When you hear the doctor say the words, “I’m sorry. This is the part of my job that I hate, but you have cancer” or when you are standing in the ER and hear the words, “Time of death: 7:20 AM”, and the doctor is talking about your two-year old son, you will never be the same. You are forever changed. You have looked death in the face. And let me tell you, it’s scary.
But one of the ways the believer is changed is the hope that this is not the end. This is not the end of us. Or as John Donne wrote,
Death, be not proud,
though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful,
for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st
thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death,
nor yet canst thou kill me.
Did you catch that? Death can’t kill you.
But is this a a consistant concept in the bible? Where do we get this idea of life after death? I am memorizing the words of Jesus in the gospel of Mark and Jesus is clear that there is life after death. Not only does he teach on life after death based on the Book of Moses, he slams the Sadducess, who don’t believe in the resurrection, by saying, “God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are badly mistaken.”
But that’s not the only place. The book of Job, we believe, took place before Moses and in that book, we learn about life after death. But first, a short review in case you didn’t catch Post 1 and Post 2 on worship and suffering.
First, we see that Job is a classic story of how good people suffer even when it doesn’t make sense. When I was diagnosed with cancer, a friend came to visit and said, “I don’t understand why you got cancer. You’ve done everything right and I’ve done everything wrong. I should be the one with cancer.” But it never works like that. Job wrestles with the the issue of how and why good people suffer.
Job us the perfect example of this. Because while people talk about the “patience of Job”. Patience isn’t his strong point. Instead, it is his righteousness. Up until now, Job has suffered and his friends have come and sat with him (a good example of friendship) and then tried to speak for God by explaining why he is suffering (a bad exampled of friendship). But up until now, all the talk has been about God. When God shows up and speaks, suddenly Job is forced to speak directly to God.
Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. [You asked,] ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. [“You said,] ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you…” –Job 42:1
Job sees God. And God also gives him double what he lost to death and destruction. Our pastor actually laid this out…
What did Job have before? Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters. (Job 1:1-2)
And afterwards, God gave him another 10 children. At first, it might seem like God missed something because he doubled all of his wealth and animals. Why not his children?
But he did. God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.
The new 10 plus the 10 in heaven equals 20 children in all! Right there in the Old Testament, in the book of Job, we see a picture of heaven and life after death. For me, that gives me great hope that I will see my son, Silas, in heaven. When people ask me, “How many children do you have?”, I always say, “two”. I have one here on earth and one in heaven. And I can’t wait to see them both together in the new heaven and new earth. That will be a time of reunion, thanksgiving and worship.
As Job says,