It seems like all people are anxious to not be forgotten. Sometimes, this anxiety causes us to pursue worldly legacies such as statues, awards, medals, and recognition. But it also may reflect a desire for something of ourselves to live beyond our lifetime. In Job chapters 18 and 19, the ongoing debate between Job and his friends (in this case Bildad) focuses on whether Job will have any sort of legacy.
In chapter 18, Bildad implies that Job will be completely forgotten, and is experiencing (and is destined) for separation from God, because of his sin. He continues to maintain that Job is sinful simply because he is experiencing great suffering. Bildad’s cruel assumptions regarding Job’s destiny is compounded by his error of thinking that the judgment of God is always manifested in the earthly life of people.
Job responds to Bildad in chapter 19 by starting out with a plea for his friend to leave him alone and mind his own business. He then laments his loss of respect and the loss of his legacy. He can’t figure out why this is happening, and concludes that God is unfairly angry with him. But even as he fails to understand God’s purposes and God’s love for him, Job articulates tremendous faith, as he prays that the Lord would provide him the legacy of his words living beyond his lifetime – words of praise to God. And Job expresses the amazing confidence that “my redeemer lives, and at the last, He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has thus been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Job probably doesn’t understand the incredible and prophetic promise he is sharing. Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of Redemption. He indeed walked upon the earth, and willingly gave His life as the atonement for our sin. In doing so, He offers us the hope of seeing God and worshipping Him for all eternity, long after our skin has been destroyed.
Job connects the idea of a legacy with the confidence of a Redeemer. To paraphrase his perspective, Job prays that he will have a lasting legacy because his Redeemer lives!
As we consider how to apply this passage of scripture to our lives, may we take away three important lessons.
- Truth misapplied is no longer Truth. When we fail to understand HOW the truth of God impacts our lives, and the lives of others, we become very poor counselors. Who would emphasize God’s judgment of sin simply because someone is suffering? Who would assume that a man or woman is sinful simply because they are suffering? Bildad did both. And Bildad failed to recognize the difference between eternal punishment and earthly experiences.
- Redemption is an eternal promise. We should not try to claim God’s promises of deliverance to every daily circumstances, or to the suffering we experience day to day. God is indeed our Redeemer, and He gives us great hope for today and tomorrow, but we often have a very rocky road to walk on earth.
redemption is the starting point for a legacy. Nothing will be left of human
legacies except what is provided by God and offered to God through Jesus
Christ. Even Mount Rushmore, and the faces it reflects, will have no legacy in
eternity unless each “face” is offering praise to God through Jesus Christ.
The legacy of godly children and grand-children is a great starting point for many of us. Truthfully, the legacy we should desire is that GOD is the one who is made famous, who is worshipped, by our offspring. And the challenge of leaving a legacy in others is applicable to ALL of us, whether we have offspring of our own or not. God commands all of us (in the Great Commission) to have spiritual children – to impact others in such a way that they grow in their love and in their worship of our Savior. This indeed is a lasting legacy.