This passage is, as one commentator states, a “ray of hope in an otherwise dismal assortment of groans and grievances.” In all the melancholy, Job makes a few positive statements that starkly contrast to the charges and rebuttals between he and his friends.
In Job’s mind, he was at the end of his life. He has suffered tremendous loss, excruciating pain, and death seems imminent. Job cries out for vindication, if not while he is living, then after— “Oh that my words were written!” Job is so convinced of his rightness and his friends’ wrongness that he wants a record that, after he is gone, will validate his claims.
Verse 25 provides one of the greatest affirmations in the whole Old Testament. In many translations, it’s clear how they interpret the passage with the capitalized “R” in Redeemer. However, while the word “redeemer” became a theological term late in OT history (Psalms and Prophets), in earlier times, the word was used in a legal sense (Num 18:15–27, Lev 27, see the book of Ruth). It’s quite possible that Job did not have God in view, but a relative that would come and proclaim his innocence on his behalf on the earth (sorry Nicole C Mullen and other Christian pop songs). Either way, while a kinsman-redeemer might vindicate him in a temporal sense, only God can justify in an ultimate sense. Despite what Job had in mind (theological/legal), the truth of his words overwhelmingly surpasses whatever his original intent—what Jesus accomplished on the cross was beyond Job’s imagination, and ours too.
Job assumed death was at hand. Because of the wounds, his skin was being destroyed (literally, flayed). When he is no more, Job had confidence in God’s vindication. While verse 25 is concerned with vindication on the earth, Job would now be vindicated before the Almighty.
What does this mean for his friends? Well, when Job is vindicated on earth, his friends have something to worry about because of their persecution. Matthew 12:26 reminds us that every person shall give an account for every careless word. Job let his friends know that if they continue in their persecution, they will face wrath.
How do we apply this text? Some reading this may just need to know we have hope. We have a Redeemer who will ultimately right every wrong. For many of us, we’ve read and thought that amazing truth and, although comforting, it’s not going to change our day. So, what can you apply that will change how you live today?
One thought is that Job may not have been looking to God as his earthly redeemer, but a person who would come to his defense. When his energy failed him, and his arguments fell on deaf ears, he needed an advocate—a redeemer. One problem with the “God is Redeemer” idea is that we lose the aspect of human responsibility. The laws regarding redeemers in the OT were for the protection of God’s people—that God’s people would help each other. If we look at someone going through a hard time and issue the platitudes of “All things work for the good” without lifting a finger to help, that is wrong. Obviously, wisdom is required, but we must understand that the role of redeemer is first a human one.
We love redemption stories, stories of people helping, advocating, redeeming one another, because it is a glimpse of heaven and what God will do for all those who have come into a relationship with Him through Jesus.
Practice redeeming love today!
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate