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Weekly Word of Encouragement - Job 9:32-33

For he is not a mortal, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no umpire between us, who might lay his hand on us both. – Job 9:32-33

I love that word “umpire.” There are other ways to translate it, such as “arbitrator” or “mediator,” which are very effective, but this year I am reading through the Bible in the NRSV translation and it translates it as “umpire,” as does the old KJV, RSV, and ASB translations.

What does an umpire do? He settles plays in a game that are in dispute and he functions as a go between for the two opposing coaches. At any point in the game, a coach can go to an umpire for an explanation or help on a particular call, or rule in the game.

In the book of Job, we learn of a man who lost everything- his children, livestock, crops, and his health. Furthermore, he felt like there was no umpire to stand between himself and a holy God whose sovereign hand had allowed such tragedy to bring him to his knees. Job needed someone he could go to who could plead his case before God and get relief from his suffering.

The good news of the gospel is that the complaint of Job was soon answered in “the fullness of time” when God the Father sent His eternal Son into the world to take upon himself human flesh so that he could suffer with us by “tasting death for us” on the cross. (Heb. 2:9) The good news of the gospel is that we now have an umpire who bridges the gap between us sinners and a holy God by wrapping His loving arms around us in our greatest hour suffering, so that we will not be alone or lacking in someone who is able to “sympathize with us in our weaknesses.” (Heb. 4:15)

Go to Jesus Christ. He understands, be encouraged!

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