Can we really live life without it?
I love the movie, "The Shawshank Redemption" – such a great story, and it has one of my favorite quotes:
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
The word hope can be both a noun (thing) and a verb (action word). The dictionary defines it this way:
Hope (noun) – desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; expectation of fulfillment or success; someone or something on which hopes are centered
Hope (verb) - to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence; to trust
Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is a resounding statement of hope:
"But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!" (Job 19:25-27)
Yes, the statement comes from Job. And it is remarkable in several ways. I would love to share with you the things I learned while studying this passage.
What did Job's original readers (and Job himself, for that matter) believe about life after death?
Well, when the book was written, Israel did not have a well-developed doctrine of the resurrection. Job became one of the first people to talk about the resurrection of the body. Later readers of the book based their views on the Old Testament. Writers in the OT described the realm of the dead as a place beneath the earth's surface to which people descend.
In the OT, the afterlife is generally regarded as a gloomy, hopeless place of no return.
However, there were occasional hints of deliverance from the grave. And it is these intimations that gave Job the hope that death might relieve him of his troubles, and that a redeemer might justify him even after death.
This is remarkable faith!
This stirring affirmation of Job's confidence comes right at the *heart* of the book – smack dab in the middle of his terrible suffering, his unmitigated pain, his endless trials.
He sees a Redeemer – (with a capital "R"!!)
In ancient Israel a redeemer was a family member who bought a slave's way to freedom or who took care of a widow. In other words, the redeemer volunteered to take responsibility for someone else.
Anyone out there remember Blue Chip Stamps? We would save those stamps, stick them in a book, and then go to a store and redeem them for merchandise. The stamps bought us something else in return.
This passage, of course, foreshadows Jesus. Those of us on this side of the cross, know that He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is our Redeemer, who traded His righteousness for our sin.
Without knowledge, without proof, without any reason to believe in the goodness of God – still he trusted that God would rescue him. And that even if he died, God's justice would triumph – even if it took a miracle of resurrection to accomplish this.
Oh, what faith that man had!
So…how about me, how about you?
Are we exhibiting this kind of faith in our lives? Remember, Job never knew about the conference between Satan and God – he never knew the "reason" for his suffering. How are we doing when we don't understand? When we're in the midst of struggles, and pain, and trials? When we are discouraged and despairing almost beyond belief? Are we willing to trust God in spite of unanswered questions?
I'll speak for me. I have moments of strong warrior, moments of cowering coward.
Oh Lord, I want to live by this faith, this confident faith – faith in what I KNOW is true. I have met the Messiah – He is my Savior, He is my Redeemer. He is the Resurrection and the Life.
He is my hope – the best hope – my only hope – and though He died, yet HE LIVES!
And I know that someday I will see Him face to face…
… I am overwhelmed at the thought!
How are you living in the hope of Jesus?
"When in doubt, search God out!"