Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high. - Job 16:19
In chapter 16 of the book of Job, Job is in a terrible spot. He’s suffering greater than most of us could bear. His friends are now standing by his side condemning him for his lack of faith, his sin, and a hundred other reasons they can think of that they are certain has led to this suffering. Job finds himself family-less, friend-less, health-less, money-less, respect-less, and everything else-less. He has nothing. But he has God.
The reason Job can endure the suffering is because he knows who God is. Therefore, he knows himself. The Lord calls him blameless in chapter 1. Of course Job can’t be blameless according to the law because no one is. So how is he blameless? I think Job 16:19 tells us how. In the aftermath of the assault on his character at the hands of his friends, Job comforts himself by asserting that he has One who stand for him in heaven. While all the evidence seems contradictory, his faith tells him that God is for him, not against him – “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.”
Job understands the gospel of grace. In the midst of his deep suffering, when he had nothing else, when everything he’d known had been taken from him, he didn’t turn against God. He didn’t blame God. His suffering didn’t cause him to abandon his faith but rather served to strengthen it. When no one else was for him, Job looked to the heavens and saw a mighty God standing as witness to his suffering and testifying to the grace that he had poured out on him that indeed made him blameless. Job wasn’t a sinless man. No one outside of Jesus can ever attain that. But Job was a faithful man of God and that faith in the goodness and glory of God sustained him when all else was failing.
This verse foreshadows what all believers would later be able to claim in the person and work of Jesus. Job probably didn’t know Jesus’ name. But that doesn’t mean that Jesus wasn’t that witness in heaven. It doesn’t mean Jesus didn’t stand before the congregation in heaven and sing his praise. Jesus wasn’t ashamed to call Job his brother. Jesus is the very reason for Job’s blamelessness. The author of Hebrews affirms it for us when he says, “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need.”
Let all those who suffer cling to Christ as their defender. Let all those who suffer cling to Christ as their witness. Let all those who suffer cling to Christ as their Great High Priest. He is sympathetic to our needs. He understands. When all else fails, when everything and everyone has let you down, when life is absolutely killing you, cling to Jesus and through him draw near to God. We are blameless because our Savior died on a cross to save us from our sinful guilt and gave his blamelessness to us. Job’s position in God’s sight didn’t change as he went from prosperous to destitute to prosperous again but rather stayed in his grace and found himself justified in God’s sight because of his Great High Priest. O, praise Him!