Thursday, October 26, 2023

Is There Any Hope? (Job 6-7)

“What strength do I have, that I should hope?” And what is my end, that I should prolong my life? (Job 6:11).

Eliphaz questioned Job’s integrity by claiming that his tribulations were the result of his sin. Job refused to believe Eliphaz’s accusation and challenged him to provide proof to defend his argument. “What sin have I committed that has caused such calamity to fall upon me?” Job asked. In the midst of all the physical and spiritual anguish he had suffered, Job had not forsaken his God. This was the testimony Job clung to, and until Eliphaz could prove his hypocrisy, he would not believe that his suffering was due to any particular sin.

While Job was certainly justified in defending himself against the false accusations of his friend, he was not entirely in the right. He still considered death to be better than life and prayed that God kill him. He could have learned something from Eliphaz who offered hope in the faithfulness of God. But Job responded by saying, “What strength do I have, that I should hope?” Job erred because he put his hope in his own strength instead of in God.

Anytime we look to our own ability, we will lose all hope. This is especially true when it comes to our assurance of salvation. Those times when we doubt and lose our assurance, we must not look to the strength of our faith, but the strength of Him who maintains our faith. God has given us new life, and He has promised to sustain us by the strength of His arm, not by the weakness of our faith. Likewise, in the physical realm, we find our sustenance in God, for in Him we live and move and have our being. Our physical strength is frail in this life, and it grows weaker with the passing of time. But God remains the same forever, His strength never fails, and one day He will raise to perfection those who believe in Christ.

We can learn two very important lessons from Job’s response in these chapters. First, because he walked uprightly before the Lord, his conscience was clear when his friends falsely accused him. May each of us have such solid confidence when our friends and family question our integrity in the midst of suffering. Second, Job did not put his hope in God as he should have. This caused him great spiritual torment, which incited him to seek death as the only escape from his troubles.

Read Romans 8:18–39. Around the dinner table or another suitable time, role play with your spouse, children, or others in your household. Take turns being Job and Job’s friends. Using this passage, what advice would you give to Job? How is it different from the advice Eliphaz gave? How should Job respond to your advice?