“Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”
Are God’s standards too high? Are God’s expectations impossibly high? “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2b) Give me a break! I’m no saint. How could I EVER be “holy”? Even if I always spoke fairly of God and men, even if I always treated people right, I don’t think I could ever live up to God’s high standards.
That is the thought process of a lot of people who waver on the fence of faith. They go from wanting passionately that closeness with God they see others enjoying, to doubting that anyone ever could experience that closeness and love. Many people give up on God because they can’t see any way they might “qualify” for that exclusive group of holy people who get to experience God’s love and blessings. Yes, there are many who simply refuse to give up the sinful things in their lives that they enjoy, but I think many folks just don’t even try to give up their sinning because they don’t believe they could ever live up to God’s measure of holiness. Why bother trying if you think you’ll never get there?
The good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to hit the high mark of God’s holiness, only have faith in Christ and keep aiming for that mark.
In today’s verse we see that the Lord is telling Job’s friends that in order to redeem themselves from their own lack of true faith, they must let Job intercede for them. What makes a mere human like Job any more qualified? “For I have accepted him,” says the Lord. The literal translation is more like “His face I have lifted up,” which is like saying God has elevated Job to a position where He will listen to what Job has to say. Not that Job has the right to pass judgment on these men, but more that Job has been given the right to speak for these friends of his, to be their voice before the Holy of Holies, to be their high priest before God.
Today, Jesus is the great High Priest for us. Job’s role was a one-time event on behalf of three men, but Jesus’ priesthood is for all men for all time.
24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;
27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
But if Jesus always lives to make intercession for us, does that mean we can just go on sinning? Certainly not! (Romans 6:1-23) There is still the expectation that we should repent as we approach the Cross of Christ, that we should be working out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12-16), so that we do not fall back into a life of lawlessness and sin. As the Lord Jesus instructed us, we should be asking daily forgiveness for our “debts” (or “trespasses” or “sins”, depending on your translation of Matthew 6:12).
The simple truth is that none of us is without sin – no, not one. Only Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, could ever intercede for our fallen race, and so He does. OUR role is to come to the One whose face has been lifted up for all mankind, to keep our eyes fixed upon Him as we run this race called life. (Hebrews 12:1-2) OUR role is to come to the foot of the Cross broken and contrite, with a wholehearted desire to repent, to throw down the sins that have entangled us, for that is a sacrifice God will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
Today, let us present to God all that we have that is holding us back, and give Him the chance to lift up OUR faces. Like Job’s friends, we must follow God’s explicit direction and come to the One who is exalted enough to face God on our behalf. When we come to God in such faith, humility, and reverence, His gentle hand will lift us up, too.
Lord God in heaven, I thank You that You have provided someone to intercede for us. I myself am not worthy to be called a “son of God.” And so I come to You today, O Precious Savior, and I lay down all that I have, my whole burden of sin and shame, so that You, my Lord, will speak for me before our Father. I praise Your Holy Name, Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, my High Priest for all time. Amen.