Responding with Faith and Hope


God’s hand moves the way it wants: If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. This is God. His ways are higher than ours.  We see today in Job’s example that we can always choose to respond to God with faith and hope.

Zophar:

5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
that he would open his lips against you
6 and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
for true wisdom has two sides.
Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.

Job:

4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends,
though I called on God and he answered—
a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!
13 “To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his.
15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought;
if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.
16 To him belong strength and insight;
both deceived and deceiver are his.
23 He makes nations great, and destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and disperses them.

15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.
16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
for no godless person would dare come before him!
17 Listen carefully to what I say;
let my words ring in your ears.
18 Now that I have prepared my case,
I know I will be vindicated.
20 “Only grant me these two things, God,
and then I will not hide from you:
21 Withdraw your hand far from me,
and stop frightening me with your terrors.
22 Then summon me and I will answer,
or let me speak, and you reply to me.
Job 11:5-6, 13-15, 12:4, 13, 15-16, 23, 13:15-18, 20-22

Job’s friend, Zophar, challenges Job by telling him that he must have sinned.  Zophar desires for God to stand against Job and open his lips to reveal Job’s sin.  Zophar accuses Job of having so much sin that God has even forgotten some of it…

He doesn’t know the half of it. Job indeed has sinned as we all do, and God indeed has forgotten his sin, because that’s what God promises to do.  However, Job is still righteous in God’s eyes.  His sin is not why Job is afflicted.  This is where, in Job’s case, Zophar gets it wrong.

He tells Job that if he will simply devote himself to God, and turn from his sin, he will be able to stand firm without fear. Job, in response to Zophar, is ready to stand before God now.  He believes he is righteous and blameless.  Job also knows, moreover, that God’s hand moves the way it wants. “If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his. He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.”

This is God.  His ways are higher than our ways.

There are times when our circumstances reflect his discipline to steer us back into alignment with his will.  There are other times in which God is developing our perseverance (James 1:3) and other times in which the accomplishment of his will requires suffering in the submission of our wills (Luke 22:42).

Jesus endured suffering for the purpose of the Father, and so we are called to follow Jesus.

The posture of faith, however, is for us to be able to say, like Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” Job begged for God to remove his hand from him, and to have audience with the Father.  All the while, though, he trusted that (vs. 16) this would turn out for his deliverance.  He believed that God would accomplish good through all of it.  Job responded with faith and hope.

Whatever you face, will you respond with faith and hope? Will you hope in God even if he lets you walk through the valley of the shadow of death? This is the example and legacy of Job.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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