Welcome to My Redeemer Lives!
I love the first day of a study because everything feels fresh.
My intentions are fresh, my pen seems filled with fresh ink, even my Bible gives off fresh-page vibes, just waiting to deliver insight to my brain cells.
It’s important to breath in fresh for just a moment, because, most of the time, life feels not-so-fresh.
Routines, monthly payments, staring in the fridge figuring out what to eat, classes, errands…
what feels not-so-fresh in your life?
Then there is the darker side of not-so-fresh.
There once was a man named Job who knew about not-so-fresh, and that’s putting it lightly. He sat in not-so-fresh. He knew emotional struggle, loss, and a life turned upside down, but it wasn’t all drama-drama. Instead, I think one of the hardest parts of Job’s story is that he had to sit in all the muck for a while.
12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. 13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
And this is just the first week.
Job has wounds- holes in his heart where his loved ones’ laughter used to be, unrelenting sun where his roof used to give him shade, and now personal, physical decay in his flesh- infection, boils, rot. (Um, gross.)
Job laments and his friends seems super supportive for about a millisecond. Then they pick up the salt shaker, guised as “helpful suggestions” and add salt to his wounds.
Not only does Job have to endure all this pain, but now he has to endure crappy advice. Gag.
Job’s friend’s advice and explanations take up half the book of Job. Their “thoughtfulness” says nothing more to Job than,
“Oh, look at you and all your problems.Clearly we are better than you. Clearly we are more loved than you. Clearly we are doing something right and you are doing something wrong.”
Not-So-Fresh Friendship is what that is, right there.
But for all this bad advice, all it does for Job is turn him back in on his own misery. Job had real, physical pain. The disease he experienced, the destruction of all he held dear was physical destruction.
What physical struggles make them aware of their weaknesses?
What physical struggles do you have in your life?
In his weakness, God’s answer to Job is a physical promise recalled by Job, himself, in our theme passage for this study:
For 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…
Problems in life are often physical, or very physically impact us.
Resurrection is physical too.
Job tells us that he will see God in the flesh, not as a spirit or vague idea. This same flesh that decays will see a greater promise.
Read the NIV translation of the next verse, Job 19:27-
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
Skin destroyed, eyes that fade…
What part of your body makes you keenly aware that your body is passing away, decomposing faster than we’d like?
Here’s mine- hard, grey hairs that stick up like electrical wire; weird throat wrinkles that feel thick and sloppy at the same time; slowly losing my singing range to vocal cords meant only to last so many years.
The promise of resurrection reminds us that rebuilding is coming. Fresh is coming. While struggle and not-so-fresh, even death, is part of our story, it’s not the end of the story, nor is it even the climax of our plot.
Physical pain and physical problem remind us of a greater promise. We sit in the physical reality of this decaying world and its violence and disasters, political upheaval, and uncertain footing.
Some days look fresh and some days look not-so-fresh. Sometimes we stand in the promise, sometimes we sit on that ash heap with Job, but either way:
I know that my Redeemer lives is the fresh song in our lungs.
Because He sings a fresh song over us each day until we physically see eternity –
Fresh and new.
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