I cannot imagine the hardships and suffering of God’s servant, Job. In God’s sovereignty, Job lost everything. His flocks and herds were killed. His servants died, and even his children were taken from him. Job suffered in his own health, as painful sores covered his body (Job 1-2). Furthermore, Job received little support or encouragement from his wife or friends. They seemed determined to blame Job for his troubles, and consistently argued that Job must have done something wrong for God to allow his suffering.
Towards the end of the account of Job’s life, one of his friends, a man named Elihu, spoke up to the group (Job 32:2). In some ways, Elihu was like Job’s other three friends who already shared their thoughts. Elihu was somewhat misguided and assuming in his own wisdom. Yet, this younger friend of Job also shared an interesting hypothetical situation recorded in Job 33:23-28. After vividly illustrating Job’s desperate condition, Elihu said, “If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him, 24 and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; 25 let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; 26 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. 27He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. 28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’”
Elihu wondered before Job and his other friends about a “mediator” who was merciful and able to deliver one from death. He spoke of a paid ransom that would revive an individual from sin to righteousness and darkness to light, allowing for God’s acceptance. Elihu also encouraged a right response to one’s deliverance. He described a man who prays to God, admits and repents of his sin, and sings of his redeemed condition before others.
As human beings before a holy God, our spiritual lives resemble Job’s life. We are desperate and miserable in our own sin, and we suffer seemingly distant from the God who made us. Nonetheless, it is powerful to realize that Elihu’s words are no longer hypothetical! By God’s grace, we have a mediator between us and God, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Through Jesus, we conquer sin’s power and approach God as righteous. Jesus Christ is our ransom (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 9:15). Jesus’ blood paid the full price for our sin so that we can come freely to God. God’s gracious actions on our behalf deliver us from death and restore us into a right relationship with Him.
What is our response to the truth of Jesus Christ? Within his hypothetical situation, Elihu suggested that one delivered in this way would admit his sin, and proclaim God’s saving work in his life. Within the reality of our deliverance, the proper response to Jesus is to admit our sin, live for God and praise Him. After all, through Jesus, our sin-debt is paid, we are rescued from the pit of death, and we can walk in God’s light!