Job’s Hope of Resurrection
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”- Job 19:25–27
Most of the book of Job consists of dialogues between Job and his friends in which they claim that his suffering must be due to his specific, personal sin, and he answers that he is blameless. From chapters 3 through 19, Job vacillates from despair to the hope of vindication, and though he never denies that God is his God and rightfully sovereign over him, some of what he says, we have seen, implicitly questions the Lord’s wisdom and goodness.
Though doubting our Creator’s goodness and wisdom is a manifestation of sin, we know with certainty that such doubt was not the reason why Job suffered. After all, it was his suffering that prompted such doubt in the first place. Moreover, though Job evidenced doubt early on, his overall trajectory was one of faith and confidence that God would finally show him to be in the right. This hope allowed Job to persevere and to receive the Lord’s commendation (42:8). It is with good reason that James 5:11 holds up Job as an exemplar of steadfastness in this fallen world.
Today’s passage gives us the strongest evidence of Job’s trust in the Lord and in his ultimate vindication. In words that resonate with confident assurance, Job expresses a clear hope in the resurrection of the dead. Despite having implicitly called God’s goodness into question by stating that even righteous men cannot plead their case before Him (Job 9), Job cannot bring Himself to deny what He knows to be true—that the Lord is perfectly just and will right all wrongs. But as he is an upright man who experiences suffering, Job begins to see that the Lord’s righteousness does require a final reckoning after the grave. Job’s innocence must be vindicated, and the fact that there is little hope that it will happen in his lifetime does not mean the Lord is overlooking him. Job’s vindication must occur even if he dies before it happens. This necessitates resurrection and final judgment. The Lord of all the earth will—He must—do right (Gen. 18:25). Only if there is life after death can this truth about the Lord be borne out. If there is life after death, all those who seem to go without vindication now will certainly experience it then.
Job, therefore, looks forward to his resurrection—to being restored to the land of the living after his death and to seeing the Lord. That remains our hope as well. Matthew Henry comments, “It is the blessedness of the blessed that they shall see God, shall see him as he is, see him face to face, and no longer through a glass darkly.”
When it looks as if injustice will prevail and we will never be vindicated for serving the Lord faithfully, the sure hope of resurrection and judgment remind us that all will be set right. We can look forward with assurance that God will reward His servants and punish all those who remain impenitent in their sin. Let us look forward to the great day of resurrection with the full assurance that our Creator will keep all of His promises.
Passages for Further Study
1 Corinthians 15:12–58