Monday, October 31, 2016

Job 19:23-27 Meeting God Face to Face

KEY TEXT: Job 19:25-27 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, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!

KEY THOT: Job lives roughly around the time of Abraham in the second millennium BC. This evidenced by the fact that he lived more than 140 years: “after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’s sons, four generations” (Job 42:16). Before he was put through his trials by Satan, he had 7 sons and 3 daughters who were already adult children. So, assuming he was married at 20 years of age, he would have to be at least 40 years old to have 10 children who were already adults. If he lived 140 years “after this (trial)”, he could have lived up to 180 years of age, common during the times of Abraham: “These are the days of the years of Abraham's life, 175 years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age” (Genesis 25:7). Like Abraham, Job had no Scriptures (Moses did not arrive in the scene until about 500 years later). Nevertheless, he knew God and was considered righteous before God: “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). 

Long before Job and the patriarchs, people were already calling upon the name of the Lord: “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26). Not having the Scriptures is no excuse for not knowing God. They knew intuitively from their observation of nature and also from the oral traditions passed down from former generations. Amazingly, without Scriptures, Job not only knew God but also knew that after he died, he would be raised bodily to meet his Redeemer-God: “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” (Job 19:25-26). This is possible because God has “put eternity into man's heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Thank God that despite the fact that we are born in time, we intuitively know that our life does not end here but continues on to eternity. The only question we need to ask is whether our eternity is spent with God or away from Him.

However one may describe this eternal reality (heaven, kingdom of God, nirvana), this knowledge is intuitive in every human heart. From Pharoahs of Egypt with their mummified bodies and entombed servants to the Chinese Emperors like Qin Shi Huang with their terracotta army, the hope is one day they would be raised from the dead to enter into eternity. Because of this intuitive longing for eternity found in every human heart, the gospel of Christ we have that offers eternal life touches a deep desire in every human, whether it is articulated or not. This earthly life-span of 80-90 years is too short: we are created for eternity. 

Our earthly life is a time of preparation to fit us for heaven. Paul describes Christ as sanctifying his Bride, the church thus: "he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. The goal of sanctification is to make the Bride beautiful and ready for the Great Wedding Banquet. And the means to this sanctificaiton is baptism ("washing of water") and scripture ("the word"). 

How are we preparing ourselves for the wedding day?

Thank You Father that this earthly life is but a foretaste of heaven. You have put us here to equip and prepare us for heaven so that we may be made beautiful to see You face to face. Help us live a righteous like Job, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil. Amen.

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