What do you hope for today, more than anything else?
Hope for a Redeemer
Job has become even more desperate. God still seems to be against him and treats him like an enemy (vs 1–12), and Job is more isolated than ever before (vs 13–22). God has attacked him personally (see vs 16,19) and turned everyone against him. God and men all seem to be against him.
But Job’s hope is for a mediator, a Redeemer (v 25; 9:33; 16:19). The Hebrew word is sometimes translated ‘kinsman-redeemer’, as when Boaz married Ruth, because this redeemer is someone related to you. They act as your champion or saviour. They take up your cause and vindicate you. They fight for the weak against the strong.
A triumphant Redeemer
Who is it that can help Job against God? Only God can stand before God. Only God can redeem Job. But how is God related to Job? Will God really become a man? Will he bear his own wrath for our sake?
And God gives Job this remarkable insight. Job has a Redeemer who lives forever and will stand triumphant on the earth and over the grave (v 25, see NIV footnote). And Job will see him with his own eyes (vs 26,27). And though that will happen after Job’s death, the thought that Job will be with his Redeemer draws from him an emotional, personal outburst of yearning.Mark Ellis
Praise God that Jesus has bought you and brought you into the family and will one day present you to his Father, faultless and full of joy (Jude 24).
This chapter is a lament, starting with Job accusing his friends of attacking him (vs 2–6). He also complains about God’s violence against him (vs 7–12) and laments the alienation of his friends, kinsmen, guests, servants, wife and family (vs 13–20). He then pleads with his friends, stopping them from striking him (vs 21,22). Before giving them a final warning and rebuke (vs 28,29), he expresses his wish to have a defender to confront God for him (vs 23–27). Job’s loneliness and helplessness are clearly seen. His misery and despair have grown.
A glimmer of hope sparks when Job explores the possibility of a redeemer to contend with God for him. Who is this redeemer (go’el)? We can trace the idea back to 9:33, where Job yearns for an arbiter to remove God’s rod from him. Later, in 16:19, Job states, ‘my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high’. The ‘redeemer’ (v 25) here sounds similar to a hypothetical legal mediator of the arbiter and the witness. As Wilson puts it, ‘underlying this picture of wanting a redeemer is Job’s deeper desire for a restored relationship with God.’1
It is interesting to observe Job’s inner perplexity and complexity. On the one hand, he grumbles about God’s aggression: not answering his request for justice (v 7); depriving him of self-determination and dignity (vs 8,9); tearing him down and stripping his hope (v 10); treating him as enemy with anger and hostility (vs 11,12). On the other hand, he desires to rebuild his relationship with God – believing that his redeemer lives (v 25) and that he shall see God with his own eyes (v 27). It shows us the persistent spirit of Job – never giving up on his faith however low he is. It ignites hope in him (and us) to persevere.