I Know That My Redeemer Lives

The Biblical Story of Job:

Hope is defined as, “To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future” (Bakers Evangelical Dictionary). In the 11th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews the writer list for us several of the “heroes of faith” who had this hope.

But perhaps there is one not mentioned in this list. I am sure we have all read the story of Job. While not being listed specifically in the Hebrew letter, Job stands out in the Bible as one who hoped in the Lord. He says, “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! That with an iron stylus and lead They were engraved in the rock forever! As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, …” (Job 19:23-26).

As we start looking at the thought expressed by Job, it is necessary weunderstand Job was a man who respected God (Job 1:1). And a man who was secularly successful at the same time (Job 1:3). But, as we continue our reading, we find that Job catastrophically lost everything, including his health. Yet, the one thing he did not lose was his trust in God. Job earnestly desired that the consolation with which he was comforted based on this hope would be realized by many others as well.

Job’s hope and confidence was three-fold: (1) Job was confident that the Redeemer lives; (2) he also fully expected the Messiah would someday appear to rescue his and other souls; and (3) Job was hopeful and confident regarding the general resurrection in which he would participate.

These are ideas and convictions that encouraged Job in the face of adversity and served as the basis of his hope. In the same way children of God today who find themselves greatly afflicted or facing death can find consolation through the same hope. Certainly, for the rest of us who are relatively free from great trials, can, through this same hope find sufficient strength to satisfactorily cope with daily affairs.

The Redeemer of whom Job spoke is the Christ (Savior, Messiah) whose function and certain ministry on earth was first intimated in Genesis 3:15. The fact that our Redeemer lives is the foundation of our hope; if our God were dead, as some declare, we could have no hope. Job had sure hope based on the resurrection long before Christ walked the earth or was crucified and resurrected. Because we can look backward, we see so much more clearly than Job and yet he harbored great hope–the same hope.

Unlike idolaters whose worship pertains to dead gods fashioned from stone, wood, metal and the imaginations of men, Christians have a living Savior. Our Great Prophet is alive, whereas Moslems revere a dead (buried) prophet. Jews reject the Christ and have no Savior (Redeemer). Only Christians have a living Savior–who resides in heaven at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-10; 7:55-56).

The 2nd coming of Jesus Christ is the hope of God’s saints both in the Old and New Testament. Our eternity depends on it. As important as the 1st coming of the Christ is it would be meaningless were Jesus not to come again; the 2nd coming. The 2nd coming of the Lord is the fundamental hope of Christians (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and the dreadful fear of the ungodly (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

The time when all shall be resurrected is yet to be realized (John 5:28-29). Our hope for eternity rests on our resurrection from the grave; we know we shall be resurrected because the resurrection of Christ guarantees our resurrection. Without such all would be hopeless (1 Corinthians 15:19).

We have a common hope with Job and God’s people of all dispensations: (1) our Redeemer lives; (2) our Redeemer is coming for us; and (3) our Redeemer will resurrect us.

Job desired that his hopes might be recorded in a book or engraved in stone so that others might develop the same kind of hope and become beneficiaries of the same consolations. His words, though, are immortalized in the eternal volume, the Bible, for all to see.

Will Your Anchor Hold?

“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift, or firm remain?”

This is the opening stanza of the hymn “We Have an Anchor.” It is found in most songbooks that religious organizations use.

This question, “Will your anchor hold” is asked metaphorically to describe one’s life.  We have all used various metaphors on occasion to describe some aspect of ours or someone else’s life. So, when asked if your anchor will hold, we understand it is not a tangible (or actual) device. An anchor is defined as: “a device usually of metal attached to a ship or boat by a cable and cast overboard to hold it in a particular place by means of a fluke that digs into the bottom” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)When this question is asked, we should look to see what it is that fulfills the deeper meaning of the anchor.

Security and stability

What is it that provides the needed “security”, “stability”, and grounding one needs spiritually? The answer to this question should be easy, but too many seem to fail to be properly “anchored”. Hope in God’s Word of course is the answer. The apostle Paul makes that very clear when he said, “If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister” (Colossians 1:23).

However, many seek their hope from other sources. Obviously the things of the world cannot provide the stability needed, nor the promise of life beyond this one because, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). Thus, the physical things of the world will be destroyed when the trumpet sounds. And in 1 Corinthians 3:19, Paul writes that even the intangible things of this world are ineffective as an anchor for the soul. The world’s wisdom will also be destroyed with the world.

What is this anchor?

