Job’s friends had pretended to comfort him with the hope of his return to a prosperous estate; he here shows that those do not go wisely about the work of comforting the afflicted, who fetch their comforts from the possibility of recovery in this world. It is our wisdom to comfort ourselves, and others, in distress, with that which will not fail; the promise of God, his love and grace, and a well-grounded hope of eternal life. See how Job reconciles himself to the grave. Let this make believers willing to die; it is but going to bed; they are weary, and it is time that they were in their beds. Why should not they go willingly when their Father calls them? Let us remember our bodies are allied to corruption, the worm and the dust; and let us seek for that lively hope which shall be fulfilled, when the hope of the wicked shall be put out in darkness; that when our bodies are in the grave, our souls may enjoy the rest reserved for the people of God. – Matthew Henry
The grace of hope which is in the follower’s heart, even though sometimes it may not be noticeable at any moment in time and maybe not even exercised at the appropriate times, can never be lost. It is an anchor, keeps us sure and strong, always abiding, never disappointing and does not make us ashamed. Our object of this hope is in eternal glory and happiness in another world – heaven – whom we are all looking forward to. So what in this world, what comfort or hope in this world could match such a gift? Why would I go to someone and encourage them in this way – hope of an outward happiness or having prosperity, family, friends – there is no place for these things in sustaining us and keeping us. Cherishing the things of this world has no foundation to eternal life – one cannot build such a hope.
I was reading a new blog today that I started to follow. It will be a story of someone who has suffered a stroke and has a lot of difficulty moving forward. He talks about the support of his family and friends, but he wonders that it would have been better if he had just died and there would be none of this pain he is going through. He is trying not to be consumed by his helpless situation or frustrated or impatient in his healing process. He has some friends though that are better than Job’s friends. They come and bring him hope that comes from God. They come to tell him that God has a plan, that he is growing as a follower of Christ, and changing every day. He is reminded to be appreciative of every single thing that he usually has ignored. He ends up praising God and acknowledges that when the moments come when he momentarily lays aside his hope that God will hold him. So he is beginning to trust Him more. A great testimony indeed.
If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness, if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope? Who will see my hope? Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?” – Job 17:13-16
My Hope – Hillsong (with Lyrics/Subtitles) (Worship Song)
The redemptive acts of God were Israel’s great hope as they were a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. They were the inauguration of the national covenant.
That covenant is also the same hope we have too. It is not because we are special, or more wonderful or more deserving than anyone else – God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us so that we may receive the gift of eternal life with Him. It was a promise He made to us in Genesis, even before the covenant made with Abraham.
How deep and wide is that love that He has. It is a love I can place my hope in.
It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples. It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations – Deuteronomy 7:7-9
So what is the foundation of our hope?
From the book of Job it would seem to indicate that either a fear of God or a personal walk in holiness would be the confidence factor. From the other perspective, is it safe to say that if adversity came our way and we failed to stand, would then all of the fear, holiness, and hope be worthless?
Hope is a grace that is worked in the heart – in the process of regeneration. It is still focused on the unseen future and it still will be enjoyed here but especially in the hereafter. Hope’s foundation is in Christ and He is the only one who can keep up our spirit’s in times of affliction. Eliphaz is the one who comes up with the question of Job’s integrity. He judges Job’s impatience with God, his hope – so much so that he calls Job out as a hypocrite – which means he has nothing. From Eliphaz’s perspective, hope that is true cannot be lost.
Personal integrity can help walk anyone through adversity. In our own relationship with God there is an understanding that God knows us best and in appealing to Him, in fact, just the act of appealing to Him, brings satisfaction and hope. Job acknowledges this.
Integrity is not perfection – so seeking God should be a place in our spiritual walk that should encourage us. We should have hope. We tap into a strength that is bigger than who we are. The integrity of that relationship comforts us knowing the God is a part of our lives and His presence means we are not alone.
Job’s life was definitely in disarray – nothing he believed in made sense. Eliphaz’ only encouraging note was to say that the innocent are only punished for a moment and that God would restore him. If he was truly being punished, he would have already been destroyed. Unfortunately, Eliphaz missed the point by taking too lightly the severity of Job’s losses. Job’s integrity mattered very much.
Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. – Romans 12:12
In our anticipation of the second coming of Jesus we need His own advice to pray always and to hope. This is our attitude and our posture while we wait. Paul echos Jesus comments and reminds us that with the approaching second coming there will be persecution. Jesus was concerned knowing the enormous challenges that His disciples would face in the days leading to His trial and crucifixion, but it was His message to them as well that if they persecuted Him, they would do the same to them. They would be opposed and marginalized – tempted to lose hope.
Jesus even wondered at the end of His parable of the judge whether He would find anyone with faith – in other words, anyone who had not given up hope and who continue to be persistent in prayer.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. – Philippians 3:20
Considering that our citizenship is in heaven and that is where we will finally fit in – we know this world is not our home. We are strangers longing for home. Our hope is not in social programs, or politics – our hope is in the second coming of Jesus. To come and make all things new, to put an end to sin and death, for a glorified body rid of sickness and decay – our hope is to see Jesus.
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” – Luke 18:1-8
OUR HOPE (O GOD, OUR HELP) – Nicole Elsey/Robert Sterling