Ambassador of Reconciliation
4/7/12 at 10:45 AM 30 Comments

"I Know My Redeemer Lives": An Easter Meditation

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One of my favorite music videos is “I Know My Redeemer Lives,”* with Team Hoyt, a father-son marathon/triathlon team. It is a beautiful picture of a father’s powerful love and a son’s trusting love. The song is based on Job’s declaration at the heart of the book of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth” (19:25). As you watch the video, let the words of the song and the picture of the dad’s utter commitment to his son speak to you of God’s everlasting love for His children.

*Lyrics by Nicole C. Mullins

Studying the book of Job has given me a new understanding not only of suffering but also of God's great victory over sin, suffering, and death. Even through the great despair that characterizes much of the book, I now see echoes of redemption everywhere, the centerpiece being Job’s affirmation of his belief in a living Redeemer in 19:25. Job and his friends speak of the longing in the human heart that one day everything will be made right, and the book gives glimpses of hope that it will happen.

Job is a difficult book to interpret not only because some of the language is obscure, but also because the words of all five human speakers—Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu—contain a mixture of truth and error. It is not easy to sort out the truth from the error, but through reading the book we can discover that we are very much like ancient people, with the same hopes and longings, and that God has been working out His eternal purposes for them and for us since the beginning of time.

At first Job enjoyed a life full of blessings and free from suffering. He was extremely prosperous, he had a great family and many friends, he was respected in the community, and his relationship with God was good. But when everything was stripped away from him, he became acutely and very personally aware that something is desperately wrong with the world. He wished he had died at birth rather than live to suffer: “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (3:11).

Job wondered “why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave?” (3:20-22). Death would be a welcome relief—to go to the place where no one suffers:

For now I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep and at rest
with kings and counselors of the earth,
who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
with rulers who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child,
like an infant who never saw the light of day?
There the wicked cease from turmoil,
and there the weary are at rest.
Captives also enjoy their ease;
they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.
The small and the great are there,
and the slave is freed from his master (3:13-19).

Yet despite Job’s desire that it would all just be over so he would be released from his misery, he sensed that there had to be more—that there must be a way to be restored and renewed and reconciled to God. Recognizing that he is nothing before an infinite God, Job expressed his need for a mediator—someone who could represent him before God:

He is not a man like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.
If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,
to lay his hand upon us both.
someone to remove God’s rod from me,
so that his terror would frighten me no more (9:32-34).

Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend (16:19-21).

Job didn’t know who the mediator/redeemer/arbitrator/witness/advocate/intercessor/friend might be, but we know that He is Jesus, whose unimaginable suffering ransomed us from death:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Job also glimpsed the promise that God has more in store for us beyond this life:

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;…
Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance (13:15-16).

If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal to come.
You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature
your hands have made (14:14-15).

And ultimately he declares his belief in a living Redeemer who will come to restore him:

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (19:25-27)

When God confronted Job at the end of the book, Job realized more than ever how small and insignificant he is before the Creator, and yet, this God reaches down to enter into an intimate and loving relationship with human beings. In the words of Nicole Mullins’ song, “The very same God that spins things in orbit / Runs to the weary, the worn, and the weak.”

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

The very same God
That spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken
They conquered death to bring me victory.

He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives
Forever I’ll proclaim
That the payment for my sins
Was the precious life He gave
And now He’s alive and
There’s an empty grave!

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives!*

Redemption is a powerful theme that runs throughout Scripture, from the moment it first became necessary, in Genesis 3, through the final words of Revelation. Right after the fall, God hinted to Adam and Eve that the offspring of the woman would crush the head of Satan, the one who drives the wedge between God and man. In Job, Satan challenged God and lost—a foretaste of his final defeat. As Job affirmed, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (42:2). God not only defeated Satan but also redeemed the suffering of Job and blessed him mightily in the end: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first” (42:12). Job was a living demonstration of how God brings new life out of ashes and restores His creation to what it was intended to be. God put in our hearts the understanding that something is terribly wrong with the world and the longing for everything to be made right, and He will not leave that longing unfulfilled. Throughout history God has been in the business of redeeming this lost and fallen world and blessing His children mightily, and one day He will fully accomplish the reversal of the curse and the healing of the nations.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse (Revelation 22:1-3).

Like Job’s restoration to double his fortune and family, God will so completely overturn Satan’s plans for destruction that the final outcome will be more glorious than if sin and suffering had never happened. The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Our Redeemer lives and reigns! And He will raise us up to live and reign with Him!

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For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth….In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer (Isaiah 54:5, 8).

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:18-19).

*Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/n/nicole_c_mullins/my_redeemer_lives.html

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