Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23- The Mediator

August 23, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Job 8:1-11:20; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28;
Psalm 38:1-22; Proverbs 21:28-29

Nothing is more indispensable to true religiosity than a mediator that links us with divinity. 

Job 8:1-11:20

I once knew a woman who was in law school.  After studying the law and contemplating becoming the person who would initiate conflicts with others including  Christians, she thought about taking her legal knowledge and becoming a mediator.  The role of a mediator is to bring two parties together to settle a dispute in order to prevent going to court over the conflict.  My friend anticipated being a peacemaker, rather than a person who files lawsuits.  Today, Job feels he is suffering because something has put him in conflict with God.  He realizes that he is at a great disadvantage in this perceived fight.  Sick of suffering and unable to communicate with an invisible foe, Job cries out for a mediator.

Can you imagine losing all of your material possessions, having all of your children die in one day, being afflicted with an illness that is going to kill you, and then having your friends come over to comfort you and instead, they end up telling you that you are a liar who has obviously got some secret sin that has caused you to be in this situation?  This is the predicament in which Job finds himself. 

In his day and age, people would gather for intellectual discourse.  It was a form of sport, kind of like watching a basketball game, only they would watch smart people eloquently discuss a topic and bring up good points.  The participants would try to out think and out speak each other.  We don't do that nowadays.  Occasionally on television, one will see political debate or religious debate, but for the most part, we do not get much intelligent discourse on the large issues that face mankind.

Job's friends are debaters and thinkers.  It's too bad that they are not more kind and compassionate.  Today, Job's friend, Bildad, speaks.  There is probably a crowd gathered, as it seems that Bildad gets progressively meaner.  Bildad accuses Job of going on like a blustering wind.  He basically calls Job a wind bag.  Nice. Then, he hits below the belt when he claims that Job's children probably died because they sinned against God and they deserved it. Wow.  Thanks for coming over, Bildad.  It is much appreciated.

Bildad hasn't thought through the issue.  We have all sinned against God and we all deserve death. Bildad is not aware of this fact.  He has not put two and two together. He then waxes eloquent about how the godless seem to prosper, but in the end they are destroyed.  He is implying that this is the case for Job and his children.  So, he is proposing that Job is godless.  Bildad argues that God doesn't reject a person of integrity.  Job, therefore, must not be a person of integrity. Also, evil doers do not prosper.  So, Job must be an evil doer. Once again, Bildad is incorrect.  Plenty of evil doers do prosper on this earth.  We have all witnessed this.

Job responds to his friend with tolerance.  He asks a very pertinent question, "How can a person be declared innocent in the eyes of God?"  Job explains that if you wanted to take God to court, you could not challenge Him successfully. Job launches into an exquisite speech on God's position as Creator of the Universe.  And, Job laments that God is invisible to mankind. Job states that God moves and we do not see Him go.  He is also all powerful and we are powerless to stop Him.  Job declares his innocence before God and claims that God is attacking him without reason.  Job still has some things to learn at this point.

Job would like to have a trial where the justice of his suffering could be examined.  He knows he would lose in court, so he finally cries out for a mediator.  With a mediator, Job could speak to God without fear.  Job is a wise man.  He understands his need before a Holy God.  Job is crying out for the Messiah.  Job senses that he has a broken relationship with the Creator.  He realizes that he needs a man/God, who can relate to his sorrow and suffering.  A man who could approach the Holiness of God without dying.  This man is Jesus, and Job's desire to have this Man as a mediator is an act of faith. 

Do you see that Job's suffering has brought him to a realization that he is in need of a
Savior?  Has your suffering ever caused you to seek God and Jesus?

Job is embittered and accuses God of creating him knowing that he would sin, and then God could punish him without forgiving him of his sins.  Job is getting quite cynical as he suffers. He asks the question of why God would bother to create a person just to see him suffer for unforgiven sins.

This time, Zophar steps up to put a verbal sword into Job's suffering heart.  He joins the chorus of people who are telling Job that none of this would be happening to him if he would lift up his hands in prayer and get rid of his sins.  Zophar claims that Job's faith could heal him.  Have you heard this claim in our modern day?  Whatever you think and believe can change your reality.  This teaching is as old as the hills, but it is incorrect.  None of these men is aware of God's meetings with the angels and Satan.  They are unaware of what has gone on in the spirit world. God is allowing Job to be tested for His own purposes.  It is not tied to Job's behavior, Job's unforgiven sins, or Job's faith.  These men have it wrong.

Lessons:  Be careful presuming to know why suffering happens on this earth.  Watch how you comfort friends when they are suffering.  Go to the true Mediator, Jesus Christ, to have your broken relationship with God fixed. 

1 Corinthians 15:1-28

Today, Paul explains the Good News of the gospel to the Corinthians.  It is an explanation of exactly what Job was desiring.  Jesus Christ is our mediator.  He died for our sins.  But, this was not the end of the sacrifice, because after being buried, Christ rose from the dead.  Paul explains that Peter, the apostles, 500 witnesses, and even Paul, himself, have seen the risen Christ.  This is not a spiritual resurrection, it is a bodily resurrection. 

Paul explains that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is key to the Christian faith.  It is the power of God to restore us to life, so that we can live with God forever.  Here is a key verse that we should all be familiar with 1 Corinthians 15:21,
"So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, Adam, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man, Christ."
Paul explains that everyone dies because we are related to Adam, who sinned and brought death. But everyone who is related to Christ, the other man, will be given new life.  This is the completed promise to Eve in the Garden.  This is how the Serpent (Satan) is defeated by the Child (Jesus). 

Jesus will reign on earth until all of his enemies are defeated, and finally, the enemy of death will be defeated.  Jesus has the authority to end death in human beings.  That is what will eventually happen.  The end of the story is Christ presenting himself victorious to God the Father, who will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere, because when He gave His Son authority, His Son accomplished what needed to be done.

Do you understand God's purposes now?  This is His Story.

Are you sure that you will live forever with God?  Has Christ become your Mediator?

Psalm 38:1-22

Here is a psalm that Job could have easily cried out to God.

Proverbs 21:28-29

Job's friends are false witnesses.  The Apostle Paul is a true witness.

What did you learn today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton
© 2011