Follow by Email

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jesus, My Advocate, Who Pleads my Case

May 4, 2015

Job 16

Thinking this morning about pain.  Last week when I had my teeth cleaned and the next day the whole right side of my mouth began aching.  Sometimes the pain would come in waves.  Eating has been difficult as any cold is extremely painful. Chewing seems to aggravate the pain and at times even talking hurts.  Pain killers bring some relief and it doesn't keep me up at night, but pain always wears me out.  

Physical pain seems to make other things in life so much harder to deal with.  Difficult situations now seem to loom as big as mountains I cannot climb.  It becomes almost impossible to stop thinking about myself and the pain.  So I thought about Job, the righteous man of old, who suffered the loss of all things, including the grief of losing all his children.  Maybe that would have been bearable, but then Satan inflicted him with tormenting pain in his body.The final straw was the condemning "comfort" and "help" of his friends.  

Yet in reading Job 16 I saw some things there I had never seen before.  In verse six, Job says:

“Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away.

He can't get away from the pain.  There is no relief

7 Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. 8 You have shriveled me up--and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. 9 God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes. 10 People open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me. 11 God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. 12 All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; 13 his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. 14 Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior. 15 "I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. 16 My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes; 17 yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure. 18 "Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! [Job 16:7-18 NIV]

Job recognizes that God has done this.  We all put the cause of Job's pain in Satan's hand--the work of the enemy.  But we know that God gave Satan permission.  So ultimately it comes from God's hand.  As I read this description of Job's pain, I realized how this could be a prophecy concerning the death of Jesus.  

my gauntness rises up and testifies against me...
God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me...
my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes...
People open their mouths to jeer at me;they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me...
God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked...
All was well with me, but he shattered me;he seized me by the neck and crushed me...
He has made me his target; his archers surround me...
Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground...
My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes; yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure..


Such a description fits the abuse Jesus suffered at the hands of men at his trial and crucifixion.  And like Job, Jesus suffered even though his hands were free of violence and his prayer was pure. Unlike Job, we know that Jesus suffered because of sin, suffered because of my sin and the sin of the whole world.   

But it is what Job says next that amazes me.  

19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. [Job 16:19-21 NIV]

Job says that he has a witness in heaven, an advocate on high.  One who pleads his case before God.  And not only an advocate, but an intercessor; One who is praying for him.  And not only an advocate and intercessor, but also a Friend.  Only the Holy Spirit could write these words of prophecy!  

Later on in chapter nineteen, Job again describes his troubles and it reflects accurately on the sorrow that Jesus would bear. And again Job speaks words of prophecy: 

25 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! [Job 19:25-27 NIV]


So, in the midst of my little, annoying pain, I will remember that I have a Friend in heaven.  He is my Redeemer and He lives!  He is coming again some day to stand on this earth and set all things right. He pleads my case before the Father.  He intercedes for me. He has borne all my pain and sorrow. He took upon Himself all my rejection, all my fear, all my sin and shame.  He was declared guilty so I could go free!  All this He did for me.  

Today, in the midst of my trials and troubles which go beyond the physical pain, I say with the apostle Paul that my light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs all my troubles.2 Cor. 4: 17-18  Nothing is wasted in God's Kingdom, not even a toothache!  Job had hope that His redeemer lived!  He fixed his eyes not on what he saw and felt, but on what was unseen. That is faith!  Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of my faith!  Heb. 12:2  Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. 11:6

I can know that my pain and my trials and my troubles are temporary.  Satan lies to me and says that the pain will never go away.  That I can't get through today.  That the trouble I see around me will ruin lives.  That here is a problem that Jesus can't fix.  That there is no hope; it's been too long, it won't end, it's all my fault, and I have failed.  LIES!  God is achieving for me an eternal glory!
I can even rejoice in my trials and troubles!  I can persevere!  I can ask God for wisdom in how to handle each and every one! James 1 I can keep my thoughts and my eyes on Jesus!  I can stop looking at what I can see and keep my eyes on what I can't see, on the eternal!

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. [2Co 4:17-18 NIV]



Thank you, Father, for this perspective for my day.  Thank for Jesus, who is always the answer to my every prayer.  Thank you for this wonderful Friend, who has redeemed me and who is the pioneer who goes before me and is perfecting my faith!