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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
 
Title:Believer: be confident of your vindication!
Text:Job 19:25-27 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Death Defeated
 
Preached:2021
Added:2021-12-01
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Hymn 34

Psalm 73:1,2,6 (after the law)

Psalm 17:1,2,6

Psalm 73:8,9

Hymn 41

Scripture reading: Job 19

Text: Job 19:25-27

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus,

In November 2004, a young girl was kidnapped and raped in San Diego, California.  The police investigated and eventually brought charges against Uriah Courtney.  Both the victim and an eyewitness picked him out of a police line-up, although not with 100% certainty.  However, at trial the victim testified that she was in fact certain that it was Uriah Courtney who had attacked her.  There was DNA evidence, but it was inconclusive.  A jury heard the case and decided that Uriah Courtney was guilty – he was sentenced to life in prison. 

All the while Uriah maintained that he was innocent.  In 2010 the DNA evidence in the case was re-examined.  DNA testing had advanced in just a couple of years.  It turned out that the DNA wasn’t a match to Uriah Courtney.  It belonged to a man who lived 5 kilometers from the crime scene – a man who actually looked a lot like Uriah.  Uriah Courtney was freed in 2013 after having served 8 years for a crime he didn’t commit.

He was vindicated.  On the basis of the eyewitness testimony, the police thought he was the perpetrator.  The district attorney was convinced he was the rapist.  The jury was persuaded that Uriah Courtney had done the crime.  But he insisted he was innocent.  Eventually he was proven right, he was vindicated.           

Our passage for this morning is about vindication as well.  Job was being accused of living in rebellion and treachery against God.  His friends believe he is guilty.  In chapter 18, Bildad insinuates that Job is one of the wicked, destined to have his light put out.  The evidence is right there in the fact that Job is suffering so horribly.  Why would Job suffer like this if he was innocent?  As it turns out, Job wonders the same thing.  Nevertheless, he knows the truth will come out in the end.  Job knows he will be vindicated.  Loved ones, the same is true for all Christian believers.  There will be vindication.  So I preach to you God’s Word from Job 19:25-27 this morning:   Believer: be confident of your vindication!

We’ll consider Job’s confession concerning:

  1. The Redeemer who vindicates
  2. The believer who is vindicated

One of the striking features of the book of Job is its realistic portrayal of the struggles of a suffering believer.  Job isn’t stable as he suffers.  At times he doubts, at times he laments.  Sometimes he wonders whether God is actually his enemy.  If you look at verse 22 of chapter 19, he speaks about God pursuing him, like a hunter would pursue his prey.  So Job isn’t some kind of super-believer as he suffers.  He’s a weak and broken believer.  But yet he is a believer and so at times he does make these remarkable statements of his confidence.

In the words leading up to our text, Job expresses a wish.  His wish is that his words would be permanently recorded, forever remembered.  God granted that to him.  Today thousands of years later we’re still reading the words of this believer.  They’ve been “engraved in the rock” of God’s Word.

Job says that, despite his suffering, he knows something.  The word “know” here isn’t merely some intellectual knowledge, like knowing that the molecular formula for sugar is C12 H22 O11.  No, it’s more like confidence.  And it’s intensely personal.  It’s like the child who says, “I know my mother loves me.”  That’s a kind of knowledge that’s linked to a relationship, to the past and present experience of that relationship.

So Job knows something, but it’s really confidence about Someone, Someone with whom he has a relationship.  That Someone is a Redeemer.  “Redeemer” is the traditional translation of that word in Hebrew.  Now when we hear that word, we often put it through a New Testament filter.  So we hear “Redeemer” and we think of a Saviour, we think of someone who redeems, who buys back.  Jesus is our Redeemer because he pays for our sins and makes us his own possession.

However, this word in this context has a different meaning.  Here “Redeemer” means someone who is going to vindicate you.  If we think back to the case of Uriah Courtney, he had a legal team working to prove his innocence.  Several lawyers were advocating for him.  Same sort of thing here in Job 19:25.  Job’s Redeemer is like his lawyer, his advocate.  This Advocate is going to vindicate his cause.  Job is confident that his Redeemer will prove that his suffering wasn’t because he was living in rebellion against God.

Now notice how Job confesses that his Redeemer, his Vindicator, lives.  That’s present tense.  The one who is going to prove him right isn’t dead, but very much alive.  Job himself is almost dead, as good as dead.  Back in 17:1, Job said, “My spirit is broken; my days are extinct; the graveyard is ready for me.”  He’s got one foot in the grave, but his Redeemer is quite different.  He lives and lives forever. 

And eventually this Redeemer will stand upon the earth.  In the future, this Redeemer will rise to vindicate Job.  If you look in your Bible (ESV), you’ll see that there’s a footnote at the end of verse 25.  At the bottom of the page, we see that the word translated as “earth” can also be translated as “dust.”  This is true.  The word for “earth” here isn’t the usual word.  This word is the word used in Hebrew when we’re told in Genesis that God created man from the dust.  This is the word used when we’re told that when we die, we return to dust.  Job is confident that the Redeemer who vindicates is going to rise to stand on the dust – the dust of his own demise and decomposition.  Yet nevertheless, Job will see his Redeemer.  We’ll go into that in a few moments.

