Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Confidence in the Midst of Calamities

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This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Job 19: 25,26

Confidence in the Midst of Calamities

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

Job was in the midst of calamities. In one day, everything was taken away. All his children died. His servants were killed or stolen. He had a dreadful disease in his body: an awful breath, he was skin and bones, sores all over his body. Job was an outcast of society. His wife told him to commit suicide, and his friends despised him as a terrible sinner. He is reproached and persecuted. Job was all alone! What a terrible condition.

But Job had hope. He made an amazing confession. “I know that my redeemer liveth!’ He knew that he suffered this at God’s hand even though he did not know why (vs. 6ff). Let’s look at Job’s confession.

“Redeemer”: the Hebrew word has the idea of a vindicator, one who takes up the cause for another. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. If someone murdered a member of your family, you could appoint a person to avenge the blood that was taken. If a family was sold into slavery because of debts owed, one like a Boaz came so that the household of Naomi and Ruth could be freed from bondage. It was a near kinsman who took care of Naomi and Ruth by allowing them to glean in his fields. He would take their land and harvest the crops for them. He would marry Ruth, so that there would be children. Without children, the woman would be cut off from God’s promise and inheritance. In Boaz’s marriage, Naomi and Ruth had a rich lineage, resulting in the Christ.

There was nothing that Job could do to stop his calamity, persecution, rebuke, or the accusations made against him. He clung to the One who would vindicate him and his righteousness: God in Christ Jesus. Job clung to his righteousness in Christ. While the dark clouds of calamity swirled around him, he lifted his eyes heavenward. “I know that my redeemer liveth.”

“My redeemer lives!” What a confession. While Job saw his own death (“though after my skin worms destroy this body”), he saw that his redeemer lives. He saw two things by faith. First, he confessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Job’s faith was like the faith of Abraham, when Abraham was called to kill his only son, Isaac, he knew that God was able to raise his son back to life (Hebrews 11:17-19). Second, Job knew that this vindicator “shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Over against what Satan, Job’s so-called friends, or the world had to say, his vindicator would declare Job righteous in God’s court. This was Job’s hope. He had a vindicator who would pay for his sins, who would take up his cause. Although accused as a terrible sinner by his three friends, Job knew that one day the redeemer would stand as Judge, declaring him righteous. He would be declared righteous, not by his own works but by the work of his redeemer. By the grace of God, Job had faith in this redeemer: one who would take up his cause before God himself! It is the promised seed of the woman, promised to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. One would come who would pay the debt for his sins.

The beauty and significance of this confession is found in how personal it is. Job speaks of “my redeemer.” Not only is there a redeemer, but he is mine! He will stand up for me and vindicate me. That means that Job was certain that God declares him righteous. God is for Job even though his so-called friends and society were against him. Notice the words, “I know that my redeemer lives.” “I know!” Not, “I think so” or “I hope so.” There is no certainty in that at all. Can you say, “I know that my redeemer lives”? Surely, if Job who lived in the time of types and shadows could have this certainty, how much more can we who have the completed Scriptures and who live after the fact of Jesus’ birth, suffering, death, and resurrection! “I know that my redeemer lives.” No ifs, buts, or perhaps; that would surely rob us of peace and comfort!

Job, facing his own death had the certainty of life afterwards. “And though after skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” They say that there are only two certainties in life: taxes and death. But for the child of God, there is the certainty of life after death. We shall see God. How? God is Spirit and therefore invisible. The answer is that we shall see God in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. We shall dwell in his beauty and love and fellowship. Is this what you desire?

Job did not know why God had so afflicted him. You and I should not ask, “Why are these troubles coming to me? Why does God allow or cause it?” Know this, child of God; affliction is for our profit. By it, God is testing us. He is also weaning us from this life and all it has to offer, to the world which is to come. He is saying to us, “Look to me.” We are taught to live as those who desire to see God’s face. When is the last time that you have included in your prayers the petition, “Come Lord Jesus, yea, come quickly”?

I know my Redeemer lives. Therefore, I shall see God! This statement shows the indestructible nature of true, saving faith. In the midst of circumstances that Job did not understand, he nevertheless fell back on the most basic truth of the gospel: his redeemer lives! Redemption brings to mind the glorious truth that the Christian is owned by God, purchased with his own blood, declared righteous with the righteousness that God freely gives to him by grace alone through faith. Can you say, “I know that my Redeemer lives”?

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Spriensma, Audred T.

Rev. Audred Spriensma (Wife: Alva)

Ordained: January 1981

Pastorates: Atwood, MI CRC - 1981; Bethany, S.Holland, IL CRC - 1984; Grandville, MI - 1992; Missionary to the Philippines - 2002; Kalamazoo, MI - 2007; Byron Center, MI - 2010; Home missionary (Byron Center PRC), 2017

Website: www.prca.org/missions/domestic

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