Our Redeemer Lives

Scripture Focus: Job 19.23-27
23 “Oh, that my words were recorded, 
that they were written on a scroll, 
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, 
or engraved in rock forever! 
25 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! 

Reflection: Our Redeemer Lives
By John Tillman

Job lived before Moses and before Abraham. The Law had not yet been written. However, the concept of a redeemer has many expressions within the Law. A redeemer was typically a family member who would save or redeem a victim from a hopeless situation. 

Commentator Carl Schultz notes different types of redeemers. The redeemer could take vengeance for the victim’s unjust death. (Deuteronomy 19.1–12; 2 Samuel 3.26-27; 2 Samuel 14.11) The redeemer could reclaim the victim from slavery. (Leviticus 25.47-49) The redeemer could reclaim family property. (Leviticus 25.25-27) The redeemer could marry the victim’s widow, continuing the family line and maintaining property for the widow and her children. (Ruth 4.1-16)Job could have been thinking of a relative who might come to his aid, but what human relative could redeem all Job lost? What human relative could vindicate him? Pronounce him innocent? Restore his dignity? Restore his health? Restore his life?

Job’s words about a redeemer may have an earthly meaning, but no earthly redeemer could accomplish all that Job longed for.

Job was not asking for a loan or financial support. He did not want to muster an army to pursue human raiders. (Job 1.17) He did not appeal for legal representation. Job looked for a redeemer beyond the physical, yet Job declared he would see this redeemer in the flesh.

We share Job’s situation. Job’s difficulties are greater in severity than ours but similar in nature. Have we not lost loved ones? Have we not been cheated? Have we not lost or lacked finances? Have we not been estranged from loved ones? Have we not experienced injustice?

Do we not also need the redemptions described in the Law? By Satan’s deceit, Adam and Eve died, and we are slain with them. By sin’s shackles, we are enslaved to a wicked master. By death’s power, we are evicted from our true home with God. By all of this, we live under Satan’s kingdom—in his household.

We share Job’s hopeless situation. We also share Job’s Redeemer.

Jesus fulfills all the roles of the redeemer in the Law. He is the strong man, breaking into Satan’s home to steal us back and crushing the head of the serpent. He is our brother, restoring our rightful home and preparing a place for us. He is our liberator, breaking the shackles of sin. He is our new Adam and, united to him, as he suffered, died, and rose, so shall we.

Praise God, our Redeemer lives!

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
The Lord lives! Blessed is my Rock! Exalted is the God of my salvation! — Psalm 18.46

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 19 (Listen 2:48
John 18 (Listen 5:16)

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Greater Footstool, Greater God, Greater Redeemer

Scripture Focus: Job 2.1-2
1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” 

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 

Job 19.25
25 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!

From John: We return today to this reflection from 2020. Understanding how low Jesus stooped in the incarnation depends on considering the height of the heavens from which he stepped down. May we, as Job did, gaze in wonder and worship. How my heart yearns for him to step down again. Come, Lord Jesus.

Reflection: Greater Footstool, Greater God, Greater Redeemer
By John Tillman

As Job begins, Satan walks the Earth and has power over it. Before Job ends, he declares the promise that the Redeemer will stand upon the Earth to reclaim it.

Job is one of the places in the Bible depicting cultural beliefs about the cosmos that show God as a God of gods, or lower divine beings. When ancient writers thought of “the heavens,” or of the “council of gods” in God’s throne room, or “the mountain of the Lord,” they had images in mind that came from what the prevailing culture believed to be true. Just as we might picture God in a boardroom and angels as corporate officers, Job saw God as a king over other kings, rulers, and powers.

Ancient writers saw the heavens as the floor of God’s dwelling place—the underside of a literal floor through which God could look down. We are not that different from them. Because we, with modern telescopes, can see farther into the heavens than ancients does not make us more intelligent or less dependent on metaphor to understand God’s vastness. 

We have found the heavens to be larger than the ancients guessed. Does that mean that the heavens are less of a footstool for our God? No. It means both God’s footstool and God himself are more expansive than we knew.

If we have discovered God’s footstool is bigger than we thought, we must recognize that the God whose feet rest upon it must be greater than even the wisest of wisdom literature could comprehend.

It is this God whom Job proclaims “will stand upon the earth” as his (and our) redeemer. Job, nor we, could have fully imagined the lengths Christ would go to in fulfilling his words.

Christ, who is higher and greater than anyone has imagined, would become less and lower than anyone would imagine to do for us what no one could imagine. 

As Job, may we never lose faith in our great redeemer, Christ, who stood upon the Earth.
He stoops down in humility to join us.
He lay down in suffering to die as one of us.
He rose up in victory to assure us.
He enters our lives to transform us.

