Explore the Bible Study: Redemption Found

10:04 AM

 

"I'll be there for You" is the theme song for the popular sitcom, "Friends." The song expressed the desire to have friends who would support you no matter what you were facing. The sitcom and the the theme song resonated with audiences for a decade (1994-2004), is still popular in reruns, and a reunion of the Friends cast was recently aired on a popular movie channel. Everyone desires friends who will be there for them when things aren't going well. The Explore the Bible Study: Redemption Found, will examine how friends can either help our hurt you when you are facing unexplained difficulties. Fortunately, a believer has a friend who is closer than a brother and will never leave us or forsake us -- Jesus Christ!

We all know how it feels when someone doesn’t turn out to be the friend we expected them to be. Such was the case with Job. He was surrounded by so-called friends, and yet he experienced the sting of abandonment and loneliness because they turned against him. However, Job realized that, even though his friends had abandoned him, the Lord never would.

Job 19:19-29 follows the dialogue between Job and his three friends—Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar. Job’s friends assumed that he was at fault for his suffering because of sin, and that he needed to repent. Throughout the dialogue, Job insisted he was innocent. He refused to accept their explanation of his predicament, and  would not take responsibility for what they claimed (19:2-6). 

In Job 19:7-18, Job laments his belief that, not only has God utterly rejected him for some reason, but he concludes that his friends, brothers, acquaintances, kinsmen, guests, maidservants, children, and even his wife and family find him repulsive (Job19:17). Throughout the passage he uses other words like abandoned, forgotten, foreigner, scorn, and mock to describe how he believers others view him.

Job's Feelings of Abandonment Escalate - Job 19:19-22

Job was physically emaciated and withered away. His skin was clinging to his bones. Job’s statement in verse 20 is where we get the phrase, “escaping by the skin of my teeth.” Turning to address his friends, Job appealed, “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy.” He asked for their compassion and comfort, not their cutting remarks. Job felt like a hunted animal with nowhere to hide.

The apostle Paul’s words in Romans 12:15 remind us to “weep with those who weep.” True friends are to identify with others in the “ups and downs” of life. Friends should be a healing balm in painful times. People enduring hardships need others to show compassion to them. The reaction of Job’s friends serves as an example of what not to do. 

Job then makes one of the most notable and significant statements in the entire book. While Job probably didn’t realize the eternal significance of his statements, God led him to utter words that pointed to the hope found in the coming of Jesus the Messiah. What’s more significant is that God gave these words to Job after on onslaught of despairing comments. 

Job's Amazing Statement of Faith - Job 19:23-27

The very fact that we are reading Job’s words today indicates that his wish was granted! Job’s wish for his words to be read and preserved for all to see stands as a testament to God’s power to preserve and place the words in the Bible that reveal God’s work and His ways. God knew we needed the words of Job and placed them in His Holy Bible for all mankind to read and study for eternity.

While the words of Job’s suffering, pain, and agony are captured, the most important words are found in verses Job 19:25-27!

But I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the end he will stand on the dust. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. I will see Him myself; my eyes will look at Him, and not as a stranger. My heart longs within me. (CSB)

With a burst of renewed faith in God, Job asserted, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” In the face of his own approaching death, Job believed that God, his Redeemer, would eventually vindicate him and redeem him out of bondage. Jesus is the Redeemer Job sought in these verses. 

A Warning to Job's "Friends" - Job 19:28-29

Job basically stated that the divine wrath they said he deserved would actually come to them if they were wrong with their assessment. Once this divine wrath came to the three counselors, Job warns them they would then truly know what divine judgement is.

When Jobs friends, family, and community turned away from him and accused him of being the culprit in the problems he was experiencing, he had a decision to make. He could become bitter and angry, or he could turn and trust God and God alone. He turned to God and God reassured Job that his Redeemer lives and that he will one day stand in His presence completely whole again. This gave Job the strength to stand confidently in the Lord and to even warn of judgment to those who don’t demonstrate compassion but exercise judgement that isn’t theirs to give.

What About You?

When you face difficulties, sickness, or some other debilitating circumstances are you strong enough in your faith to say as Job did, “I know my Redeemer lives . . . I will see Him myself; my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger”?  If not, what needs to change?

The Explore the Bible Daily Discipleship Guide (p.32) and the Personal Study Guide (p.36) provides a challenge we should all consider: Who do you know who is facing a challenging time? What actions do you need to take this week to show them compassion? 

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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