Job 17:3 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
Who else will put up security for me?
I chose this verse to write on because I’ve long been convinced that God never asks anything of us that He doesn’t supply, but the first half of this verse is very different in the NIV and the Japanese. In Japanese it says, “Place my guarantor close to you.” That still agrees with the idea of God supplying our needs, but it’s very different to talk about a person, guarantor, as opposed to a pledge, collateral. In either case, Job still clings to God alone. This chapter succinctly expresses Job’s disgust with his friends. The depth of his despair is expressed in verse 15: “Where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me?” (Incidentally, the NIV and the Japanese are identical for that verse.) Going back to verse three, Job didn’t know that his Guarantor’s name was Jesus, and that He couldn’t get any closer to the Father because they were parts of the same Trinity. The whole idea of a guarantor appears several times throughout the Old Testament, but the ultimate fulfillment is, of course, Jesus. Paul expressed that several times, famously to the Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Actually, he couldn’t stop talking about it! To the Corinthians he wrote, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) In Romans he talked about it a lot, but you get the picture. The whole point of the Gospel is that we need salvation but we can’t save ourselves, so God provided His Son to be our Guarantor, to take our place, so that we might be delivered from the total unworthiness of our sin and brought into eternal fellowship with Him. The more we understand it, the better that news becomes!
I have been a guarantor a few times, mostly in relation to people renting apartments without a credit history, but I had a memorable experience of needing a guarantor and it being provided. When we built this building, various unforeseen circumstances caused us to run out of money before it was completed. We hadn’t borrowed money from a bank because we thought we had enough, but that turned out not to be the case. The head of one of the companies involved in the construction told me to draw up a payment plan for each of the companies involved and present it to them, which I did. Three companies accepted my plan on the basis of my word, but the largest, to which we owed the most money, said they would agree only with a guarantor. I went to a doctor friend, and he very graciously agreed without hesitation. The construction company was impressed! I’m grateful to say that all of those payment plans were fulfilled on schedule, or even ahead of schedule, and the experience is one I’ll never forget. The thing is, that doesn’t begin to touch what Jesus did for me, and I must never forget that, either. I must never forget my eternal debt to Him, and live in joyful gratitude that He paid it all.
Father, thank You for Your incredible grace toward us Your children. Help me be an effective communicator of that grace to all I encounter, so that as many as will may repent and believe for their own salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!