The Bible introduces us to Job, a man who suffered greatly. Living before the time of Moses, Job knew and loved the Lord, but as we know all too well from our own experiences, that fact doesn’t exempt us from suffering and hardship in this life. Suddenly, in a short span of time, Job lost his 10 children, his wealth, and his health. Inflicted with painful sores from head to toe, Job suffered incredible physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish. As he journeyed through his ensuing depression, he wrestled with the Lord.
Despite all this, Job spoke with incredible hope. Half way through the book, while he was still suffering greatly, Job declared that his ultimate hope was in his Redeemer and the future Resurrection. He states the following
“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25–27)
There is perhaps no clearer statement in the Old Testament about the future day of resurrection for believers. Job had confidence that one day, even though his body would die, he would be resurrected by the Lord. And in his resurrected body he himself would see his Redeemer, who is God!
The word “redeemer” that Job uses is the Hebrew word ‘Goel’. It means kinsmen redeemer and is the same word used in the book of Ruth to describe a relative who could redeem you. In the Old Testament times if you were a slave or were enslaved by debt you needed a relative who could pay the ransom price for you so you could be free. That person was called a kinsmen redeemer.
And Job says “I know my redeemer lives….and he will stand upon this earth.” Jesus is the fulfillment of Job’s longing. Although Job didn’t know the name of Jesus, he knew that he needed a Redeemer from sin and he spoke of the future resurrection of the righteous when he said, “yet in my flesh I will see God; I will see him.” The New Testament fills us in on details about the resurrection. When Christ returns, he will raise believers from the grave and give them a glorified body. Living believers will be raptured to meet the Lord in the air and be transformed and also given a glorified body. (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The hope of every believer is that Jesus will return and we will be glorified. We will receive a resurrected body that will be free from sin and death and all suffering! Job was given a prophetic word about that day, and it gave him hope in his suffering.
May it give us hope as well. In the words of Romans 8:18, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
In the end, though we may not grasp all the reasons for our suffering, we know that God has entered into our suffering. God became a man. Jesus suffered and died. God knows what suffering is like. God has been involved in our suffering. And one day he will end it. At the resurrection, our sufferings will fade away as we are clothed with a new and glorious reality.