Although standing alone chronologically and historically, Job is considered one of the most important books of the Old Testament because of the importance of its subject: our relationship to and with God.
Job lost his wealth, his family, and his health. If you were to look at him, he had boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (Job 2:7), the pus of which he had to scrape off his body. He sat among ashes, probably to dry up the sweating of his boils; so he was caked with white dust from head to toe. When his friends came to visit him, we are told that “they… knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept… So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:12-13). Considering the fact that later they would not stop talking, the sight of Job must have been quite impressive to shut them up for 7 days and nights!
When Job finally breaks the silence, he does so by regretting the day he was born. Most of the remaining 30+ chapters are their conversations and speculations about God. While much of the speculation of his friends turns out to be incorrect, we nonetheless get a very clear sight of the New Testament Savior Jesus in this ancient Old Testament book.
Bible students through the centuries have observed the similarities between Job and Jesus. Job’s afflictions came because of his obedience to God, and were as painful as anyone’s in the Bible besides Jesus; he seems to be utterly forsaken by God while afflicted by men and satan, and his life ends in blessing for himself and the glory of God.
Over and over we see Job’s total willingness to throw himself completely into the wise and good hands of God: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10); “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (Job 13:15).
One cannot help but hear the echoes of Jesus’ perfect submission in Job’s words. Jesus — who cried out from his heart, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42), and then followed through with this resolute commitment: “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11).
Not only did Job express insatiable desire to glorify God in his affliction, he also displayed an unshakable resolution to obey God, even in the midst of his very real pain: “He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
Likewise, Jesus proclaimed, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34); “as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do” (John 14:31); and “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10).
In fact, we might say that when Jehovah questions Job at the end of his trial, we observe Jesus proving to Job his need of a Savior: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4). Job's answer: I wasn’t there, and didn’t didn’t even exist yet. Jesus answer: I was there. “Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest?” Jesus’ answer: Me! Job’s answer: definitely not me.
“Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?” Jesus’ answer: on my shoulders! “Or who laid the corner stone thereof” Jesus’ answer: I did! “Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days?” Jesus’ answer: Yes, by Me all things exist! “Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?” (they will for me!) “or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?” (I close and open them at my will); “knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?” Jesus’ answer: Yes, I am from everlasting to everlasting — the same yesterday, today, forever.
With this impressive foundation laid, then, in Job 40 Jehovah moves from creation to salvation: “Wilt thou also disannul my judgment?” (Jesus will affirm and fulfill his Father’s judgment); “wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” To which Jesus replies, I will be condemned, to display God’s righteousness. “Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” Jesus’ answer: Yes, but I will humble myself to my Father and willingly surrender my glory. “Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.”
Ultimately, Job is brought to realize this startling truth: although the trials were not coming upon him because of his sin, he did deserve what was happening! There is absolutely no hint of an apology on God’s part, for all of Job’s terrible pain. Job’s is the only repentance recorded between him and God! In fact, Job was finally brought to this confession:
“I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).
But Jesus, in effect, said to Job: “You deserve what you are suffering, and worse, forever. But I will take your losses, your boils—even God’s forsaking you—upon myself, so that you can go free now, and be freed forever.
By faith, Job was able to “see Jesus’ day” just as Abraham did after him. And by faith Job could truthfully say,
“I know my redeemer” (Job 19:25).
And not only that, but Job also proclaimed, “I know my redeemer lives.”
No matter how bad my circumstances may be—and even if my sickness leads to my death—he lives now and will continue, will stand on the last day that this earth will ever see.
“He will stand!” An implicit claim to victory. And Job is confident that “In my flesh, with my own eyes, I will see God!” Because he lives, because he will stand, I will see God in my flesh, with my own eyes. My redeemer stands (a man), yet my eyes will see none other than God!
Have you, by faith, been blessed to know your Redeemer, that he lives, that he will stand again on the earth, and that he will finally deliver you even after worms have eaten your body in the grave? Nothing else, and no one else, can deliver you now from the trials you are facing, from the death that comes to every human, or from the judgment that will come at that last day. But Job’s sovereign Savior and Redeemer is well able to give you the victory.