And Where Is Now My Hope?
Job 17:15a15—And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?
I grew up singing, I’m possessed of a HOPE that is steadfast and sure, since Jesus came into my heart. Well, let me tell you, that hope has remained with me for well over half a century of knowing Jesus as my Savior and Lord. In fact, it’s a more-sure hope now than it ever has been. Daily I learn more about the foundation of this hope. It is based in God’s Covenant with us and given to us by His mercy.
The One Who has made this hope secure for us is the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Covenant Son. He is our Savior and Lord—and He is our great King.
But, come with me and let us see how our hope can remain strong as we move through the time when all hope may seem to flee from us. There is coming a time when the enemy of our souls will try to remove all hope from us who trust Christ Jesus. Our purpose in these articles is to point you toward overcoming and to see a people prepared to withstand the enemy—and thus, stand—in this time that Paul called the evil day in Ephesians 6:13.
Our place of secure hope will remain with us when we learn to stand firm in acknowledging One that Job called my Redeemer in The Book of Job 19:25. This was his acknowledgment of the Christ. Today we know Him as the One Who ever liveth to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). The triumph He accomplished secures for us a place in God’s kingdom with a hope that is indeed sure.
This hope is born in us, not out of good circumstances, but out of the work the Lord Jesus accomplished. It becomes a settled matter with us when the Holy Spirit is allowed to continue His work in us. And hope maketh not ashamed (it is not frustrated, or disappointed); because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us—Romans 5:5. The settling of hope is closely connected with God’s love and His Spirit.
This hope the Holy Spirit gives carries with it a supernatural power that is like a force of energy. It stays with us even when everything around us is failing. It comes on like a fire burning rubbish to do away with what is useless and ugly. It burns well on the rubble of the ruin and tragedy that has come upon so many of us. Hope is like a fire that gives light and warmth. It maintains life because it is supernatural.
Because so many of us find some identification with the man Job, we’re going to take some days to discover the hope that was born in him out of the trash heap of his personal ruin and tragedy. He was a man who at times became so low in his personal feelings that he cursed the day he was born. But, when he looked through the rubble of his life, he saw his Redeemer. When we look carefully into his story, we can watch hope in him as it comes to life—and is not put to shame.
Throughout the Book of Job we discover seven confessions of his faith—count them—that arose like sparks of fire that finally burst into flame in the cold dark tragedy of Job’s life. We can learn from him what the Fire of God will do with the rubbish that has become piled so high upon many of us. The Holy Spirit will set fire to the treasured trash we carry inside us—like resentment, or fear, or jealousy. He will also burn up the emotional pain that has followed us since childhood. God’s Spirit is His Holy Fire, sent to consume things inside, and outside, of us that drive out hope and make us useless in His Kingdom. But, when ignited by the Holy Spirit, anything, and everything, can provide fuel for energy to make us useful in His Kingdom.
My departed wife Glenda discovered this. Her life had become filled with pain and failure. When she turned herself over to the Lord, He ignited the trash and gave her a testimony that touched countless persons to give them hope.
Paul had this revelation of Truth for himself. I go to it over and over as he expressed it in Romans 8:28. This is my interpretation from the Original. For we know (instinctively, and in a way that defies contradiction) that the combined energy of everything that comes our way works together to bring about good. No matter what has come into our life, when touched by God’s Spirit, it gives forth an energy that inspires us for good. The revelation of Light that progressively burst forth in Job reveals how this hope might come on progressively in us.
Observing his confessions, we can see them like the striking of a match. Their fire might not catch right away, but as we continue hearing them they become like a prophetic torch. They can start the fire of God burning in us. Eventually, we discover hope’s heat brings gold to the surface of our lives.
The first thing we observe about Job is that he remained a worshiper, even while everything in his life was falling to pieces. See this from Job 1:20, 21—Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
In spite of everything that happened to him, Job did not say anything that charged God foolishly. This would probably be difficult for some of us, but it is a point of discipline in which we can learn to exercise restraint, not to speak against God. This is especially so when someone close to us encourages us to give up on trusting the Lord, as was the case with Job.
Job’s wife grew weary of the trouble that had come in their family. This would not be an unusual scenario for today. Take note of her words in Job 2:9,10. We must interpret them carefully. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? (Are you still continuing to be faithful to the Lord?-NIrV) Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
An unusual device occurs here in the Hebrew. The word barak that is translated curse in this passage is over three hundred times elsewhere translated bless. It is my conviction that “Mrs. Job” mocked the devotion of her husband by saying to him, “Go ahead and bless God—and die!” She might have said, “Go on with your faith and confidence in God. It is getting you nowhere!”
There is an addition to her words found in the Septuagint edition of the Old Testament. And when much time had passed, his wife said to him, How long wilt thou hold out, saying, Behold, I wait yet a little while, expecting the hope of my deliverance? For, behold, thy memorial is abolished from the earth, even thy sons and daughters, the pangs and pains of my womb which I bore in vain with sorrows; and thou thyself sittest down to spend the nights in the open air among the corruption of worms, and I am a wanderer and a servant from place to place and house to house, waiting for the setting of the sun that I may rest from my labors and my pangs which now beset me: but say some word against the Lord, and die.
