Is there no hope?
Solomon, who was rich, powerful and wise, understood that there is no hope in things of this world: For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope (1 Chronicles 19:15).
After experiencing all worldly advantages, he concludes: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
There are beautiful aspects of life, but life is so fleeting. As Job says: My days are swifter than a weavers shuttle, and are spent without hope (Job 7:6).
When Job said this, he had lost everything.
Job had been the richest man in the East (Job 1:3). He had more than ten thousand animals: sheep, camels, oxen and donkeys. On one day he lost them all by fire and raiders, and most of his servants were murdered (Job 1:13-17).
What can be more devastating than the loss of a child? That same day, Jobs seven sons and three daughters were killed by a powerful wind that caused the house where they were to collapse (Job 1:19).
Then, after a while, Jobs whole body was covered with painful boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head (Job 2:7).
The one person who, come what may, should have comforted him, his wife, said to him: Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die! (Job 2:9).
He was visited by three friends who claimed that these calamities were punishment from God because of hidden sin.
What prospects did Job have? Little wonder that he said: My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me. ... Where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it? (Job 17:1, 15).
What kind of man was Job? Were his so-called friends right when they claimed that he was being punished by God?
No, Job was an upright man. God Himself had testified, there is none like him on the earth, a blameless man, one who fears God and shuns evil (Job 1:8). The suffering of Job was not a punishment from God but an attack by Satan.
God allowed Job to be purified by suffering, as silver is purged in the fire (compare with Proverbs 17:3 and Isaiah 48:10).
Desiring to know why God allowed him to suffer, Job felt the need for a mediator: For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both (Job 9:32, 33).
Even though his situation was hopeless, Job entrusted his soul to God who was his only hope.
The light of revelation breaks through dimly at first in the form of a question, and finally shines forth as a mighty declaration of faith.
First the question: If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes. You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands (Job 14:14, 15).
Then the declaration of faith: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27).
Through this ordeal Job gained insight and a better understanding of God: I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. ... I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You (Job 42:2, 5).
Right before Job proclaimed his faith in his Redeemer, he said: Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever (Job 19:23, 24).
They were written, they were inscribed in a book, countless copies have been reproduced by printing presses, and now his words can be read by millions in the whole world via the Internet.
The faith and perseverance of Job have encouraged countless people through the ages.
Job knew that his Redeemer lives. We also know that mans Redeemer lives because some 2000 years later, and some 2000 years before our time, the Savior and Mediator for whom Job longed, came from the loving Father to give hope to the hopeless.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Titus 4:11-14).
Yes, in Christ there is hope.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:1-5).
Because our Redeemer lives forevermore, we have hope even in suffering. He suffered for us, so we are willing to suffer for Him.
Job was a type of the suffering servant of God, the Christ, of whom we read: Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed (1 Peter 2:21-24).
Paul wrote: I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:24-27).
Getting-old does not cause us to lose our hope. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Even death does not extinguish our hope. But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14).
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive