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The Mediator

Job 9:33 

 

"If only there were a mediator who could bring us together, but there is none."(NLT)

Job 16:21 (NLT) "Oh, that someone would mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends." 

In Thompson, Manitoba, Judy Inder is scrambling to find daycare for her grandson, whose daycare center closed abruptly, giving her only 24-hour notice. Inder, the guardian for her grandson pieced together childcare that includes the boy's father, a paid babysitter and a friend. Her patchwork plan is good for one week, but then Inder doesn't know what she is going to do.

Inder isn't alone. Seventy families are without daycare for their children because of the center's closure due a dispute between management and the workers. According to Donna Hopkins, a spokesperson for management, they are paying "90 percent [of revenues] in wages and benefits, which only leaves 10 percent to operate the centre (sic)..." 

The conflict has escalated to the point that management has locked out the workers it looks like further negotiations have stalled until they can find a mediator to help bring the two sides together. (http://winnipeg.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=mb_daycare20040302)

I've been there, haven't you? There have been times when I needed a mediator to help me and someone else get past a problem that was gridlocking our relationship. Though I can't think of many examples where I've needed one in adulthood, can remember many times that my Mother mediated a dispute between me and a sibling. Sometimes she assigned blame, but most of the times, she simply helped us get past our problem to enable reconciliation. Of course, I don't mean to trivialize the problems the good people in British Columbia are having by comparing it to a childhood squabble, but I do know from experience that there are times in life when mediators are necessary.

So did Job.

Job's problem was much more severe that the one's I'm referencing this morning. His argument wasn't with a sibling or with his work-his problem was with God. The common theology in his day was that God played favorites with his creation. He prospered those who honored Him and zapped those who didn't. Because Job lived righteously all his life, he couldn't understand why God wasn't shining His favor on him. Or more to the point, why God was doing quite the opposite. It appeared that God had turned His back on Job all together.

Having read the end of the story, we know Job's suffering was bringing glory to God and was serving an eternal purpose. Yet, even though he didn't know the purpose, Job remained faithful to God. God wasn't picking on Job or punishing him, but God was allowing Job to suffer to prove to Satan that Job's righteousness wasn't connected to God's blessings. In other words, even if God removed His outward blessings from him, Job wouldn't forsake God. 

Yet, at this point in the story, Job felt forsaken. Job wanted to have his hearing before God. He wanted to make the point that he was living righteously, and if he was wrong, he wanted God to tell him he was wrong. 

Job knew he couldn't drag God into court to settle the matter. In Job 9:19 he said, "If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one! And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him?" (NASB) 

Job felt helpless because there was no arena where he would be on an equal footing with God. There is no place where God wouldn't be more powerful and more righteous than Job. 

For that reason, Job cried out for a mediator. "Oh, that someone would mediate between God and me," Job cried out, "as a person mediates between friends." Job 16:21 (NLT) He longed for someone to serve as a "go between" with him and God.

To some degree, that was the role of the priests. They made sacrifices for the sins of the people and asked God to forgive their sins. But Job didn't need a priest who would talk about his sins to God-he needed someone who could talk about his righteousness to God and could interpret God's actions to him.

There were times when Moses mediated between the people and God. According to Psalm 106:23, Moses turned God's wrath away from His people. (NASB) "Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, To turn away His wrath from destroying them." This Psalms is in reference to the day Moses descended from the mountain holding the two tablets on which God inscribed the Ten Commandments. While Moses was communing with God, Aaron led the people to make a golden calf out of the jewelry they brought out of Egypt. God knew of their sin, and told Moses to go down from the mountain to the people because He was going to destroy them and make a great nation out of him instead of them. In Exodus 32:11-14, Moses mediated between God and the people. Let's read the passage from the New Living Translation. "But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God not to do it. 'O Lord!' he exclaimed. 'Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and mighty acts? [12] The Egyptians will say, 'God tricked them into coming to the mountains so he could kill them and wipe them from the face of the earth.' Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you are planning against your people! [13] Remember your covenant with your servants--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You swore by your own self, 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. Yes, I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.' [14] So the Lord withdrew his threat and didn't bring against his people the disaster he had threatened." 

Job longed for a mediator who would plead his case before God like Moses pleaded on behalf of Israel. But he didn't find one, and would not in his lifetime. But we have one. 1 Peter 3:18 says, "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;" (NASB) Sin had separated us from God, leaving a gap between us. At Calvary Jesus bridged the gap between us and God, making a way possible for us to be reconciled to God. Not only did he pay the price for our sins, as we've discussed in previous weeks, He also became our mediator 1 Tim. 2:5-6 says, "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time." (NASB) Or another way to put it, He became our "advocate with the Father." 1 John 2:1-2 says, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; [2] and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (NASB) 

Think about the closing argument our Mediator makes on our behalf. He doesn't tout our righteousness or innocence, but His. "Father," He will say. "Today, Jim Wilson stands before you. I will agree with you that he is a wicked sinner, deserving of hell, but I've come before the throne to plead his case on his behalf. Yes, he is a wicked sinner, but as you knew before the foundation of the world, he accepted me as his Savior and has surrendered his life to me to be his Lord. Therefore, not only should he receive for a full pardon for his sins, but he should recognized as your son and be treated as you treat me."

John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name," (NASB) Just as I know that Jesus will mediate for me, I also know that He will for you too, if you believe on His name. And you too can have the right to be called a child of God.

Jesus will mediate for you, if you will only ask Him to. Won't you pray with me now? With a simple prayer, tell Him that you've sinned and that you're sorry for you sins. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to take them away from you. Tell Him you'll live the rest of your life for Him and that you'll serve Him until your dying day. Tell Him that you are willing to exchange your life for His death. Ask Him to save you.

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