Stand in Hope {Learning from Job ~ Post 7}

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When trouble surrounds us and the pressures of life squeeze in from all sides it’s crucial for us to remember that God has equipped us with the power to do something.  We don’t have to grasp frantically and desperately for help apart from Him or crawl inside a self-created cage and give up.  We can take hold of our faith and place our HOPE in Him.  We can rest in what we know of God, His power and love, and the power He’s given us to hope, stand, and fight.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Eph 6:13, NIV)

We’ve spent the past several weeks focusing on Job.  We’ve looked at the God’s loving nature, Job’s righteousness, the prowling deceiver, Job’s three friends’ faulty theology, and Elihu’s accurate beliefs.  Today, we’ll look at the way Job held onto hope.

First, we need to understand the meaning of the biblical word “hope”.

From Bible.org:

  • What is hope? Is it a wishy washy maybe or a kind of unsure optimism? The modern idea of hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.”  In Scripture, according to the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” and according to the biblical usage, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation.

{I once did an etymological study on the English word hope and found that some researchers believe that there may be a connection to the word hop—as in the way one would confidently hop or jump to a place of certain refuge. I love this explanation!}

In various chapters of Job, it looks almost as though Job has given up on God.  For example, in chapters 13 and 14, Job seems to be in utter despair.  He had suffered so much and couldn’t understand why a righteous man would be allowed such great tribulations.  He even states in 14:12 that he wishes God would hide him in the grave for a set time until His wrath is over and God renews him. In Job 3:11 and 10:18 he says that he wished he’d just died before birth.  He seemed to have given up hope due to despairing so deeply.

Sometimes, when we are at our very lowest, we can’t see God under us, lifting us up.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Corrie Ten Boom…

There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.

No matter what our human eyes can see, or our roiling emotions say, God’s love is immense and He never leaves nor forsakes His children.  The very nature of God, which we studied in the second post in this series, is love.  It is by God’s love that gave His only Son to wash away our sins and reconcile us to Him.  It is by His love that He promises us that all things work together for our good.  It’s His love that grants us new mercies every single morning.  His love is steadfast and strong.  No matter what!

And this is where our hope lies.  Our hope is in the Lord and in His great love for us.  It’s in knowing his Son and His sacrificial, cross-shaped love.  Hope lies in knowing His power and authority and remembering His nature and His fresh, daily mercies.

I believe that knowing and worshiping God was what kept Job going. Remember, his initial reaction to the devastation in his life was to fall down and worship God. (See Job 1:20-22)  When Job’s wife advised Job to just “curse God and die”, Job responded with words like little fingers that reach in and touch my soul.

“What?  Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”   

I just have to pause after reading those words and let them sink in like heavy, convicting weights…

Yes, in many comments in various chapters Job it may seem that he despaired so greatly, and gave up all hope.  But he didn’t completely.  He was even eager to run to God and defend his righteousness.  (See Job 27:3-6.) Job never forsook God.  He knew that the fear of the Lord is wisdom. He never truly gave up believing, trusting, or hoping.  In Job 23:10, he even shows hope when he says:  “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Job was just hurting.  Deeply.  And although most of us have never been stricken in all the ways Job was, it’s probably safe to say that we have been hurt deeply, too.  And like Job, knowing God and placing our hope in Him can keep us going.  Hope can help us stand when we feel like falling.

If you come to the book of Job only for a pick me up or comparison— as in “well, at least my life isn’t that bad!”, take heed.  This book is God’s lesson to us on how to view and deal properly with suffering of any degree.  Don’t read or study Job without learning these valuable, godly lessons.  Sufferings of great proportion come with life.  As Elihu taught Job, God can speak to us personally through pain as draws us close and refines our spirits. Be prepared and thank God for equipping you with the ability to stand firmly in His hope!

How has God reminded you to stand firmly in hope?  How have you clung to hope during times of suffering?

Ali

**If you would like to use this series as a Bible study, here are daily assignments until next week:

  1. Read again Job 1:20-22, Job 2:9-10, and Job 23:10-12.  How do Job’s words and actions reveal his faith and hope in God?  How can you choose to maintain hope during trials?
  2. Read Psalm 130.  In what are we to place our hope, specifically?  Why should we hope in the Lord?  Meditate on this psalm today. Try to memorize verse 5 or 7.
  3. Read Psalm 42.  Why should we place our hope in God?  Look for words that describe God’s character and reason for being worthy of our hope.  Choose a verse to meditate on today from this Psalm.
  4. Read Psalm 146.  Why should we place our trust in God rather than man?  What does God do for the oppressed?  What is God showing you about hope in these verses?
  5. Read, meditate, and journal your thoughts on these New Testament scriptures on hope:
  • Rom 5:1-5
  • 1 Pet 1:3,4
  • 1 Pet 1:13
  • Col 1:3-6
  • 1 John 3:2-3

{This is the seventh in a series of posts I’ll be doing on lessons learned from the book of Job.  The posts, thoughts, and gathered research have all materialized out of my personal quiet times with God and morning Bible studies.}

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