The Works of

Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee

7 March

Will man’s remembrance perish from the Earth?

Job 18:15-17

‘The answered Bildad…: “His (Job’s) confidence…shall dwell in His tabernacle. His roots shall be dried up beneath — and above, shall his branch be cut off. His remembrance shall perish from the Earth!’ Job 18:1,15-17.

Job’s confidence would dwell in God’s tabernacle! But would Job’s remembrance indeed perish from the Earth? No!

In his Institutes II:11:2, Calvin assures us: “Those who can venture to speak…, assuredly declare that their hope rises beyond the world and worldly blessings…. In this way, are to be understood the many passages in Job (18:17).”

Yes, his root would be dried up beneath, and his branches would wither above (18:16). His remembrance would perish from the land (18:17). But Job himself would never be annihilated!

Bildad concluded: ‘This is the place of him who does not know God’ (18:21). But on the other hand, Job did!

Death itself was called ‘the king of terrors’ (Job 18:14). It seemed to have brought a disease on Job, which looked fatal.

But it could not go further, than to bring him only to the brink of the abyss. For Job himself, and even his friends, traced that mysterious affliction not to Satan, but directly back to God.

Death is represented under the figure of a plant. ‘Its roots shall be dried up beneath — and above, its branch shall be cut off’ (Job 18:16). To Biblical comparisons taken from plants, root and branch often became familiar in the sense of ancestors and descendants. This became common not in hopeless Pagan but in hopeful Christian circles, with their faith in the resurrection.

For Christians not only pin their hopes on the resurrection and their lives therebeyond. But they also know that part of the immortality of the righteous is also found in the continuance of his posterity and his works in this world, even before its everlasting preservation on the New Earth.

In reality, Job is not an example of punishment — but an example for consolation to posterity. What posterity has to relate, is not Job’s ruin — but his wondrous deliverance.

Job is no mere personification. He has, in himself, brought forth to view an idea connected with the history of redemption.

Will man’s remembrance perish from the Earth? No. For in Job, we behold the image of Christ. As his answer to Bildad, in the next chapter, abundantly makes clear!