Theme: Hope and Praise
In this week’s lessons, we look at the amazing trust that Job had in his coming Redeemer.
Scripture: Job 19:25-27
In this week’s studies I have spoken about Job’s remarkable story and Job’s remarkable faith. My point today is Job’s remarkable response, by which I mean his remarkable response to suffering. In other words, having studied the content of his resurrection faith, as we find it in chapter 19, we need to go back to chapters 1 and 2 and understand that it was this faith alone that enabled him to respond to awful suffering in the way he did. It was his faith in Jesus, his living Redeemer, that made the difference. What difference was that?
Hope instead of despair. If ever any circumstances of life could have led a man to despair, it was the sudden, overwhelming, undeserved and unmitigated tragedies endured by this remarkable individual. But Job was not overwhelmed! Hard pressed? Of course. Perplexed? That too. Persecuted by Satan? Yes. Struck down? Yes, but still believing! Still trusting! Still giving glory to his God!
So it will be for you, for he who has called you “is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13). Paul was tempted. But listen to his testimony:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Cor. 4:8-11).
Job did not know Jesus by name, but his faith was in Jesus all the same, and this is exactly what he experienced. Job’s strength can be yours if you will trust the Lord Jesus Christ as he did.
Praise instead of cursing. And there is this point too. Not only did Job’s remarkable faith result in hope rather than despair, as it does for all who know Jesus. It also produced praise instead of cursing. Cursing (or at least complaining) is what the devil foretold: “Stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 1:11). “Stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 2:5). But Job did not curse God. Instead he replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble” (Job 2:10), and “May the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).
The world will never do that. It cannot. Satan was right in saying that an unregenerate man will curse God if his possessions are taken away or if his health is taken away, if he is a natural man. But the saints are not natural in that sense. They are new creatures in Christ, changed from within by God himself, and their response will be different. In another place Job said movingly, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). Can you say that?
Trying to answer that question honestly is one way you can determine whether you are a Christian or not, and whether you believe in the doctrine of the resurrection as a living truth or merely a quaint religious concept. This doctrine and all others will become a reality for you only when you yourself know Jesus. Remember that the goel was a kinsman of the one who was redeemed. Is Jesus Christ your kinsman? Are you related to him by saving faith? Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” Can you say, “My Redeemer, my Jesus”? Do not let this Christmas go by until you can claim that personal relationship with Jesus for yourself. Do not rest this night until you rest in him.
What replaced despair for Job? Why?
Why did Job praise God instead of cursing him?
Reflection: Read 2 Cor. 4:8-11. Have you been tempted? How was this verse true for you in your suffering?
Prayer: Respond now to your suffering by praising God as Job did. Look up the following verses, and use them as a basis for your own praise to God: Job 1:11, 21; 2:5, 10.