Hope Lies In The Redeemer
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Job, chapter 18. Here begins the second of Bildad's speeches. He resorts to the use of Oriental proverbs. Notice how he begins to reason with Job in chapter 18, verses 2-4:

Job 18:

2How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.
3Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight?
4He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?

These words show some desperation on the part of Bildad and also express real irritation. He asks, “How long are you going to keep on talking about how good you are? Do you think that God is going to remove the rock out of its place to satisfy you? How long are you going to act as though we are stupid beasts and don't know a thing that we are saying? Listen while I speak my piece again. You evidently have not gotten the point. You are failing to recognize something that must be recognized if you are to come to the solution of your problem.”

Notice that Bildad's description of the wicked grows in intensity as he goes along in verses 5-9:

Job 18:

5Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.
6The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.
7The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.
8For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare.
9The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.

As we study this book of Job, let us remember that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I remind you that everything in it is inspired. One of the credentials of inspiration is the accuracy. For example, if an individual tells a lie, the Holy Spirit reports it exactly as it is—a lie. If these friends of Job's are incorrectly diagnosing in Job's case, the Holy Spirit is going to report their incorrect diagnosing in just the manner in which they gave it. This diagnosis of the wicked man did not apply to Job.

What does it mean when Bildad says, “…the spark of his fire shall not shine?” The Bible is not talking about man's being born with a spark of divinity. Make no mistake about that. It is not true that a man is born with a spark of divinity and that all that is needed is for that spark to be fanned into a flame and the individual will become a Christian.

The “spark of his fire” here refers to man's ability to perceive God. Because of man's ability to perceive God, God can contact the individual and that makes man different from the beasts of the field. Every man is born into the world with an ability to be touched by God. Man has the ability to grasp the fact that God has a purpose and a plan for his life.

“The light of the wicked”—what is that? As we compare Scripture with Scripture, this is made plain. When he refers to the word tabernacle, he is talking about the whole of man—man as he dwells in a human body. The Lord Jesus Christ is the true Light. Look at John, chapter 1, verse 9:

John 1:

9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Now notice verse 5:

John 1:

5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

It is true that the light does not comprehend the darkness, but not in the sense that it has nothing to do with it. Even though the light goes out for individuals, it does not go out for the whole world. There is no way to suppress light, yet men who do not want to walk in the light find themselves walking in darkness. We have terms that describe this condition. Sometimes we say that they are hardened or we refer to them as a hardened sinner. We mean that the sinful individual has no compunction and is not concerned about God's claim on his life. According to Bildad, this is the beginning of a sinful man. Notice John, chapter 3, verse 19:

John 3:

19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Bildad Is Actually Accusing Job Of Wickedness

The rest of chapter 18 gives Bildad's description of the wicked from his birth unto his death. He did not call Job by name nor make a personal reference to him, but he implied that this applied to Job. He spoke of him in the third person in such vehement language that Job recognized that Bildad was referring to him. Go back to Job, chapter 18, and notice verses 10-20:

Job 18:

10The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way.
11Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.
12His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side.
13It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength.
14His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.
15It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.
16His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.
17His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street.
18He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.
19He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings.
20They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.

Notice verse 20: “Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.” Bildad sums up everything that he has said in the whole chapter in this last statement. This is Bildad's opinon of the condition of the man who does not give God a place in his life.

Let us keep in mind that we said in the very beginning of the book of Job that his friends were analyzing his case. We learn as we study the book that they were just as wrong as they could be. However, we again emphasize that many of the things that they said were true, although they did not make the right application of them.

Job Answers Bildad's Second Discourse

Bildad had said, in effect, “Your problem is the same as it was when I spoke to you before. It hasn't changed. Your problem is that you are a sinner, a hardened sinner. Until you get to the place where your heart gets tender toward God, you are not going to lift this burden, this rod of wrath, that is resting upon you.”

There are many people today who think that if you have trouble, it is always due to sin in your life. Sometimes this is true, but it is not always true. Job was so discouraged by now that he was down to the very bottom. Job was irritated by the accusations of his friends—very irritated. They were not giving him any help, so Job answered Bildad, saying in chapter 19, verses 2-6:

Job 19:

2How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?
3These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.
4And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.
5If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:
6Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.

Notice Job's first questions: “How long will ye vex my soul and break me in pieces with words?” I trust the Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts through this simple phrase. How many of us, well-meaning as was Bildad, are “breaking people in pieces” with our words? Bildad was well-meaning, for when he heard of Job's trouble, he had come to comfort him. He did not hate Job nor rejoice in his trouble. He wanted to help his friend. But words can be so cruel. They can do so much damage. Used inconsiderately, they can indeed be a rod in the hand of thoughtless man. The Bible says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). How many of us choose our words fitly?