The Word of God is that in which we are to be anchored. “‘BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.’ And this is the word which was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25).  So, having having established in what we are to be anchored, let’s make certain we understand each of us have responsibility in this. 

Considering the Word is sure, steadfast and unfailing, if our anchor does not hold, who’s fault is it? It would stand to reason it has to be ours. If we are in a boat, and toss the anchor out on smooth solid rock, it won’t catch, let alone hold. That’s why it is so important to be anchored in the gospel, the Word of God. Once we place our anchor in the Word of God, the only one that can release it is us!  

How an anchor works

Having spent some time fishing on Lake Cachuma and having to hold the boat in place, I know the anchor rope must become slack in order to release the anchor. If the boat maintains the tautness on the anchor (and it is properly seated), the anchor will not release. Now, apply this spiritually and we should see that we must maintain the proper tightness on the anchor, that which keeps us properly moored or connected to God. When we become slack or fail to do as we should, we allow our anchor to slip. Then we begin to drift just as a vessel on the water does. This could be devastating. And from a spiritual standpoint, it is eternally disastrous. Perhaps this is the reason we have so many passages warning Christians to hold fast, or to stand fast. Is this not what a properly engaged anchor does, hold fast?  

In Philippians 1:27, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so…I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” The same applies to us. We see this same idea directed toward the brethren in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 16:13. The point of what Paul is saying is that if they stand fast in the faith, they can remain strong. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 3:8 tells us we are “alive” (spiritually) if we stand fast in Christ.

Leaders must have stability

The elders (bishops) are also to have the characteristic of “stability” as they “hold fast” the Word of God. Titus 1:9 tells us this and tells us how the elders (and all others) can defend the Word of God if they hold it fast. And then we see those Christians of Jewish descent being exhorted to remain anchored in their profession in Hebrews 10:23 . We could site many more places, but these should be enough to show that we have full control of our stability.

“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?” Don’t become slack and let your anchor drift. Seek the strength and stability in His Word.

When Life Makes No Sense

Confusing life

When we study God’s Word, we are warned that “evil” days will come (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Matthew 6:34; Ephesians 5:16). Job observed, “Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1; cf. Psalm 73:14, 21). At times, there will be events, situations, diagnoses, tragedies, and conditions in our lives that will make no sense. That is why the Psalmist wondered aloud, “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble” (Psalm 10:1)?

There are mysteries in the New Testament that are not explained:

  • James, the brother of John was martyred for Christ, but Peter was delivered from prison and spared from the same ruler (Acts 12:1ff). Why? Surely the Jerusalem Christians puzzled over this matter.
  • Four companions in the gospel—Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke—arrived in the city of Philippi to do spread the Word of God. Two of them—Paul and Silas—are whipped and thrown into prison. But, the other two apparently were untouched. Why?
  • Epaphroditus, Paul’s helper in Rome, became desperately ill but recovered (Philippians 2:25‐27). Paul, however, was afflicted with a grievous “thorn in the flesh” that was chronic (2 Corinthians 12:7‐9). Why?

It is times such as these, when life makes no sense, that our faith will be tested. And, in such storms, there are foundation stones that cannot be moved.

We can trust God in the dark.

Corrie Ten Boom, popular author and Holocaust survivor, wrote, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” So it is in life. We can trust God farther than we can “see.” Solomon wrote, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

When we hurt, we really have only two choices: (1) We can hurt with God, or (2) we can hurt without Him. We need God more in suffering than ever before because losing faith will not remove our pain. Instead it adds a second problem, and of the two, Wayne Jackson notes, “infidelity is of far greater consequence.” Job trusted despite his extreme suffering. When all his children died, his possessions were lost, and his means of livelihood removed, he said simply, “…The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). When he soon also lost his health and suffered months of agony, he remained unfazed: “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15).

When a time of suffering come, is the time to turn to God’s Word, knowing the evidences in it build faith in God’s integrity (Psalm 19; Romans 10:17). It is of utmost importance that we establish confidence in the Word of God and not be moved from it. Unless we are convinced that the Bible is true, and we can trust its message, there is nowhere to go for any meaningful resolution; we will fall into the devil’s trap of doubt.

Faith Must Be Tested to Be Genuine.

Do you remember those public service announcements than began, “This is a test”? When going through trials, we can say to ourselves, “This is a test.” Times of crisis prove our friendship with God and declare the authenticity of our faith. Do we love God because He provides gifts? Do we love those gifts more than we love the Giver? This was the accusation Satan made against Job (Job 1:8-12; cf. 1 Peter 1:6-9). All the things we cling to in this world will eventually disappear. The One who gives them is all that will ultimately remain.

