Brethren Archive

A Patriarch's Confession.

by Henry Wingfield Figgis

    Notes of an Address by the Late H. W. FIGGIS.

THE patriarch Job was a Gentile, probably a contemporary of Abraham. Beside the book that bears his name, and tells us of his faith and hope, there are two references to him given in the Bible—one by Ezekiel, in which his righteousness is named (Ezek. xiv. 14), and one by James, in which his faith and patience under trial are mentioned as exemplary. (Jas. v. 11) A glance at Job's faith is given in Job xiii. 15, where, in the midst of his sore trouble, he confesses his confidence in God. Satan asserted that Job's religion was because it benefited him in this world, and that if God took all this from him, he would curse Him. But when calamity after calamity came on his property, his family and his person, he justified God, and confessed his faith in a present God and a future life. He knew he had a living Redeemer (chap. xix. 25), Who in His own time and way would show all the apparent inequalities of the present life to be part of His all-wise plan, and in that life beyond death, their mysteries would be fully explained. His grand confession, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," he wished to be "printed in a book" and "graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock," to be read by coming generations. He knew that what he was saying was true; he had no doubt at all about it. Now, what is his message? It is of a living Redeemer. The word from which our word redeemer comes is Goel, and it means kinsman redeemer, and avenger. In Israel, one had to be a kinsman in order to become redeemer (Lev. xxv. 25), and as kinsman, he had the right to avenge as well as to redeem (Josh. xx. 5). This all pointed on to the Lord Jesus, Who, in His Own person, is at once Kinsman (Heb. ii. 14), Redeemer (1 Pet. i. 19), and will yet be Avenger (Rev. xx. 10) on our great adversary. By His Incarnation at Bethlehem and His redemptive work at Calvary, He has acquired the right to deliver the bodies as well as the souls of His people from the great usurper's power, and to bring them into that glory upon which He has already entered. It was to this far-off day that Job looked forward joyfully. He did not know all that has been revealed in the Word to us of the Word Who became flesh, Who wrought redemption by His death, Who is our hope as risen, and coming, but he knew that he had a Redeemer, living and "whom mine eyes shall behold for myself," as he puts it. And surely, if all this was the hope and the solace of the patriarch of these early times, it ought to be much more so to us to whom redemption has been made known in all its fulness, and the great Redeemer in all His love and power. There is a redemption from all iniquity, and from a vain manner of life, which is present, but the redemption of the body, which Job dimly foresaw, is yet future. In the midst of earth's sorrows, its toils and trials, in the hour when everything is dark and seemingly against us, let us look up, and in a firm, unfaltering faith confess, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," and that because He lives, all must be well with His Own. "The Believer's Magazine" 1916

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