For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.
Job 9:32-33 ESV
Anyone familiar with the story of Job knows that for period of his life it was pure misery. He had lost his entire family, besides his wife, and his body was riddled with pain. The quote from earlier comes on the heels of Job’s friends rebuking him and accusing him of sin. He’s being prosecuted by those close to him and labeled as guilty for his own misfortune. The problem with this is the God Himself had labeled Job as a righteous man earlier in the book. Here are the opening words of the story:
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
Job 1:1 ESV
Job tried to state his case several times to his friends, but they refused to listen. They tried to explain their view of who God was and why Job’s circumstances had to be due to him being at fault. Job’s friends, however, had not be privy to information that you and me are…Job was under the assault of Satan himself (refer to the rest of Job chapter one).
Bildad, one of Job’s companions, prompted Job to go before God and state his case to Him. Job wasn’t having any of it. In a direct rebuttal, Job proclaims a somewhat misunderstood view of God’s relationship to man. Much of what Job says is true, but he doesn’t clearly grasp Who God is or how He wants to relate to His creation. This ultimately leads to God rebuking Job and his friends later in the book. His blurred view of God becomes pretty clear in chapter nine when he says that there is no arbiter who can bridge the gap between man and God. Through Job’s misconception (which is not his fault because he was operating with limited knowledge from time and space) he makes a prophetic statement about God’s plan for His Messiah.
An arbiter is a mediator. According to the dictionary, an arbiter is, “a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter.” That is a great representation for who the Messiah is. On one hand, what Job says is true. No man can fill the role of arbiter. The only one who could lay hands on both man and God, would have to be God Himself. This is another one of the many prophecies of the Old Testament that made it clear that the Messiah had to be both man and God.
First of all, then, I [Paul] urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2:1-6 ESV [my emphasis]
Jesus solved Job’s conundrum. Jesus bridges the gap. He is both man and God. He is the Arbiter, because as the dictionary says, He has full authority in the matter of humanity’s salvation. No one supersedes Him. Before you say, “wait a minute, this passage says Jesus was a man and says nothing about Him being God. Isn’t that a contradiction to what you were saying earlier?” Not at all. Check out this passage from John chapter 10:
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:28-30 NIV
God is complex. By extension, so is the Messiah. No man could ever fill the role of Messiah because every human down through the ages are the same…we’re all fallen and imperfect creatures who fall vastly short of the glory of God. The Messiah had to be unique, set apart, and a one of a kind. Enter Jesus, who is both God and Man. He is the Bridge. He is the Arbiter.
For you and me, our enemy is the exact same as Job’s. We all have someone who is trying to blind us to reality, who is trying to make us consumed by our own goals, grief, and desires. Our enemy wants us to not know Who God is or that we have a way to be directly linked with Him. That is the beauty of the Messiah. He is someone who can connect a broken person with a Perfectly Holy God. You and me friend, have access to that loving Messiah…to Jesus. We can come boldly to the throne of God because of love…because of Jesus.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 ESV
2 thoughts on “Arbiter”
Praise our God for making His word to become flesh and dwell among us and do what no human could! So thankful for our Messiah Jesus!