WEEK 5, 2018… Finding hope in God

DAY ONE – Job 14-17

Is there hope, or not? If there is, where do we find it? Job 14:6-9  Look away from him, that he may rest, until he shall accomplish, as a hireling, his day. 7  “For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, that the tender branch of it will not cease. 8  Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stock dies in the ground, 9  yet through the scent of water it will bud, and sprout boughs like a plant. A story is told of single grain of wheat found in a tomb, its home for 3,000 years. When the wheat berry was planted, it acted like any other seed. Its outer shell gave way to the wet, warm earth, and from within the berry a sprout shot forth and grew into a stalk of wheat! Hope lies in the life that is written into all creation. Yes, things die, but God’s life within His creation does not die. Hope rests in God who created us. IN Him is life, and we connect to His life through faith. The ‘scent’ of water is the life that is in God Himself. Therefore, there is hope… always hope, no matter how evil the day may seem to become. Romans 8:38-39  For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from God’s love, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Hope. Jesus. Hope.

DAY TWO – Job 18-21

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Ah, not true. The soul as well as the body may be broken… and often by words. Words seem to find a life of their own and merge with the life of the person to whom they are spoken. Job’s ‘comforters’, his friends, unfortunately turned out to be his tormentors. No matter how well-meaning they might have been, their words were like arrows which pierced not his skin, but the matter of his soul. Job could have covered his ears, I suppose, and said, “Na na na na na…!” But the contentious nature of their words struck him hard and forced him to try to give meaning to his unspeakable suffering. He couldn’t. And sometimes neither can we. When offering comfort to our friends and associates, we do well to simply remind ourselves that hope lies within God, not our circumstances. As we point away from ourselves to the One who created and loves us, our words may actually heal more than hurt. Wouldn’t that be nice!

DAY THREE – Job 22-25

If the world’s accusations against Job sound familiar, it is because we hear the same accusations in our religious circles. Ignorance of God’s character and of the Scripture, combined with the pain of living in a broken, fallen world, fashion the philosophies and theories which make God out to be either unconcerned or at fault for all the world’s pain, suffering and problems. The devil’s most successful attack against our Lord is defamation, libel and slander. If we can be persuaded to believe that 1) God is not available or approachable; 2) God doesn’t care; 3) God created good and evil and administers both as He wishes; 4) we will never understand God, so why bother… then the problem of pain and suffering will always take us down, without remedy. At that point we can only try to stay on top of life with all the resources we can muster, and hope that we are ‘lucky’ enough to escape the worst.

After more ‘logical’ diatribe against Job, Bildad finally summarized the problem: “How then can a man be righteous before God?” (25:4) Until we properly answer that question we can’t understand the problem of pain and suffering. Let’s remind ourselves that the Creator God, Yahweh by name, made everything good and pleasing, the Garden of Eden being a place of incredible blessing and profuse sufficiency. The first two people, Adam and Eve, forfeited all of that when they wanted to elevate their awareness of themselves. Instead, they lost the immediate Presence and awareness of God. We are all still trying to get that back.

DAY FOUR – Job 26-28

Chapter 28 deals with wisdom–what is it, and where does it come from? Both Kings David and Solomon wrote about  it in their writings. But Job said it first (28:23-28): “God understands its way.” “…and to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'”  If we deal with pain and suffering in this manner–to fear God and depart from evil, we are on the right path in our earthly quest.

And as Job rightly notes, most people tread the surface of the earth and find all they need. But to discover the riches this planet has hidden away, one must go deep–he must descend to the depths to bring out treasures that are not readily accessible. Gold, silver, minerals, precious stones, fossil fuels–are all beneath the surface. Deep mining in fearful places–the product of sweat, blood and tears–often results in hidden riches. Will we do no less in our attempts to find God and discover the true riches of His nature, the unfathomable depths of His love?

DAY FIVE – Job 29-36

If we learn anything from this incredible book, it might be…

  1. Satan was permitted to remain in cosmic darkness and hide his evil deeds from mankind, masking the real source of evil in the universe.
  2. Mankind, though he was aware of God, didn’t know God with any sense of intimacy. The Creator was as mysterious as life itself.
  3. It appeared that God blessed the righteous and struck the wicked, but nobody could seem to define the parameters of such an arrangement.
  4. Morality and justice were thought to be related to a righteous God who was in total control of the universe and all its goings on, who could act in any manner he pleased at any time.
  5. Mankind had no satisfying explanation for any of this.
  6. Job’s three friends thought he sinned and deserved God’s wrath.
  7. Job thought he hadn’t sinned and could not understand God’s treatment or His silence.
  8. Elihu, who had listened at length to all the conversations thought that he should come to the defense of Almighty God, since no one else had properly explained all that was happening.
  9. Trying to understand the mind and actions of Almighty God falls completely short when we are not CONNECTED to Him as the original Adam and Eve were.
  10. The plight of mankind as to suffering, pain and logic is utter failure so long as God remains in obscurity. There is no cosmic explanation, therefore there is no real hope. God alone retains the initiative and power to connect with mankind and to reveal himself as He will.
  11. We MUST treat the ancient world with its understanding of God as only the partial revelation it was, until the time God Himself was pleased to come down from heaven to walk among us as an earthly man with heaven in His soul. Jesus Christ is the revelation of Heaven living among us by the Spirit of God working among us. Gal 2:20 -21 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. 21  I don’t reject the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!” 

Thank you for following INSIGHTS. You can receive an email link every week when I publish if you simply scroll all the way to the bottom of the post and check the box. My hope is that hundreds of our friends will read the bible through this year and be greatly strengthened and encouraged as we journey together.

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