8 April • Holy Saturday
21 Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for
the hand of God has touched me!
22 Why do you, like God, pursue me?
Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?
23 “Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet
in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
Many friends who pay attention to market trends share their nightmare when facing the economic crisis: there is only the worst! However, is the dilemma faced by individuals, families or companies the most desperate situation of life?
Job lost his property and possessions overnight, his family was destroyed, his family deserted, and he became seriously ill (Job 1—2). Job’s breath became strange to his wife (Job 19:17), and even young children despised him (Job 19:18a). In addition, his former close friends and confidantes turned against him (Job 19:13-14). For many people, what could be worse than such a predicament?
Job, who suffered a lot, made us realise the deeper hope in suffering. Job didn’t expect the situation to improve, but faced the three friends who misunderstood and blamed him (v.21), and the God who was misinterpreted in their mouths—the One who attacked and persecuted Job with His hands and was not satisfied with his flesh (v.22).
What people need to do in pain is to accept the fact of suffering and admit their present vulnerability.
Job faced the unjust accusations and grievances and bravely recorded them down—“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!” (v.23-24). This action illustrated his steadfast faith in the righteous God who will eventually vindicate and rehabilitate him (Job 19:28-29).
In the face of injustice and persecution, people should stand by God’s side, do the right thing according to justice, and truly respond to the accusations of distortion and error. In the end, He will vindicate you.
At the end of his life: when his skin had been destroyed and heart weak within him (v.26-27), Job still firmly believed in three things: first, his redeemer lives (v.25); second, after his death (outside the flesh) he shall see God (v.26); third, he will see the Lord with his own eyes and enjoy close fellowship with the Lord (v.27).
When people come to the end of the road, they have the opportunity to experience the deepest lesson of faith—the hope of coming back from the dead and the new vitality of uniting with the Lord.
This kind of faith from death to life is what Jesus’ disciples witnessed: I believed, and so I spoke, we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence (2 Corinthians 4:13b-14).
Loving and righteous Lord, I am willing to admit my vulnerability in hardship, obey the Holy Spirit, and bravely state my grievances. I trust our heavenly Father, and experience the peace and joy of uniting with the Son Jesus Christ.
My hardship is ... the injustice that I want to state before the Lord is ... My acceptance of the Lord’s promise is ... (suggestion: I can also pray for the suffering believers.)
Rev Dr Clement Chia
Singapore Bible College
(Source: Translated from Chinese Lenten Devotions 2023)