Job 13 & 14: HOPE FLOATS
Job continues his reply to his three accusers. Job says: “My eyes haves seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it. What you know, I know also. I am not inferior to you.” Job says I have understanding of God and I do not need to be lectured by you three.
Then Job answers their accusations: You smear me with lies. We are now in the political season of a presidential election year. The smear campaigns have already begun, the ‘fact checkers’ are researching to ascertain the truthfulness of these smears.
Job goes on to say to his accusers you are ‘worthless physicians.’ Why are they worthless? Because their diagnosis is wrong and therefore their treatment and remedy will be wrong and worthless also. Their wisdom is so inept, Job says the only way they could exhibit wisdom would be to keep their mouths shut. Job is saying you guys are a big disappointment to me. Sometimes in troubling times, we discover who our real friends are, don’t we?
He says ‘listen to my argument, listen to my plea. Would you speak wickedly on God’s behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for Him? ‘Today there are those who pervert the truth of God’s word and when they speak they speak deceitfully. There are counselors who deal only with the surface, for to offer godly counsel one must get to the heart. For the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.
Job goes directly to God. He tells his accusers be silent and let me speak, ‘then let come to me what may. “Why do I put myself in jeopardy and take my life in my hands? Though He slays me, yet will I hope in Him. I will surely defend my own ways before Him. He shall also be my deliverance (salvation, NKJV). Realize this is Job’s greatest statement of faith in God. This includes a statement of truth not yet fully revealed to Job- that salvation is of and from God. It also will be the only source of hope on which he can depend and rely with full assurance. But for now Job wavers between hope of things getting better and the despair they may not. In other words he is having trouble making his hope sure and certain.
Job goes on to day he desires two things from God.
- Job wants God to withdraw His hand of punishment. Job is asking for relief.
- Job wants God to reveal to him his sins. The accused wants to know the charges he is accused of and have his day in court. Our advocate, the Lord Jesus has already pleaded our case in the highest court- heaven. He paid for my sins and the sins of the world. When I placed my faith in Him on September 16, 1977, I was cleared. Jesus had asked His Father to forgive me and I was. Those who want to stand before Almighty God and plead their case for leniency will have their mouths shut as God reads the charges against them from the books of their lives at the Great White Throne.
Job continues in chapter 14 with this statement: “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Job is not the most optimistic person at this time and we can understand it.
THE HOPELESSNESS OF JOB
In Job 14: 1-12, Job speaks of the hopeless condition of man. Beginning with the fact that life is short and filled with trouble. He uses several images to illustrate this hopeless condition of man. Keep in mind what has occurred in Job’s life and why his future is so bleak and why his soul is so downcast.
He says life is like a flower which springs up and then withers away.
He says life is like a fleeting shadow. Job says are days are determined and God knows they are limited. Job’s reasoning is if life is so short, why does God fill them with such grief and pain? Have you noticed our flesh, our old nature will exaggerate the depth of our troubles. It moans, nothing good ever happens to me; only bad- I can’t get a break, everything is against me. God can you not let me have some peace before my few days are gone.
Job says even a tree cut down has hope new life will spring from its stump.
Job then expresses the most asked question there is: “If a man dies, will he live again? “
Job wants God not to keep track of his sin. “My offenses will seal up in a bag, you will cover my sin.” Jesus died for my sins; His blood covered them all- past, present and future. And not only my sins, but the sins of the world. My sins are sealed in a bag, dropped in the deepest part of the ocean as far as the east is from the west, remembered no more. I am justified. Declared not guilty. Paid in full. Those who do not trust Jesus as their Savior and Redeemer, will stand before the great white throne where there will be books and the Book of Life. They will not have had their sins sealed and covered. They will be judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20)
Now Job says: “…as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy man’s hope.” Job is telling God- I am hopeless. Have you ever experienced hopelessness in a situation which is causing you intense pain and grief? Have you ever had your hope destroyed?
TWO TYPES OF HOPE
We need to understand Jesus Christ is our blessed hope and keeps us from sinking in times of despair. This type of ‘hope’ comes from the God of all Hope and keeps us afloat when we are sinking in despair. This Hope floats. This Biblical hope means a ‘strong and confident expectation.” It is also described as a ‘hope which does not disappoint.’
Man’s Hope is the other type of hope. It can be defined and described as “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of fulfillment; to desire very much”, but with no real assurance of getting your desire. Hope is the desire for good things to happen and come to be in the future. Man’s hope is wishy-washy and often as not gets washed away in the torrent of troubles.
Would God let this type of hope be washed away? Yes, in order to replace with the Blessed Hope in His Son, Jesus Christ.
The birth of Isaac is a picture of these two types of hope in action. Against all hope (man’s hope), Abraham in hope believed. God had made a covenant with Abraham and had told him of the heir he would have and how through this seed the nations would be blessed. As time passed by and Sarah (who had always been barren), they began to lose hope in God’s promise and decided to come up with their own plan to fulfill God’s promise since it seemed impossible for Abraham and Sarah to conceive. They concocted a plan whereby Abraham would have a child, a male heir with Hagar, their Egyptian servant. The result was Ishmael. Then the pre-incarnate Lord with two angels visited Abraham and Sarah. He told them this time next year, Abraham and Sarah would have a son.
Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 and had never conceived, she was barren. You realize at this time to hope this would happen was against, contrary to all human hope. Scientifically, physically impossible would be human reasoning.
Then we read this great passage about hope in Romans 4: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead- since he was about a hundred years old- and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded (convinced) that GOD HAD THE POWER TO DO WHAT HE HAD PROMISED!”
This the hope we have access to as the children of God, as born-again believers. We have it because Jesus is our blessed hope. It provides us with sure certainty what God has promised in His Word is true, and will occur in God’s perfect timing. Since God is the God of all Hope, if you are in this world without God, you are without Jesus Christ, His Son, the blessed hope, so you are without hope. The only hope this person can have is man’s hope.
Now remember hope is always in the future and in the unseen. For man does not hope what he can see, but what is unseen, unrealized.
Do you understand the stories God continues to have us study in Scripture often have hope as a theme? We study these familiar stories and we sometimes see ourselves in them, don’t we? Gina and I began watching “Its’ a Wonderful Life” years ago when we were a young married couple. We had our share of problems and struggles and three children under age 4. We identified with the struggles of George Bailey and Mary.
God has given us a wealth of stories to show us what He is like and how He longs for us to see Him. These stories of real people, just like us, show them dealing with setbacks. We studied the book of Ruth not long ago. It could as easily have been titled the story of Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law. The story starts with death and loss and ends up with great gain and birth. So has the story of Job started with death and loss and we will see it ends up with birth and great gain. What is God telling us? He is telling us in this world you will have trouble. But we are on the way to glory. And our suffering has a purpose. It is so we can grow stronger in our faith, deeper in our love for the Lord and see Him in ways we could not have seen Him and experienced Him without the way He has allowed us to go. What we are seeing with God, a setback is a setup for a comeback.
God is telling us the BEST IS YET TO COME. We come to lean not on our own understanding but to trust in the Lord with all our hearts. How we see God will change how we see ourselves and change what we value. This hope which does not disappoint allows us to be hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. To be perplexed, but not in despair. To be knocked down, but get up again and again. “Therefore we do not lose heart. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4) This hope gives us peace and joy. This hope gives us endurance, patience, comfort when troubles and tough times come.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in FULL ASSURANCE of faith having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” “ Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of patience (endurance), so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10) Hope and faith are linked. Hope, the blessed Hope, which the God of all Hope provides is not only a good thing, a great thing, it is at times the most important thing. You got to have hope.
A PEP TALK TO YOURSELF.
What do we do when tough times come? When our hope, like Job’s is being washed away in a torrent of troubles? We know we will experience tough times. Tough times come to followers of God, to born again Christians. (They also come to unbelievers)
What do we do in those times? We need to have a pep talk with self. We have to preach to ourselves. Job is being honest with himself and with God. He is growing hopeless. He is experiencing what we all do at times- the times when our faith is losing the fight with our feelings.
David shares with us how he preached to himself in Psalm 42 and 43. David is described as man with a heart after God. David in this Psalm admits his negative feelings. Know this our old nature, the flesh, is predisposed to unbelief; it is strongly influenced by feelings.
These two Psalms are described as a prayer for deliverance from the enemy, from being oppressed by the enemy. It is a prayer for restoration.
David describes his feelings: “As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for God, for the living God. Where can I go to meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul how I used to go with the multitude leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will praise Him, my Savior, My God. My soul is downcast with me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon- from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me saying to me all day long, where is your God? Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior, My God. (Psalm 42)
“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my joy and my delight, I will praise You with my harp O God, my God. Why you downcast, O my soul- are why are you so disturbed within me? – Put your hope in God for I will praise Him, my Savior, my God.” (Psalm 43)
The message is clear. David was downcast and disturbed. He longed to hear from God. He begins in his prayer to talk to his soul- to himself. He admits his troubles have depressed him, disturbed him. Watch what he does.
He remembers the past experiences. He calls them to mind in his present situation. He then knows he can face the future.
These are the three tenses of faith. Trust is a learned response. It always looks back to what God has done in the past. It reminds one of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises. Faith is in the present tense in the problem you are facing now. “Now faith is…”
Thus faith is both present- now. And also past- this is trust the learned response from experiencing God’s faithfulness.
Now faith also takes us into the future, the unseen, the unknown, and the unrealized and makes it sure and certain. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see.” And the next verse tells us why we study the history of the Bible, knowing these things were written to teach us that through patience and comfort of the Scripture we might have hope. The next verse: Hebrew 11: 2 tells us- by this faith, the elders receive a good report. ‘
Hope if the future tense of faith. Hope is an essential part of faith. Hope that does not disappoint that leads us into the unseen, unknown with unwavering faith in the One who is faithful who has promised us: He would never leave us nor forsakes us. He would be our helper. He is unchanging. He is the same today as yesterday as He will be tomorrow.
There it is- the past, present and future of our faith which gives us hope which does not disappoint.