Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"There IS hope to be found!"

Day #47:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - February 13th

Scripture Reading:  Job 13 - 14 …

I will be preaching a sermon this week that talks about HOPE … what hope is and where we can find true hope.  I could wish that Job were here to hear it and I pray for those who will hear it, for we all need hope.  It might be said that the entire book of Job is God's work in Job's life to give him real hope - a hope that can't be taken away.  God wants the same for you and me.

Job thought he had hope at the beginning.  He worshiped God and he prayed for his children.  He was wealthy and had all a man could ask for in this world.  Life was good.  Then God allowed Satan to take it all away and to inflict Job with sores all over his body.  Yet, Job trusted God … at first.  And even in these two chapters Job continues to testify that he has a glimmer of hope:  "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him" (13:15).

But Job is found doing in these chapters what so many do today:  questioning God and trying to understand why these things were happening to him.  He dares to say, "I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God" (13:3).  He asks God to withdraw His hand from him and to let him speak with Him.  Job's friends have been telling him that he deserves what he is getting and that he has obviously sinned against God and is now being punished for it.  Some feel that way today.

Where can you find hope in the midst of trials and suffering?  Job is having what we might call today a "pity party."  He says, "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble" (14:1).  "Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed" (14:5).  "Man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more" (14:10).  Job is trying desperately to find hope, but you can't find it in the midst of a pity party!

Still, he says, "I will wait for my renewal to come" (14:14), and "My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; You will cover over my sin" (14:17).  Could Job be talking about God's forgiveness?  Is that where hope can at last be found?  In the midst of his despair, Job is hoping that there is more to life than he can see at the present, but from where he was it was hard to find.  It is believed that Job lived somewhere around the time of Abraham, more than 2,000 years before Jesus was born.  God's revelation of His plan of salvation and His giving of the law and the tabernacle and all of the signs and ceremonies pointing to the coming Savior were beyond Job's reach.  His quest for hope could only be satisfied in God's revelation of Himself.

So many lessons to be learned by Job ... lessons that need to be learned by so many today.  God WOULD and did reveal Himself to Job at the end of the story, but we have an even clearer revelation!!  We have God's Word, from Genesis through Revelation - AND we have Jesus and the cross, His resurrection, His ascension and the promise of His return.  For us, hope should be easy, shouldn't it?  Through faith in Jesus Christ it can be ... and IS!  Have you found it?  Do you have it?

As the Spirit of God opens your mind and heart to believe God's Word, hope is to be found in God's revelation of Himself.  God IS in control and knows the number of our days.  We  DO deserve God's judgment for our sins, but in the midst of suffering and trials God does not abandon those who know and trust Him.  It is through faith in God that we can know Jesus came to pay the penalty for sin, and the forgiveness Job hoped for is a gift of God's grace to those who place their hope in Jesus Christ.

There IS hope to be found in the God who "so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!"

"Our Father in heaven, YOU are our hope!  By Your grace we enter Your presence, confessing our sin and our need for forgiveness, and finding in Jesus ALL that we need!  Thank You for Your love and Your faithfulness.  My hope is in YOU!!"

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