Job would not. He could not give heed to her. He said, We accept good things from God. So we should also accept trouble when He sends it—Job 2:10.-NIrV
An attitude like this frustrates the devil to no end. When we are willing to receive things that seem bad as from the hand of the Lord, it does, indeed, make them holy things that come upon us. Paul knew this. Trouble that comes to us can become part of the all things of Romans 8:28. Study this and think on it. Of course, the secret lies in the part of the verse that says: to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Job had religious friends who came to “comfort” him. Oh, but what friends they were! They were so shocked at his plight that they sat in stunned silence for ... seven days and seven nights (Job 2:13). He finally said to them, ...miserable comforters are ye all—16:2. Quite often, when we go through painful misfortune, our religious friends don’t understand. Or, they think they do understand and give us religious advice that only presses us down.
Job didn’t understand what was happening to him any better than his friends understood. One thing was certain; he was not receiving any help from those men who came. His argument was with God, not necessarily with the men who tried to tell him the reason he was suffering was because there was something wrong between him and God. He knew there was nothing wrong in that relationship. In his quest he sought for a mediator who would stand between him and God. Then he might have an answer.
With the spiritual reach of a Prophet, he said, For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any Daysman betwixt us, that might lay His hand upon us both—Job 9:32,33.
The word daysman means an umpire, one who might come between two parties to settle their differences. Job’s faith was reaching for such a One. Deep within his spirit, placed there by God, was a longing for the Mediator Who would come in the fullness of the time (Gal 4:4).
Job did not yet know the Mediator between God and man, the only means by which the two could be reconciled. But he longed for Him. It seems evident that Paul had this quest from Job in mind when he wrote I Timothy 2: 5,6. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all.
In the sin, turmoil and pain that comes upon our lives today, we have this Daysman, this Mediator, this Savior. It is Jesus for Whom our soul reaches.
In the darkness and pain that had overtaken him, Job determined ... Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him—Job 13:15. This was the kind of faith that reached a fullness in Paul. Having lost everything—things that so many of us today search after—he could say that it was no more than garbage, anyway. (See Philippians 3:8.)Job, with his miserable friends before him, and his nagging wife assailing him, still longed for some gleam of hope. He bemoaned the fact that hope was so elusive. It had fled from him. He said, My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope—Job 7:6.
David was a man who came later than Job. Some scholars have determined that the Book of Job was written earlier than any other portion of the Old Testament. Whatever the fact, David came after the several men with whom God had made Covenant—Adam, Noah, Abraham. Yet, he arrived on the scene himself before the Mediator came for whom both he and Job yearned.
David, with the others above named, himself became a Covenant man. His Word was so powerful that it quenched the fire of death that would have consumed the Mediator Who finally came. Through David we hear the most powerful Word of hope that ever was proclaimed. It is the Word that went with the Lord Jesus into the grave, broke the power of death, and gave Hope its power. See this from Psalm 16. 8I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.
David held a quest for hope even as Job did, but his advancement in beholding the Lord reached beyond that of Job. David said, I have set the LORD always before me. This means he kept the Lord vividly present before the eyes of his heart. Therefore his heart was glad. His glory rejoiced. He moved toward knowing the power and authority and reality of God’s Kingdom. What Job longed for, David beheld. Then, the Lord Jesus secured the hope that they both reached for. It is now ours to own.
Of God, Job said, His archers compass me round about, He cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; He poureth out my gall upon the ground—Job 16:13. Job needed someone to plead his case before God. His reins had been cleaved asunder. They were tilled and shredded till there was no identity left to define who he was. His reins had defined who he was, but now they were destroyed. They were his self-identity. Now there was nothing left of him. Everything that gave him his individuality and purpose in life was gone. As far as his earthly condition was concerned, there was nothing left. Yet, he could still confess, Also now, behold, my Witness is in Heaven, and my record is on high—Job 16:19.
He had come to the place of no longer knowing himself. He retained nothing that made him feel like a person of any value at all. But, he had a Witness in Heaven! That’s where his value was retained.
With all the dreadful condition that had come upon him, something in Job caused him to know that he was known in Heaven. He had a Witness there. This was grace—pure, unadulterated grace—that was reaching for him, and for which he was reaching, even before the Lamb that would be slain in his behalf had come into the world. This was the mercy of God that would give him a new identity.
The longing of Job’s soul found its desired end. The personal despair, the religious people who gave him no hope, the pain of rejection by his own wife, now gave way to a hope that surpassed all that he lost. See what he said in Job 19:25-27—For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another (and not as a stranger); though my reins be consumed within me (my reins within me are consumed with desire for this day).
Hope within the Bible carries with it a certainty. The hope of our everyday life carries a great deal of uncertainty. But Job’s hope turned into knowledge. He could say, I know... He had a Redeemer. He knew Him. He knew that One was alive. He knew He would stand in triumph on this earth. He knew that he, hopeless and miserable Job, would know his Redeemer, and not as a stranger. All that was in Job was consumed with desire for that Day. He yearned for the Day of the Lord.
Even while Job remained with a reach for hope that was his only by faith, the knowledge that was being born in him went deep. It was a knowledge that superceded pain, religion, faith’s expectation and the positive confession that had become his. It was a knowledge that allowed him to rest in what God was bringing to pass.
It is a rest in which we too can live as we let God bring His purpose to pass in us, even while we cannot understand all He is doing in us. Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: but He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold—Job 23:8-10.
© Berean Ministries
Unless otherwise indicated, Bible quotations are from The King James Version