Chapter 16:18-17:3 (ESV) - O earth, cover not my blood,
and let my cry find no resting place.
Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
and he who testifies for me is on high.
My friends scorn me;
my eye pours out tears to God,
that he would argue the case of a man with God,
as a son of man does with his neighbor.
For when a few years have come
I shall go the way from which I shall not return.
My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;
the graveyard is ready for me.
Surely there are mockers about me,
and my eye dwells on their provocation.
Lay down a pledge for me with you;
who is there who will put up security for me?
Question to consider: How do you think Job knew about a heavenly “son of man” who would advocate for him?
It’s important to remember that this book was written hundreds of years before Moses by an Edomite— a descendant of Esau, and yet Job still wrote of having his blood cry out from the ground. If that reference seems familiar to you, it is because that was God’s description of the blood of Abel after Cain’s act of murder. With the statement, Job was crying out to God to be a witness on his behalf that he was not the wicked man portrayed by those who mocked him.
Remember that the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses after Israel was freed from Egypt. Maybe it was an idiomatic expression for justice used in both eras, or maybe the oral tradition of Abel’s murder was still being passed down through the generations at the time of Job. By the time Moses received the Law from God on the mountain, Israel needed to be re-taught this history.
Since Job was scorned by his friends, he sought a heavenly advocate who could argue his case like a son of man. Job understood that his days on earth were numbered. There was no getting around the fact that he would one day die, but he was asking for one who would secure his place before God.
Yesterday, I wrote about Job being a type and shadow of Christ in His suffering. It’s good to remember that everyone throughout scripture who stood as a type and shadow of Christ also needed Christ for their own salvation. Jonah’s time in the belly of the fish and deliverance was a type for Christ’s death and resurrection, and yet Jonah still recognized that the Lord was his salvation.
The remarkable thing about Job was that though he knew he needed an advocate from a fellow “son of man” who was holy enough to stand as his surety and advocate his case before God, there had been no formal revelation of Christ other than the promise that an offspring of Eve would crush the serpent (Genesis 3:15) and the promise to Abraham that his offspring would be a blessing to the nations. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)
Throughout scripture, it was not peoples' good works that made them righteous, but faith in God and all of His promises. When we consider the righteousness of Job, it was not because of his own perfect works but because of his faith in God even in the midst of such terrible suffering, a faith that was established by what he heard since the book of Genesis had not yet been written down.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for providing Your written word and Your Spirit to help us know and understand it. Thank You for sending Christ to be our advocate with You and our security and pledge for life in Your eternal kingdom. Amen.