Christians Should Watch Their Words

The Bible also says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). How many of us use speech that can be described thus? How many of us really want our speech to be “always with grace”? How can we be sure that we will say the right thing at the right time? How can we be sure that even though we are choosing our words carefully, we will not break those to whom we speak in pieces? There is a way.

If we know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and are born again, we have the privilege of asking the Holy Spirit to give us the right words to say at exactly the right time that they should be said. When our Lord promised to send the Holy Spirit to earth, He said that He would give us words to say in the hour needed. “But when they deliver you up, take no thought of how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak; for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:19-20). Don't make up your own little speech. Let the Holy Spirit give you the very words to say at the very time they should be said. He will if you ask and let Him lead you.

Sometimes an individual will ask someone else, “How is it that you always know how to say the right thing at the right time?” A perfectly honest person would answer, “I have no thought to what I would speak. I planned my speech, but I did not arrange the words. I depended upon the Holy Spirit, and it was the Holy Spirit speaking.” If we would learn this dependence upon the Holy Spirit, we would always speak the truth, and we would not use harsh words that would break others in pieces. Neither would we fear to speak the word that needed to be spoken at exactly the right time.

Notice How Cruel Words Can Be

Bildad, a well-meaning friend, had broken Job in pieces to such an extent that Job could say in verse 7:

Job 19:

7Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.

Job was in the depths of despair. He cried out to God, but he felt that God did not hear him. Look at verses 8-11:

Job 19:

8He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.
9He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.
10He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.
11He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.

Job is saying here, “If it makes you feel any better to know what God has done, He has destroyed me. My hope is gone. He has kindled His wrath against me and counts me as His enemy.”

Job Felt Completely Forsaken

Job then began to describe the sad state into which he had fallen in regard to his personal relationship with his family and friends. Notice verses 14-19:

Job 19:

14My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.
15They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.
16I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.
17My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body.
18Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.
19All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.

Job is indeed in a sad state. He had been a wealthy man with a whole staff of servants, and now he could not get one of them to even bring him a glass of water. What comfort did he get? The only thing that anyone said to him was the same as what Bildad had said, “You must be a terrible sinner or God would not treat you this way.” They broke him in pieces with their words.

Job 19:

21Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.
22Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?

These are pathetic words, and they should have broken the hearts of the so-called comforters of Job. These friends had come to comfort him, but instead they had made him feel so bad that he cried out, “Have pity upon me; have pity upon me, my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me.”

A Ray Of Light Shines Through

Job was discouraged. But the Lord knows how to deliver His children out of trials and testings. He knows how to let the ray of light shine through just at the right time and how to lift our spirits when they have dropped to the very lowest. Therefore, the Holy Spirit of God opened Job's mind and let God's ray of light shine through to Job. Though these following words were spoken by Job, they could well be said by any servant of God. Look at verses 23-25:

Job 19:

23Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
24That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
25For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

If we stopped at the end of Job's words, “my redeemer liveth,” it would be a wonderful proclamation of faith, but notice that out of the depths of heartache and despair, Job says, with perfect assurance, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Job knew that his Redeemer was alive.

That in itself was wonderful—just to know that his Redeemer was alive was wonderful. He had touched upon this when he said, “…my record is on high” (Job 16:19). When he was tempted to be discouraged and overwhelmed with the emphasis that was put upon his own faults and failures, he took courage in the fact that his Redeemer lived.

Job 16:

21O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!

What possible benefit is there in knowing that the Redeemer is living? Job needed one to plead with God for him. The New Testament makes all this plain to us in Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 25:

Hebrews 7:

25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

The first part of this verse is wonderful indeed: “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.” What does uttermost mean? It means that He is able to save all—even the vilest sinner as well as the moral person. He is able to save all that come unto God by Him. How? Someone might answer, “Christ died on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sins.” True, but that is not the whole story. If you leave Him on the Cross, He died as a martyr to a forsaken cause.

The Holy Spirit emphasized an even greater truth when He said, “He ever liveth to make intercession for those who put their trust in Him.” The Apostle Paul took up this same thought and emphasized the importance of the life as compared with the death of Christ in Romans, chapter 5, verses 8-10:

Romans 5:

8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

This speaks of the Resurrection. Job had the right idea. In the midst of his despair, he could cry out, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Job said, “That is my hope. My hope lieth not in my perfection, for I have no perfection, and not in my righteousness, for I have no righteousness. My hope lies in the fact that my Redeemer is alive and that He is pleading my case for me, and He will take care of the whole situation.”

Thank God that I know today that my Redeemer lives and that He ever lives to make intercession for me. Thank God that I know today that, as a Christian, if I sin, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous. Jesus Christ is a completely satisfactory sacrifice for my sin, and not for mine only, but for the sins of the whole world as well. Can you say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”?

