+27 (11) 867 3505 church@bbcmail.co.za

In his book, The Finishing Touch, Chuck Swindoll tells the story of Glenn Chambers, a young believer with a lifelong desire to pursue missionary service in Ecuador.

On 15 February 1947, Chambers sat in a Miami airport awaiting the take-off that would jet him to his missionary destination. As he waited, he searched for a piece of paper to send a note to his mother. He found a scrap of paper from an advertisement, which had the word WHY? scrawled across it. He hurriedly scribbled a note to his mother around that central word before boarding the plane to his final destination.

Later that day, his plane crashed into a mountain, instantly killing all passengers aboard. His mother received his note several days later, opening it to be confronted with that haunting question: WHY?

Bildad delivered his second speech in chapter 18, once again accusing Job of grave wrongdoing and asserting that he would receive his due in Sheol for his sins. In response (chapter 19), we find Job, while not conceding that he was guilty of some wild sin, wondering why God was treating him as if he was. He expressed his confusion, as we shall see, in two broad laments, before again holding out hope of ultimate vindication.

First, Job lamented that God seemed to be attacking him (vv. 1–12). He was confident that he did not deserve punishment for any sin on his part, but he admitted that it certainly appeared as if God was attacking him for his sin.

Job lamented that God had “put me in the wrong” and therefore “closed his net about me” (v. 16). “Put me in the wrong” suggests that God had perverted justice. He was indeed caught in God’s net, but unjustly so.

Second, Job lamented that God appeared to be deliberately isolating him (vv. 13–20). So severe was the affliction he faced from God’s hand that it had severed him from all human companionship. Brothers, relatives, close friends, servants, and even his wife had all turned against him. He felt the utter misery of stinging loneliness. All human help had abandoned him, and all human love had left him. Again, he had to concede that what Bildad had said of the wicked appeared to be happening to him, though he struggled to understand why.

Anyone who has experienced even a modicum of Job’s afflictions understands where he was coming from. In severe affliction, we are quickly tempted to give into utter despair. But Job shows another way. As despairing as his situation was, he nonetheless embraced hope (vv. 21–29). Specifically, he hoped in a Redeemer.

He began the last section by reiterating that “the hand of God has touched me” (v. 21). Clearly, God was against him. Clearly, God was regarding him as an enemy, viciously attacking him and cruelly isolating him. Significantly, while it is true that God was overseeing all his affliction, it was Satan’s hand that had touched him (1:11–12; 2:5–6). Regardless, he felt that God was against him and longed for vindication—vindication inscribed with an iron pen and engraved in a rock forever (vv. 23–24). And where would that iron-inscribed vindication come from?

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.

(Job 19:25–27)

Job knew that his Redeemer lived, that he would stand on the earth, and that, in resurrection, he would see his Redeemer in his flesh. He may not have known as much about the living Redeemer as we today know, but he believed that his vindication would not come through his own righteousness but through the witness of the Redeemer who would come to earth.

Once again, we see Job swinging from one emotional spectrum to the other. He knew that God was against him. But he also knew that his only hope of vindication was the Redeemer whom God would provide. Christopher Ash calls this the “paradoxical marks of a true worshipper.” True worship, in other words, is sometimes marked by pain and sometimes by prayer—and sometimes by both at the same time!

As you meditate on Job 19 this morning, be honest before God about your pain. Openly confess your confusion to him. But pray also for grace to look to your Redeemer for vindication and to find hope in him.