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Our Redeemer

For I know that my vindicator lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25 NRSVUE

Though I don't remember watching Perry Mason when it was aired originally, I think I've seen every episode on reruns, and it has created a love of courtroom dramas for me. I'm not alone in this; each year, Hollywood cranks out another new show or movie about courtrooms. For those who have lots of free time, there's even Court TV.

The Book of Job is a courtroom drama. We won't look at the entire book today but concentrate on the two characters, our protagonist, Job, and his "comforter/friend," Bildad, who plays the role of a bad character witness. Not the sort of witness you'd want to put on the stand in your defense. Bildad, in response to Job's suffering, first tells him to repent (Job 8). Not one to be swayed by Job's circumstances and pleas, nor willing to change his view of the reasoning, Bildad tells Job surely he must have done something wicked because God is punishing him (Job 18).

In response, Job introduces a new character into the drama, the vindicator or Redeemer, translated as "Goel." The goel played an essential role in Old Testament jurisprudence. Merriam-Webster defines the word as "a next of kin upon whom according to ancient Hebrew custom devolved certain family rights and duties including the avenging of a murdered kin's blood and the redemption of the person or property of a relative in debt or helpless circumstances."

Job, though still unclear about the reason for his suffering, is confident that God would act as his goel. His Redeemer was more than a spiritual ideal but a living presence who would take human form. He saw what would come in Jesus Christ, our goel, our next of kin, who came to rescue us from our helpless state.

Father God, like Job, we often do not understand the suffering around us, but we know where to turn. In your mercy and grace, you sent Jesus Christ as our Redeemer, and we give you thanks. We know that Christ will come again. Until then, may we walk with the Holy Spirit and remain steadfast in our faith. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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