Job’s Hope (Part 1)

Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none, nor see the eyelids of the morning, – Job 3:9
Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope? – Job 4:6
So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth. – Job 5:16
Oh that I might have my request, and that God would fulfill my hope, that it would please God to crush me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off! – Job 6:8-9
The caravans of Tema look, the travelers of Sheba hope. – Job 6:19
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope. – Job 7:6
Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish. – Job 8:13
And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.  You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor.  But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last. – Job 11:18-20
Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face. – Job 13:15
Isn’t it interesting that one of the books in the Bible that talks most about hope is Job – a picture of some of the worst suffering a mere mortal can go through?  Job lost all his riches, all ten of his children, and his health.  His supportive wife tells him to curse God and die. So he sits in a garbage heap, alone and destitute, and his *friends* come to encourage him.
The list of verses above don’t mean much unless you wrap them in a bit of context.  I’ll try to do that now:
After all the calamity, Job’s friends come and sit with him.  They sit quietly for a week.  After this, Job speaks first and curses the day of his birth.  He wishes it had hoped for light but none came.  At this point he believes it would have been better if he’d not been born.
Then Job’s first friend responds.  He starts mocking Job.  “Isn’t your integrity your hope?”  Eliphaz is implying that if Job was really so upright, this calamity wouldn’t happen to him.  He does speak some truth, saying that God upholds the poor.  Still, he is telling Job that God is disciplining his unbelief.
Job responds in chapter 6 by saying that he hasn’t sinned or despised the Lord (which is true based on the description of him in chapter 1).  His hope is that God would just kill him and let the pain cease.  His friends are like caravans that appear to come and provide him with goods, but instead they lose their way and are no good to anyone.  His days “come to their end without hope.” (7:6)
Bildad speaks up and tells Job he needs to repent.  It’s Job’s own fault he’s in this mess.  That’s why “the hope of the godless shall perish” (8:13)
After Job responds and claims he has no defense against the Almighty, Zophar tells him that if he doesn’t repent, he’ll end up like the wicked who’s “hope is to breathe their last.” (11:19)
Finally, after 12 chapters of misery and hopelessness, Job responds, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him;” (13:15).  Even though everything around him is hopeless, Job has some amount of hope.  It’s not based on his circumstances; it is based on his God.
In the depths of his heart, Job knows that God is good.  He does not understand his misery, but he knows that God is still good even if God were to kill him altogether.  We see a real connection between hope and faith.
Job’s faith is in God, and because of that, his hope is stronger than the worst struggles life can throw at him.
Can you hope that God will use your calamity for good?
We’ll continue with Job’s Hope next week…
Posted in Hope, Wednesday Word