For now I want you to notice a couple of key things here.  First of all, this Redeemer not only lives, but he rises to stand upon the earth or the dust.  There’s a physical aspect to what Job’s Redeemer will do.  The second thing to notice is in verse 26.  If you look there, you’ll see how Job speaks of seeing God in the future.  He will see God in his flesh, with his eyes.  Elsewhere in Scripture we learn that God is a Spirit.  You can’t normally see God with your physical eyes, not unless he chooses to reveal himself.  When he does reveal himself, like he did with Moses and Isaiah, it’s a terrifying experience.  In Exodus 33:20, God says that no human being can see him and live.  Yet, amazingly, Job confesses his confidence that he will see God. 

God is his Redeemer who will stand on the earth.  God is his Redeemer who will vindicate him.  And Job will see him.  That’s something Job is looking forward to. 

There’s only one way to make sense of all this.  The only way this makes any sense is by seeing how it points forward to our Saviour Jesus.  Whether he realized it or not, Job was speaking prophetically about Christ.  The Holy Spirit led him to do that.  The Holy Spirit led him to this confession which was ultimately pointing to Jesus. 

Jesus is the Redeemer, the Vindicator, who lives.  He rose and stood upon the dust of his own grave.  He himself had been falsely accused and then vindicated.  Jesus was raised from the dead to prove that he was the Righteous One.  At the end, Jesus will vindicate all who have believed in him.  After we’ve been raised from the dead, our Lord Jesus will prove to the world that we’d been declared righteous in him.  And we will see him.  We will see our God in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is true God and true man.  We will see God in the flesh before our very eyes, together with Job and every other believer.

Loved ones, is this Redeemer yours?  Job’s confession here is intensely personal.  He says, “I know…”  He says, “My Redeemer lives…” and “I shall see God…”  That sort of confidence ought to be on the lips of all of us.  Believe for yourself that Christ lives, that he rose from the dead on the third day as a vindication of his righteousness.  Be confident for yourself that he is coming to raise the dead and when he does there will be vindication for you.  Loved ones, be assured with Job that with your flesh you shall see God.  You shall see your Redeemer, your Lord Jesus.                         

That’s a real comfort for us.  Job was faced with the shaming of his friends, accusing him of being a rebel against God when he wasn’t.  They said he was suffering and dying because God was angry with him.  You could face a similar situation today.  You could be in a bad spot and someone could accuse you of earning your suffering because of your allegedly sinful life.  But more often the accusations we face are quite different.  Because we believe what the Bible says, we can be regarded as guilty of hate crimes.  Because we stand on the truth of God’s Word especially on sexual matters, the world looks at us and says we deserve to be marginalized, cancelled, silenced.  Perhaps we should even have our churches closed down, our children taken away, and we ourselves sent to prison.  There are people around us who think that.  In their minds, Christians are guilty as enemies of society.  All because we love God and we love his Word.  In the face of that, the God we love promises us that there will be vindication.  The Scriptures we treasure promise us that we can be confident that someday our Lord Jesus will stand before our eyes and show the world the truth.

Job was confident of that kind of vindication for himself.  And God also made him confident about what would happen to him before seeing that vindication.

It begins with something not so nice.  In verse 26, Job speaks about his skin being destroyed.  He’s suffering from this horrible skin disease.  He’s scraping his skin every day with broken pottery trying to find some relief.  He’s a very sick man and it’s especially evident with his skin.  And he knows that his skin has a best-before date.  Someday his body will be in the grave and his skin will rot.  His body will decompose.  If the person hasn’t been embalmed, it only takes 8-12 years for a buried body to decay down to a skeleton.  That’s a process Job knows will happen to him, and it’s a process that will eventually happen to all of us, unless Christ returns first.  Our lives are all moving towards the reality of the grave.

But yet somehow God has revealed to Job the truth that the grave doesn’t spell the end of his body.  Job says, “…yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”  This is amazing.  Job is confident that his flesh which previously decomposed is somehow going to be renewed, reconstituted.  His body which will go in the grave and disappear through the natural processes of decay, that same body is the body in which Job will see God.  That same body is going to have physical eyes.  His skull will again be home to two corneas, two pupils, two irises, two retinas, and every other part a human eye has.  And an image is going to enter into those eyes, be transmitted by his optic nerves, and processed by the occipital lobe of his brain.  Job will see his Redeemer! 

Job didn’t use the word, but what he’s talking about here is resurrection.  That body that’s laid in the grave is someday going to be raised.  At the last day, when Christ returns, all human beings who have ever lived are going to be brought back from the dead.  Their souls and bodies will be reunited.  For believers, this is the awesome culmination of what Christ has done for our salvation.  He’s saved us for eternal life, not only our souls, but our whole being including our bodies.  In the age to come we’re going to live in the new heavens and new earth with our physical bodies, just as we have them now, except without sin, weakness, illness, or death – glorified bodies, but still physical in every way.

