Summary: The faith that saved Job, is exactly the faith that saves us now. It has never changed; never will. It is faith in a living Redeemer
Lest we go quickly into our study of this text and it escape our notice completely, I want first to draw your attention to the previous two verses (23,24).
“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
That with an iron stylus and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!”
How little that faithful man could have realized what Book would bear his words for all generations to read; for the Holy Spirit to engrave them, not in rock, which will one day burn up with intense heat, but in something more permanent; the hearts of God’s called ones.
Now one of the early things most Bible students learn, is that Job is a book about suffering. If we know anything at all about Job, even if we haven’t read it ourselves, that one thing is usually that it’s about a man with a lot of patience. It’s about a man who loses everything, and then philosophizes for 40 more chapters about why he has lost everything.
But this book is much, much more than that. It fits in with the poetical books of the Bible (Psalms, Song of Solomon....) because it is written in the style of Hebrew poetry. But it also fits with what is called ‘wisdom literature’ (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes...) because it deals, in the words of Thomas Carlyle, with “...man’s destiny and God’s ways with him here on this earth”.
Scholars speculate on the time of Job’s writing. They’ve picked several time frames; the patriarchal period, the time of Solomon or the time just before the exile in the eighth century B.C.
I’m willing to concede to their experience and wisdom concerning that, since it really doesn’t make a lot of difference to me when it was written; as I’m sure it does not to you.
I mean, we know it wasn’t written in 1950’s Nebraska, right?
What is important to me, is that you understand that it could have been written in 1950’s Nebraska. The message of Job is that timeless.
I won’t argue with the scholars, but I would say that Job could have been written about events that took place in the early centuries of mankind...within generations of Adam. Why? Because its message is timeless.
The book of Job is written for the thinking person; for the Christian; who is not satisfied with quick and easy answers to the problems of life. For anyone with just a little bit of ambition and a lot of desire to better understand the God we serve, I would suggest getting hold of a modern translation of the Bible (New American Standard, New International, American Standard or Revised Standard), and sit down to read this book in one sitting...as you would a short story. Go to it prayerfully, don’t concern yourself too much with parts that are difficult to grasp, but read slowly and get the overall picture presented there. It will bless.
Now on to our study.
The book of Job, as I said, has much to say about God and our relationship with Him.
But I want to focus on something very specific today; and I want for one primary focus throughout, to be the fact that this is an ancient book. Whenever it was written, it certainly was written long before New Testament times, and possibly long before scholars speculate. Don’t forget that as we go along.
“And as for me, I know that my Redeemer
Lives, and at the last He will take His stand on
Even after my skin is destroyed,
yet from my flesh, I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes shall see
and not another.”
The first time I saw and understood these lines, I was amazed. This, my friends, is New Testament language!
I want to take these verses, on phrase at a time today, and talk about what they meant to Job and what they mean to us; because saving faith is built upon the truths contained here, and none other.
We’re going to see that the faith that saves, has never changed. It has been exactly the same since the day God first preached the gospel to Adam and Eve.
First then, Job says “And as for me...”
Don’t pass over these four, vitally important words. They are personal, and they proclaim that what is coming next has been internalized. What comes next is a personal conviction, not hearsay, not speculation, but truth uttered from a heart of assurance and firm conviction.
That is the beginning of saving faith. It is not mental assent. It is not philosophical reasoning. It is belief that takes a stand.
“And as for me..”
You may have your doubts. You may go your way. You may have the facts presented to you, and choose not to believe. You may reject out of hand, or after much careful consideration. You choose your own way. BUT AS FOR ME...!