Martin Luther challenged the church of his day in areas including salvation by faith (not works), Christian freedom, the sacraments, and the authority of the Bible. Ordered to change his views at a church council in 1521, he responded: “Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning . . . then I cannot and will not recant.” He is then said to have added, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me!”
Job’s words in today’s passage are likewise his “Here I stand.” Throughout the book, he had been suffering without understanding why. His so-called friends, believing it was because of sin, had relentlessly accused and attacked him (vv. 21–22). Job wanted his words recorded so that he could be vindicated in the future (vv. 23–24). He didn’t know how long he might wait, but he firmly believed God Himself would ultimately act as his “redeemer” and defend him (vv. 25–27). He put his hope in, and took his stand on, God alone.
Like many biblical statements of faith, these words mean more than even Job knew. Our Redeemer has indeed stood upon the earth, incarnated as a human being. Death is indeed not the end—there is justice and salvation and life and God’s love beyond the grave (see Phil. 1:21)!
That Job could speak these words is evidence of God’s grace. There is no way he could have known such truths on his own, so God must have given him special insight. Despite his horrific circumstances and what appeared to be impending death, Job continued to trust in the Lord and to wait for His love and grace. And in this moment, in these verses, though the waiting wasn’t finished, God’s grace met him!
Believers have understood verse 25 to point toward Jesus and to hint at His resurrection. One of the most beautiful musical expressions of this verse is found in Handel’s Messiah, as a soprano sings, “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Part 3, #45). Find time soon to listen to this section of the Messiah—or perhaps the entire masterpiece!