Read Job 17
17 1 My spirit is broken,
my days are cut short,
the grave awaits me.
2 Surely mockers surround me;
my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
3 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
Who else will put up security for me?
4 You have closed their minds to understanding;
therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 If anyone denounces their friends for reward,
the eyes of their children will fail.
6 “God has made me a byword to everyone,
a man in whose face people spit.
7 My eyes have grown dim with grief;
my whole frame is but a shadow.
8 The upright are appalled at this;
the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.
9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,
and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
10 “But come on, all of you, try again!
I will not find a wise man among you.
11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered.
Yet the desires of my heart
12 turn night into day;
in the face of the darkness light is near.
13 If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,
14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
15 where then is my hope—
who can see any hope for me?
16 Will it go down to the gates of death?
Will we descend together into the dust?”
Have you ever found yourself feeling like Job? Depressed, humiliated, alone, innocent, suffering, and longing for the grave. Many of us will find ourselves in circumstances that leave us relating to Job. God in His infinite kindness gives us His word to see ourselves within the pages but doesn’t leave us there without hope.
In this chapter, we find Job in the middle of a response to his friend Eliphaz. He is broken in spirit (v. 1), friends who once sat with him now mock him (v. 2), he’s humiliated (v. 6) and his eyes are dim with grief (v. 7). We aren’t alone when we feel like this. Jesus relates to us. Mark 15:29 reminds us that Jesus experienced those hurling insults at Him, despite His innocence. The humility Jesus endured was death on a cross on our behalf, Philippians 2:5-8. In John 11, we see Jesus deeply moved with grief.
Job doesn’t have the benefit of the perspective Christ gives, but in verse 9 he gives us a glimpse into his faith and teaches us. In our suffering the righteous can “hold to their ways”, in endurance and perseverance, and in time we will “grow stronger”. James 1 refers to the benefits of persevering in trials, it leads ultimately to our maturity. As with Job, God doesn’t bring us through suffering or trials in an instant, but often it is a process that grows, shapes, and sanctifies us.
We close this chapter with a familiar question as we walk through hardship, “where then is my hope?” (v. 15) In our grief and suffering we can feel hopeless. Romans 15:13 reminds us that we have a God of Hope. Jesus is a perfect reflection of that character quality. God sent Christ to die on our behalf to be a source of hope and light in a dark world. 1 Peter 1:3 says that through Christ’s resurrection we have a living hope. “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” (Hebrews 6:19, NLT)
We can be thankful today for a God that doesn’t leave us alone in our sufferings, trials, and humiliation. He understands, He sees us, He helps us endure, and ultimately has provided a source of hope in Christ to anchor us.
- Do you relate to Job? How do you respond when faced with trials and suffering?
- What verses serve as a source of hope to you?
- Verse 2 tells us that Job’s friends who once sat with him (Job 2), now are mocking him. What kind of a friend are you when others are suffering? Who could you sit with or encourage with hope today?
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