May we be changed, shaped, and focused as a telescope toward the Heavens, striving to reflect and magnify his image.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Our help is in the Name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. — Psalm 124.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 2 (Listen 2.11
John 2 (Listen 3:02)

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Down to the Foundation

Scripture Focus: Job 19.19-20, 25-27
19 All my intimate friends detest me; 
those I love have turned against me. 
20 I am nothing but skin and bones; 
I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.

25 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!

Reflection: Down to the Foundation
By John Tillman

Few are truly prepared for disaster when it comes. Though some try.

“Prepping” has boomed culturally and economically. More stores stock specialized bulk food storage solutions. Panic room and storm shelter installations are up. Many have invested heavily in solar panels and emergency generators.

A prominent example is Ford’s new hybrid truck. In 2021, the gas-electric trucks were primarily marketed as mobile power sources for job sites. (Not to save the environment or any of that mushy stuff.) However, last year’s Texas power grid failure provided an unplanned testing ground. Stories of the trucks helping keep their owners’ homes warm soared in the news.

During the crisis, Ford CEO Jim Farley tweeted, “The situation in the SW US is so difficult. Wish everyone in Texas had a new F150 with PowerBoost onboard generator….” Well, the crisis certainly didn’t hurt truck sales. This year, Ford has an all-electric truck that leans hard into those stories and can automatically act as a battery backup for one’s entire home.

While prepping for disaster is wise, it more often measures income than insight. Outlays of cash in case of future crises are out of reach for most people. It is no surprise that the most well-prepared for a crisis are the most wealthy.

Job was as wealthy and secure as a person could be. It wasn’t enough. It was Job’s spiritual preparedness that got him through the crisis—not financial wisdom or disaster prepping. “Wealth builds security,” is a truism similar to some quoted by Job’s friends. It is under attack in the narrative of Job. 

Some disasters we can only prepare for by reexamining and reinvesting in our faith. We can’t generate enough power, pile up enough grain (Luke 12.16-20), or carry enough water (John 4.13-14) to survive. God, however, supplies the needy without cost. He is a never-failing spring and an eternal source of power that will not fail. We short out our faith when we plug in to other sources.

Job did everything right and everything still went wrong. He held onto his faith in God but scraped off everything else, like pus from a sore. Job deconstructed his faith in his wealth, his family, and the friends sitting with him. He stripped his faith to its foundation. From there, God helped Job rebuild. 

Whatever we face, he will help us too. Prepare for disaster. Invest in a foundation of faith.

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Whoever holds my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.” — John 14.21

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 19 (Listen – 2:58)
Psalm 28-29 (Listen – 2:41)

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Read more about Well Equipped for Good or Bad
Job shows us that…his spiritual practice prepared him to experience tragedy differently than his wife or his friends.

Well Equipped for Good or Bad

Scripture Focus: Job 19.25
I know that my redeemer lives…

Hebrews 13:20-21
Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

Reflection: Well Equipped for Good or Bad
By John Tillman

Whether it is students going to school, business professionals walking in to a presentation, or tourists going on vacation, no one willingly goes ill-equipped. 

A student may be ill-equipped due to economic disadvantagement. A business professional may be ill-equipped due to faulty research or poor preparation. A vacationer may be ill-equipped due to negligence or ignorance. But they aren’t ill-equipped on purpose and each of them would admit embarrassment at the outcomes of their situations that resulted from being poorly equipped.

We typically put a lot of thought and emotional and financial investment into equipment we rely on. This is true of our mobile devices—the most ubiquitous equipment that modern urbanites carry—but it is also true of any item we use frequently. However, being spiritually ill-equipped is common and our investment in our spiritual equipment—prayer and other spiritual disciplines—is often lacking. 

When a disaster hits our lives, it is often a wakeup call to our spiritual life. We pray when we’ve never prayed before. We read the Bible when we’ve never read it before. We seek godly counsel through the community of the church when we had been going it alone.

Job shows us that spiritual practice does not prevent tragedies of any kind, but we can see that his spiritual practice prepared him to experience tragedy differently than his wife or his friends. Even in his most bitter and painful moments, Job sees the truth of his situation and his desperate cries give us some of the greatest insights and prophecies of Christ’s role as our mediator.

“I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19.25-27

Spiritual disciplines allow the Holy Spirit to equip us for good and prepare us for bad. He prepares our hearts for the joys, the trials, the successes, and the failures that are and will be a part of our walk with Christ. He gracefully walks with us and will supply our needs when we call on him.

Don’t wait for tragedy to seek God or to serve humanity in his name. Engage in spiritual disciplines today that will empower you to do good now and strengthen you for evil days to come.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Send forth your strength, O God; establish, O God, what you have wrought for us. — Psalm 68.28

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 19 (Listen -2:48)
1 Corinthians 6 (Listen -3:03)

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Daily bread refers to a daily need for God and purposely highlights the need for spiritual disciplines that are required for us to grow in faith.