2016 4th Quarter
Lesson 12, December 10-16, Job’s Redeemer
Sabbath, December 10
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” KJV, Isaiah 53:4.
This week we are studying precisely how God reveals Himself as Creator and Redeemer in the story of Job. However, we must also understand and remember that the story of Job is to serve a specific purpose.
According to Jewish tradition, the book of Job was the first of those authored by Moses. This tradition is affirmed by Spirit of Prophecy. “The earliest as well as the most sublime of poetic utterances known to man are found in the Scriptures. Before the oldest of the world’s poets had sung, the shepherd of Midian recorded those words of God to Job—in their majesty unequaled, unapproached, by the loftiest productions of human genius…”. (Ellen White, Education, 159.)
Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of the drama set in the story of Job is that pertaining to Satan’s presence before God, and his efforts to cast calumny upon God’s character and reputation even as he seeks to prove Job’s loyalty unwarranted–a facade propped by the extravagant and supposedly arbitrary blessings of God. Even the hedge of protection God has placed around Job is questioned.
Evidently to Job, who cannot know that his name has been taken upon the lips of God or Satan, the tokens of God’s love are removed from him for a time. Of all that Job has lost, he feels most keenly the loss of God’s presence as these visible expressions of love’s tokens are taken away.
In the end, the tokens are restored–along with Job’s wavering, but now strengthened faith. So, what purpose does this story serve? How does it’s study affect those for whom it is written?
The children of Israel had been enslaved by a cruel ruler who desired to erase the memory of all that God had done for Egypt through the ministry of Joseph. Their bondage would be more severe just before their deliverance. The book of Job would serve as a testimony that God would indeed deliver Israel from their bondage. It was intended to strengthen the faith of God’s people at a time when it appeared that the tokens of God’s love had been removed from them–as demonstrated by their bondage and the children that were destroyed at a time that God was working to raise up a deliverer.
The story of Job also relates to us something of the experience Jesus would pass through in His mission and ministry here on Earth. He would be impoverished by leaving the riches and glory and honor of Heaven. He would experience the sojourn of men in the flesh of fallen humanity so that He might earn the right to be our Advocate. And after dying a cruel death, sensing the separation of His Father’s love because of God’s infinitely enormous hatred of sin, Jesus would be raised again to a life of glory and mediation on behalf of the penitent sinner exercising faith in Him.
Just before Jesus returns in the glory of His Father and with the holy angels, God’s people will again be tested. The trial of living in a world so corrupt and despotic will include the apparent removal of God’s tokens of love. The wicked will scoff and deride the poverty of God’s people. All visible means of support will be denied the true worshippers of God. Only those who receive the mark of the beast will be able to buy or sell.
This is the setting for this week’s lesson.