Him.


God uses suffering to bring our spiritual needs to the surface and to deal with them..  God uses suffering to teach us about how God does things.  God uses suffering to demonstrate His faithfulness and love and mercy and grace and power and compassion and so much more about Who He is.  Ultimately God uses suffering to bring glory to Himself.


So - bottom line - when we’re suffering - any response other than focusing on God is going to be a Satan inspired ongoing fake theology and doctrine epic disaster.


When we’re suffering - we need to encouraged to respond by focusing on God.  To going deeper in our relationship with God.  To seek after God.  To seek to understand our lives according to the word and wisdom of the sovereign God.

Which - coming to Job 19 - which is Job’s response.  Which is an example for us to follow.  A fifth way we can respond to suffering - which is the way we should respond to suffering which is to focus on God. 


It’s not the suffering.  It’s the relationship with God.


In the midst of the suffering and the debating - Job reaches way beyond where he’s at - but coming from his heart - Job makes this amazing statement:  For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.  After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.  My heart faints within me!


Let’s unpack that.


“I know my Redeemer lives”


That’s personal.  “I know… my... Redeemer lives.”  That’s not theological empirical head knowledge of some distant unknowable creator deity.    But trust placed in a real person Job that has a real relationship with.


The account of Naomi and Ruth and Boaz is familiar to us.  Naomi and Ruth who return from Moab.  Boaz who’s an example of what it means to be a redeemer.


Ruth is a destitute impoverished Moabite widow with a mother-in-law.  Ruth is undesirable damaged goods from a pagan adversarial unclean Gentile nation.


In order to survive, Naomi is selling the property she owns.  Which - if it sells outside of the family - will alienate her and Ruth from whatever tenuous connection they might have had with their people.


They are suffering and without hope and in desperate need of redemption.


God’s law said that if a family fell into poverty - which was the situation of Naomi and Ruth - poverty where they would have to sell everything or themselves into slavery in order to survive - the kinsman - meaning the closest related as family kin man - kinsman redeemer was suppose to step in on their behalf and buy everything back - to redeem it - so that nothing would be lost.  Keep the land - the inheritance - in the family.   (Leviticus 25:23 ff)


Enter Boaz.  Who is a man of godly integrity.  Who lives focused on God - pursuing God.  Who is in love with God and God’s people.  Boaz steps into that role of redeemer and risks everything to purchase - to redeem - Ruth and Naomi back from their desperation and suffering.


Boaz demonstrates God’s love to Ruth and Naomi.  Boaz who represents God who redeems His people - even us - represented by Ruth.  God who - through Christ’s work on the cross - redeems us from the desperation and hopelessness of our suffering in sin.


The Book of Ruth records that Ruth is redeemed through her relationship with Boaz and her reputation is redeemed before the people.


At the end of the account, the people pronounce an over-the-top blessing on Ruth.  Elevating her status in the eyes of the community to that of Rachel and Leah who are the great revered matriarchs of the nation.  Women who’s births - the opening and closing of their wombs - was orchestrated by God.  Women who between them gave birth to 12 sons.  The founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.


Ruth who becomes the mother of Obed the father of Jesse the father of David who is the human lineage of Jesus.  Ruth who is revered and respected even by us today.


That’s redemption.  That’s what God does.  That’s what Job is looking to God for.  Redeem me before my friends.  My wife.  My people.


I know that my Redeemer lives.  He is alive.  He is present.  And He will continue to be alive - present with me.  And He will Redeem me.


and at the last He will stand upon the earth.


“at the last” in Hebrew is a judicial term that has the idea of the person who gets the last word at a trial.


In the end - at the end of all things - when the epitaph is written of Job’s life - at the last judgement - Job’s Redeemer will stand and testify of Job and the integrity of Job’s relationship with Him - with God - with Job’s Redeemer.  His testimony will silence Job’s accusers - his friends and counselors.  His testimony will vindicate Job who has suffered.


Job continues:  After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.   


And after I die and I’m buried - after my body is decayed - even if all this suffering leads to death - Job has faith in his Redeemer.  He will be raised from death.  He will see God.  God who is Job’s ever present and ever will be present vindicator redeemer friend - before Whom Job will stand even in eternity.


My heart faints within me!


Which is a phrase that in Hebrew means that emotionally Job is done.  Every hope he has - the entirety of his faith - is placed in God, His redeemer.


Pulling that together:  In the midst of suffering and continual accusations Job appeals beyond humanity and beyond human reasoning - beyond a human response and perspective of suffering - Job responds by appealing to God - Whom Job knows personally - Whom Job has faith in as his Redeemer.  God alone has the sovereign authority to stand and deliver the redemption - the vindication that Job is desperate for.


It’s not the suffering.  It’s the relationship. 


The bottom line of that big picture is this - what makes that big picture and - we can go there in the midst of suffering reality - the bottom line of that big picture is this:  God is there and  God is in control.


God Who is sovereign over all of it.


The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer said that the first argument of the  Gospel is not that Jesus died for our sins.  It’s not that “God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives.”  Dr. Schaeffer said, that the first argument of the Gospel is:  “God is there.”  There is a God, and He is in control of life.  (3)


John 3:16 begins with God:   “For God, so loved…”


The same God that Satan has to go through to get to us.  God who sets boundaries on our suffering and has Satan on a leash.


That’s why it’s not about the suffering.  It’s about the relationship.


I’d like to share a short video with you.  A song that speaks of who God says that we are. 


Because our suffering may lead others to see us damaged goods.  And often in the midst of our suffering we may see ourselves as damaged goods - maybe even beyond redemption.  But God doesn’t see us that way.


Which is why in the midst of suffering we need to and must turn to God.  To cry out to God.  To cling to God.  To be listening to God.  To allow God to frame how we’re looking at our suffering.  God Who is our redeemer and vindicator.  Who uses our suffering for His purposes in our lives and for His glory.  God Who has created us in His image and Who deeply - deeply - loves us.  God Who has not and will not abandon us.

The words of this song are a reminder of that reality. 


(video:  “You Say” - Lauren Daigle)


I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?

Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)


You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don't belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe


The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)


You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

And You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don't belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

Oh, I believe


Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet

You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don't belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe


Oh I believe (I), yes I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

Oh I believe (oh) (4)


When we’re suffering - maybe feeling like were trapped in a tube and in freefall - it’s not the suffering that we need to be focused on - it’s our relationship with God.  On God, our Redeemer, Who lives and is there and is in control.


What an encouragement that is for us.  That we can be listening to God and believing God for who He says we are and what God says about our relationship with Him.  That doesn’t change because of what we go through or how we’re tempted to think about ourselves - or others think of us - in the midst of all of that.


God has it.  Even if we don’t see it.  We can cry out to and cling to God.  He’s got us now and forever. 






1. San Francisco Chronicle, 8/25/01 & 8/29/01

2. Sinclair Ferguson, “Maturity” (Edinburgh, UK, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2019) - see chapter 9 “Coping with Suffering” - especially page 152

3. Quoted by Ray Stedman, “The Pressure of Pain” sermon on Job 2, 09.11.1977

4. Lauren Daigle, “You Say” Songwriters: Paul Mabury / Lauren Ashley Daigle / Jason Ingram, You Say lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Lyrics source:  LyricFind / video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI)


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®  (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.