Job Finally Rests In Faith In A Living Savior

Look at verses 26 and 27:

Job 19:

26And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

We do not have time to take each verse here and learn the meaning of the Hebrew for that word, so we will read from the Amplified version of the Old Testament, “I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, and at the last time—the Last One—He will stand upon the earth; and after my skin, even this body, has been destroyed, then from my flesh or without it I shall see God, Whom I, even I, shall see for myself and on my side! And my eyes shall behold Him, and not as a stranger! My heart pines away and is consumed within me.” This version presents the same truth, but it is a little more easily understood.

Here, in the oldest book of the Bible, we have a promise of the return of the Lord. How did Job know that someday he would see his Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ? He knew that someday, whether in the flesh or out of the flesh, he would see the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. I know not how he knew from the human standpoint, but I believe in the inspiration of the Word of God because I believe that holy men of God were directed and moved by the Holy Spirit.

Though they lived long before the times that they wrote about, they were moved by the Holy Spirit into far distant eras so that they would be able to understand that someday the Son of the living God would come to the earth and would die as a sacrifice for sin and would be raised from the dead and would ascend into Heaven. There He would make intercession for us at the right hand of God. They knew that He would sit at the right hand of God until such a day that His enemies would be made His footstool, and on that particular day, He, Himself, would return to this earth. Job had the promise that he would see the Lord upon the earth. Job says “in the flesh or out of the flesh” because he had been suffering as few men have ever suffered, and it was entirely possible that he would die.

Job says very definitely that he would someday see the Lord. He was not counting on going to Heaven on someone else's coat-tails, nor on the basis of someone else's faith. Job believed that he, himself, would see God because he had a personal relationship with God. “Out of the flesh” meant death; “in the flesh” meant he would see Him when He returned to earth. This portion of Scripture teaches plainly the precious truth of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Job said that his heart was consumed within him by the very hope of the Lord's return—hope that he would personally see his Savior. I, too, have that hope today. Do you?

Zophar Bases His Advice On Tradition And Proverbs

The second discourse of Zophar can be very well summed up in verses 4-5 of chapter 20:

Job 20:

4Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,
5That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?

These verses are self-explanatory, but Zophar goes on to say that judgment happens every day in the life of the wicked. There is no real joy for him, and he is absolutely miserable. There is an element of truth in what he said, but his arguments were too wide in the range. Then he concluded his remarks with verse 29:

Job 20:

29This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.

Job Answers This Argument Of Zophar

Look at chapter 21, beginning with verse 2:

Job 21:

2Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.
3Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.
4As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?
5Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.
6Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.
7Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
8Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.

Actually, Job is saying, “Zophar, if you are right, if the wicked's day is short, and no good ever comes to them, then explain to me what makes them live a long, long time? What makes them prosper while they live? Explain to me why their seed is established in their sight with them and their offspring before their eyes.”

Job 21:

17How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.

Then Job gives the true explanation of the reason the wicked prosper in verse 9:

Job 21:

9Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.

This is the only right scriptural approach to the problem of the wicked. It is the only way we can understand why wicked men prosper and righteous men suffer. Only as we understand these two verses are we going to be able to understand why it is that he who puts his trust and faith in God seemingly has a difficult time while a man who has no regard for God at all seemingly is prosperous.

Job said, “Neither is the rod of God upon them.” In other words, he says that the reason the wicked prosper and are not punished is that they do not belong to God. God does not chasten those who are not His children. The righteous do belong to God, therefore the rod of God rests upon them. We, as human parents, at times must chasten our own children, but we do not chasten those children who do not belong to us. By the same principle, we do not tolerate someone else chastening our children except by permission. So it is with God. God does not apply the rod to the devil's children, but He does apply the rod to His own children when they need chastening.

Also, there are times when God gives the devil permission to apply the rod to His children. This is because they need to learn and to profit by such an experience. Keep in mind that when we use the word rod and the word chastening, we are not thinking of punishment exclusively.

Someone asks, “Are you implying God's children are always wrong?” No, we are not implying that at all. You have a very sad opinion of parent and child relationships if you think that the only time a parent deals with his child is when he has done something wrong. It is the parent's responsibility to train the child. That is the meaning of chastening. Sometimes the training necessitates a difficult time, but not always. That is exactly what Job said: “The reason the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer is that the wicked do not belong to God.” God deals with His children because He is training them. That is why you see the use of the rod in the lives of God's children.

Someone asks then, “Are the wicked then going to live foot-loose and fancy-free? Will they never be called into account for the things which are wrong in their lives?” That would be unfair and unjust. Job answered that question in verse 30:

Job 21:

30That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

God will deal with the wicked, not as His children, but as a judge deals with criminals. Full payment will be required as demanded.


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