That incredible resurrection reality is guaranteed for us in Christ.  In 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrection of Jesus is described as being the firstfruits of our glorious resurrection.  What are “firstfruits”?  That’s a term from horticulture.  Let’s say you have an orchard.  Some of the trees might have fruit that ripens for picking first.  Those are the firstfruits.  Those firstfruits let you know how the rest is going to likely turn out.  Similarly, the resurrection of Christ is a foreshadowing of what our resurrection will be like.  His resurrection was glorious and ours will be glorious too.  Not only that, but it’s also a guarantee that what happened with Christ on that Easter Sunday morning is going to happen to all who believe.  Like Christ, we’ll be raised from the dead imperishable, never to die again.  The grave will be a distant memory, so will the tears we wept at the graves of our loved ones.  This is the hope of the gospel.  Job saw it from a distance.  God revealed these things in a shadowy way to Job.  But in the light of Christ and in the light of the New Testament, we now see it all so clearly.  We see the resurrection hope that the good news of Jesus holds out to all who believe. 

As you believe it, such a hope shouldn’t leave you unaffected.  It should encourage you and lift your spirits.  Thinking about these things certainly did that for Job.  Look at the last words of verse 27:  “My heart faints within me!”  Those words are pregnant with emotion.  Job has a deep longing to see what he’s talking about realized.  He yearns for resurrection and seeing God with his own eyes.  He hungers for the vindication his Redeemer will bring. 

It’s the same kind of hunger and yearning that we hear in Psalm 73.  Asaph was in a similar situation to Job.  He was a suffering believer while the wicked unbelievers were prospering.  He couldn’t make sense of it.  That is, until he went to the temple.  In the temple he saw the blood and death of the sacrifices.  God reminded him that the wages of sin is death.  Justice will be upheld.  Those who’ve trusted in God will be vindicated, even if God’s plan is for them to suffer in this life.  Then at the end of the psalm, Asaph says these powerful words in verses 23-26 [read].  He longs for God, desires to be with God. 

Loved ones, as you think about your mortality, your future, is that kind of desire yours?  Does your heart faint within you when you hear about what the gospel promises us in the resurrection of the dead?  It should because these are really encouraging truths.  But what if it doesn’t?  What if you can’t relate?  What if these things don’t touch your heart like they did with Job and Asaph?  There are a couple of things to say.  Listen carefully. 

First, our salvation doesn’t depend on our emotions and what the gospel does to us emotionally.  Our salvation depends on God’s free grace in Christ, a salvation we take hold of by faith.  So don’t be discouraged if for whatever reason, you’re having a hard time relating to Job’s heart-felt longing.  The most important thing is:  do you believe what God is promising us in Christ?  Do you believe you have a Redeemer who will raise you up and vindicate you?

Second, you can pray for the Holy Spirit to help you grow in your emotional response to the gospel.  What we see with Job here is hope.  Where does Christian hope come from?  Romans 15:13 says that we abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  He works this kind of emotionally rich hope in the hearts of believers.  And it’s Paul’s prayer in Romans 15 that the Holy Spirit would help believers to abound in that hope.  The fact that he had to pray about it tells us that it isn’t always the case.  Sometimes that emotionally rich hope we see with Job lags.  It did even in Job’s own life.  As you read further in the book of Job, you see Job struggling again, lamenting, wondering, doubting.  He goes up and down.  So it’s something we need to pray for.  We can and we should ask the Holy Spirit to help us abound in the hope of the resurrection and the vindication which comes with it.                           

This text from Job 19:25-27 is one of the most memorable in the Old Testament.  A lot of people are familiar with it because it’s used in Handel’s Messiah.  You’ll often hear it at funerals, especially at the graveside.  Believers love to hear these words.  No wonder.  It’s a beautiful passage, so well-said.  It’s a passage that resonates with us.  It resonates because of what it says about who God is, what he’s done in Christ and what he’s going to do for all believers.  In this world, we may not get vindication, we may not get justice.  But in the age to come, God promises that he will provide all that and so much more.  So loved ones, as you continue looking to Christ, be confident of your vindication.  AMEN.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for reassuring us again that we have a Redeemer who lives.  We look forward to seeing him stand again upon the earth.  We praise you that we can have confidence that we shall see him with our own eyes.  Thank you for the hope of the resurrection.  It gives us so much encouragement when we’re suffering.  Thank you for the promise of vindication.  That encourages us as we face the hostility of the world.  We ask for your Holy Spirit to help us joyfully and hopefully embrace these truths.  Please give us strength with your Spirit so that from our hearts we love the gospel message and rejoice in it, find our daily strength in it.  So thank you Father, that you answered Job’s prayer and had his words permanently recorded for our benefit.                                                                




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

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