Job 33:19-28 – “Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite the choicest food. His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out. His soul draws near the pit, and his life to those who bring death. If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him, and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness. 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.’”
I recently had a conversation with someone where they asked about how the Israelites were saved in the Old Testament? Were they saved by their obedience to the Law? If the Law is sufficient to show us our inability to measure up to God’s holiness, then how could their attempt at obedience bring salvation like they needed? It couldn’t. Their salvation wasn’t given to them because of obedience; it was given to them through their faith in God and God’s plan to grant salvation. The Old Testament is littered with promises of one who would come and would bridge the divide by mediating between God and man so as to reconcile the two parties together. As surprising as it may be, even one of Job’s bad friends named Elihu spoke of our need for a mediator.
Elihu spoke of man’s broken place. “Continual strife in his bones” is how man is described. “His flesh is so wasted away.” Not only is brokenness described, but so is helplessness. If only there could be a mediator to deliver man from his place of helplessness. If only there were a mediator to “deliver him from going down into the pit.” The language of Job 33:26-28 is profound. “Then man prays to God, and he accepts him… He restores to man his righteousness… 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.’” This is the gospel according to the book of Job!
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His plans are perfect. The Scriptures are inspired by God and communicate truth in ways we might be shocked! Who would expect to hear the gospel communicated by a bad friend of Job? The only thing that seems missing in Elihu’s presentation of the gospel is the name of Jesus because the name of the mediator hadn’t yet been revealed.
Jesus Christ is our mediator. He is the one that paid the ransom to God for our sin. He is the one who showed us that we are going down into the pit. He is the one who restores to man our righteousness that we lost at the fall. He is the one who helps us to see that we sinned and perverted what was right. He is the only one who can bridge the gap we have created through our rebellion to God so that our lives can be redeemed. Praise God that because of Jesus Christ’s priestly work, we can be accepted by God and welcomed in as His children!