Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Hope 4

 tiqva - hope; longing, expectation; literally, a cord. 

...sorrow is not a natural product of the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the earth itself...This is why, if I were you, I would appeal to God.  I would lay my cause at his feet.  He does wonderful things that confound, with an infinite number of there is still hope for the helpless and poor..  Job 5:6-16

For there to be hope for the future, hope for wonderful things, miracles, lifting up, bolstering, justice, it must be tied to the efforts of God in each.  Also, remember that these are only needed in the face of calamity.  Only when we are dry, downtrodden, bereaved, the victim of deceitful plotting and physical peril do we recognize our own weakness and tie ourselves, "hitch our wagon," to the God of the universe, who saves.  

We will only be able to avoid some of those calamities and God will provide and provide comfort, when not.  The hope God provides in difficult and calamitous times become our guide to the future:  safety which delivers us to another day; "water" for flourishing; intervention against plots against us, blinding and binding of our enemies.

The message of Job 5 confounds and upsets Job (seen in chapter 6), but even this righteous man was a victim of a plot against him by Satan himself.  God will prove himself righteous and return Job to good favor.  Can we stand the test as well?

Lord, help me keep my eyes on your favor in the midst of trial;  my hope tied to you. Amen. 

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Hope 3

 tiqva - hope; longing, expectation; literally, a cord.

Behold, you have instructed many and you have strengthened weak hands.  Your words have upheld him who was stumbling and you have made firm the feeble knees.  Now trouble has come to you and you are impatient with it.  Trouble touches you and you are dismayed. Is not your fear of God your confidence and the integrity of your ways your hope? Job 4:2-6

Ah, Job, teach yourself!  All this time you extolled God, helped others, taught others, did you not think the promise was for you or did you think you would be excluded from the general malaise of humanity?

Some would say Job's friends were no help to him.  Okay.  This is kind of blaming, but did Job need to hear the truth of his own words?  Maybe.  Did he need to be pointed to the depth of his own purported faith and comfort that he once gave to others?  I think so. 

And then I think of myself.  The lessons I have taught others, I must cling to!  The care and comfort I gave, I must now accept!  That is my hope!  When I am fraught with disaster, in a weakened state, dare I hope for the help from others or mercy from my God?  Dare I ask?

Lord, help me to know how to be vulnerable enough to ask for help and thus receive hope from others!  My connection to them - the cord that binds - is what will give me hope.  Let me prove my dependence and awe of you when trouble comes by living by the hope of you, Lord, and the proofing of my claimed dependence on you.  Amen.