Gospel Words

Not sure, exactly, what the kid was thinking . . . or exactly what he meant by his words . . . but he was getting closer.

The younger man had heard enough. Don’t know just how long he had been listening to the verbal tennis match between Job and his “friends,” but when it seemed that both sides were done, Elihu, the son of Barachel, the Buzite, could contain himself no longer. And the divine record says that he burned with anger. “He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger also at Jobs three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong” (Job 32:2-3 ESV).

And so Elihu, the kid, respectfully, yet passionately, wades into the debate. And he says something, recorded in Job 33, that sounds like gospel words.

He speaks of a man whose “soul draws near the pit, and his life to those who bring death” but is spared because of mercy and is delivered because a ransom is found (33:22-24). And the man’s response to such mercy?

He sings before men and says: “I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.”   (Job 33:27-28 ESV)

Again, I don’t know exactly what Elihu was thinking of when he conceived of a ransom being paid. Some would say that Elihu viewed Job’s calamity — his lose of material possessions, his loss of children, the loss of his physical health — as being the ransom that needed to paid for his unrighteousness. And that by such a payment for his sin, God could restore “to man his righteousness.”

Regardless of what he had in mind, the God-breathed record of his argument contain words which foreshadowed something Elihu could not even have imagined. And, though he may have been “striking out” theologically with what he was thinking, he was in the ballpark with what he was saying. A ransom needed for redemption . . . mercy shown and sin not repaid . . . deliverance from the pit and entrance into the light. Them’s gospel words!

Scattered through such ancient records, are such hints of God’s redemptive plan. A plan that, on “this side” of history, we can understand, to a degree, because of the Spirit’s illuminating work of revelation. The ransom being nothing that a man could ever pay for his sin. Instead, God gave His everything, His beloved Son, to pay the wages of sin. Man’s redemption made possible by Immanuel, God come in flesh. The Savior born that the Lamb of God might die to take away the sins of the world.

Thus, with payment made in full, God is just in His mercy as he need not require payment for my sin from me — though, sorry Elihu, nothing that I could give or suffer would be sufficient ransom for my transgression — because Jesus paid the price in full. That’s grace! And it’s not so that He could restore my righteousness to me (that account is empty), but that He would impute Christ’s righteousness to my account. That’s amazing grace!

And “my life shall look upon the light.” The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2Cor. 4:4) . . . Jesus, the Light of the world (John 8:12) . . .

Again, not sure exactly what the kid was thinkin’ . . . but he was getting closer . . . with his gospel words.

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.   (2Corinthians 4:5-6 ESV)


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