“But I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the end he will stand on the dust. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh.” (Job 19:25, CSB)
Through the Bible: Job 17-20
Usually when I read Job 19:25, I hear Handel’s Messiah in my head, and I’m filled with hope and confidence that one day Jesus will return and stand in the latter day upon the earth. But I noticed something different this morning that took me in a different, but no less hopeful, direction:
There is an alternate translation to “upon the earth” that the CSB picks up on and no other English translation: “and at the end He will stand on the dust.”
The Hebrew is ha ‘aphar. It means dust, dry earth. It’s what God made Adam out of in Genesis 2. When God pronounced judgment on Adam after the Fall, He said, “Dust thou art and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19). Ha ‘aphar.
So here’s Job, in so much pain that he is ready to die and return to dust. And he says “in the end, my Redeemer will stand on the dust. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”
There’s a different word for “the earth.” It’s ha ‘erets, and that’s the word that refers either to land or to the planet Earth. In the beginning God created the heavens and ha ‘erets (the earth). ” (Fun Fact: if you go to Israel, you can pick up a copy of the National Israeli newspaper, Ha”Erets).
So, I don’t know that Job 19:25 is necessarily looking toward the end of all time and the return of Jesus. I think its closer to home than that. Job knows that when he returns to dust, God will be standing with him, among the dust of his earthly life, and Job will see God in his flesh.
And there’s one more beautiful nuance in verse 26, when Job says, “Even after my skin is destroyed I will behold God in my flesh.” Just like thee different words for dust and earth, skin and flesh are also two different words in Hebrew. Skin is the physical stuff. It’s Job’s hide. But “flesh” is Job’s person. It’s Job’s self. It’s Job as he essentially is.
So when our hide goes back to dust, God will be standing with us, and we will see Him. We will experience God in our flesh—at the core of who we essentially are. Wow.
Praise God that I don’t have to wait until the end of history to see God standing on the earth. In my darkest days, when my flesh is failing, when the world is crumbling to dust around me, I will see my Redeemer, standing on the dust, saying to me with all that He is, “Your Redeemer lives.”
“And my precious child, you live also.