Simple answers sometimes are enough.

R. C. Sproul insightfully offers in his book, Not a Chance, that when a child asks a complicated question, or one that he is not yet ready to understand, a parent’s simple reply is, “Because.” “Because” implies there is an answer but does not give all of it. As God’s children, sometimes it must suffice to accept “because” when we ask “why?” In Job’s trial, as well as in ours, part of the test is the idea of not knowing the reason for the suffering. Jesus neither gave long explanations of evil nor ignored it (Luke 4:18-19).

Vance Havner remarked, “God marks across some of our days, ‘Will explain later.’” He continued, “One day of green pastures and still waters is followed by dark valleys and miry swamps, and a thousand ‘whys’ lie unanswered, tabled for future reference.” Warren Wiersbe wrote, “God’s people live by promises, not by explanations.” What promises do we have when life does not make sense?

We have the assurance of God’s presence.

While God never promised life would be problem-free, He did promise to be with His people (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 46:5-7). Notice these examples:

  • God was with David in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).
  • He was with the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3)
  • He was with Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6).
  • God sent an angel to the garden to strengthen Jesus (Luke 22:43).

Therefore, we can conclude, God is not a disinterested spectator in our lives. He is neither distant nor disengaged. Even when we feel life makes no sense, He cares (1 Peter 5:7). Even when we are afraid, through faith we can sing, “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, safe and secure from all alarms.”

We have the assurance of God’s peace

(John 14:27; 16:33; 20:19-21; Ephesians 2:12-14; 1 Peter 5:14).

We have the assurance of God’s providence (Romans 8:28).

Rather than asking “Where is God?” or “Why me?” let us ask, “What can I learn from this?” and “Who can I help because of this?” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Life’s problems are not easy, but they qualify us to serve in ways we never could otherwise.

Adapted

The Cure For The Troubled Heart

author unknown

A troubled heart

findalways ks “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going” (John 14:1-4 NAS95).

. But the cure for the troubled heart is always the same. to and cure the troubled hear andWhat is the Christian to do when his heart becomes troubled? He must look to Jesus and the comfort He can give.

It has been say that only those who have known sorrow are able to give comfort. Isaiah 53:3 refers to Jesus as “a man of sorrows.” Thus, acquainted with sorrow Himself, He can soothe the hearts of His disciples when they become sorrowful and troubled.

Also, The fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John provides dramatic evidence of that fact. Jesus recognized how troubled His apostles would be by His death so in that passage He spoke words of comfort to them. In those same words we, His disciples today, ar able to find the cure for our troubled hearts.

The Comfort of Faith (vs. 1)

Faith is the foundation of true comfort. Thus, we can conclude faith frees one from sin, makes him pleasing to God, allows him to overcome sin and the world, and causes him to always remember that God will never forsake him (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Samuel 12:22). If faith is great enough, one can accomplish or overcome all things (Philippians 4:13; Matthew 21:18-22). What a comforting thought that is for all the faithful.

The Comfort of Hope (vss. 2-3)

Hope in Christ is the comfort and anchor of the soul (Colossians 1:27; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:19-20). But apart from Christ, in the world, there is no hope (Ephesians 2:12). And in hell, all hope will be left behind. The hope of better things should comfort the Christian in adverse times (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The Comfort of Understanding (vss. 4-6)

The Christian can understand God. Jesus has given him a plain way to the Father and made complete provision for him to understand it. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide men into all truth and to reveal the mystery of Christ. He is our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1).

The Comfort of Prayer (vss. 13-14)

Comfort

The Christian who is lonely or whose heart is heavy should follow the example of Jesus, Peter, Paul and Stephen and pray (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 5:16). It is an aid in times of trouble.

The Comfort of Love (vss. 20-25)

How comforting it should be to the Christian to know he is the object of divine live. That love is great (1 John 3:1) and will never fail (Romans 8:35-39).

The Comfort of the Holy Spirit (vs. 26)

The comforting words of the Holy Spirit teach the Christian all that is necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Comfort of Peace (vs. 27)

Those who are justified have peace with God (Romans 5:1). Therefore, they are in a kingdom of joy and peace (Romans 14:17). They produce the fruit of the Spirit which includes love, joy and peace (Galatians 5:22). The peace they have surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7).

Conclusion

In conclusion, the next time your heart is troubled, look to Jesus. He provides comfort in all the above ways to those who allow Him to guide their lives.