Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--From the Old Testament

Job 19:23-27
23 "Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!  24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!  25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.1  26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in1 my flesh I shall see God,  27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!

In the name of + Jesus.

Job had had it all.  He had everything that might make us call a man blessed:  Seven sons and three daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys and very many servants, “so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east” (Job 19:3).  But what made Job blessed among men was that he feared God and shunned evil with a relentless faith that would not let go of God’s promises.  That’s why Job is such an encouragement to Christians today.

Job had had it all…and then he had nothing.  As the story goes, the LORD allowed Satan to test Job.  Satan was allowed to take Job’s property.  Satan was allowed to take Job’s children.  Satan was allowed to take Job’s health.  Satan was allowed to take everything that others thought had made Job blessed.  But Satan was not allowed to take Job’s faith.  Job was left with nothing but his faith.

While your trials may not appear to be as severe as Job’s they are no less bothersome.  You lose dear loved ones; you lose possessions; more and more are finding it difficult even to find work to provide for their families, or to get the healthcare that the need to continue to enjoy their families.  And yet you are called to trust the promise that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28).

Ah, but Job’s faith wasn’t taken by Satan because Job’s faith wasn’t built on his possessions, or other temporal blessings.  His faith was built on God’s promises, which we hear being expressed in Job’s beautiful words, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”

And you know that Job is right.  You know that your Redeemer lives, because you have heard the Easter story.  You know that the tomb was empty, and that Jesus was risen.  You know that the hope you have is an eternal hope that will be made manifest in the new creation.  You’re not looking for heaven here on earth.  But along with Job, you are looking for heaven.  You are looking forward to that day when, even if your body has long been destroyed, you will stand in the presence of your Redeemer and see him face to face.  You and Job, and all whose faith has not been taken by Satan, will gaze upon the face of Christ in the land of the living.

Even if your faith is all you had, like Job, it would be all you need.  For it is a faith that knows that the Redeemer lives.

Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

I know that my Redeemer lives; What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead; He lives, my ever-living head.

He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death;
He lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there (LSB 461: 1, 7)

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