Read Job 18:16-21
"His roots dry up beneath, and his branches wither above. His memory perishes from the earth, and he has no name in the street. He is thrust from light into darkness, and driven out of the world. He has no posterity or progeny among his people, and no survivor where he used to live. They of the west are appalled at his day, and horror seizes them of the east. Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God."
• What helps you to drive out hopelessness during troubled times?
• What steps can we take to choose hope--even in the midst of misery?
• Are you looking to the world for true fulfillment? Instead, look to God. Why do you think this is a better choice?
Misery. Despair. Darkness. Sin. Bildad now returned to the themes of his first speech, describing despair in graphic detail. He insisted that all suffering is the result of sin, and he seemed to prattle on endlessly about some of the ways the wicked are punished.
And as expected, Bildad's advice continued to embitter Job. (More on that tomorrow.) But since we're on such a depressing subject, let's look at the antidote--the ultimate Source of hope for the hopeless.
Flip back to Genesis 3 and you'll find the beginning of misery--and hope. The story moves from sin and evil to shame and cover-up, broken fellowship, erected barriers, attack on God, flight from God. It's the story of the fall, out of which C. S. Lewis says "has come nearly all that we call human history--money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empire, slavery--the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God that will make him happy."
Yet the story of the fall is also one of grace--God's grace--and hope. It's the hope that began when God broke our unholy alliance with the devil and put hostility between him and us. Misery is still with us. But the time is getting shorter and the hope is getting brighter. Do these truths give you hope?
Take a moment to turn your attention to Jerusalem--an ancient city that is literally the "crossroads of life." It's the place where you can walk in the footsteps of Jesus and, at the same time, witness a chaotic culture that's torn apart by political and religious disagreements. It's a place of extreme joy--and misery.
As you soak in Israel's many sights, you can't help being reminded of an awesome truth: while the glory of this world is fleeting and flawed by strife, true fulfillment can be found by knowing intimately, loving intensely, serving passionately, and trusting completely Jesus Christ. Eternal peace is at the core of God's gift of salvation.
Just as it's written in the book of Acts, Jesus will return to the Holy Land--the same place where He went up into heaven. A restored Israel is very close to the heart of God. It's not only the restoration of a people to a land--but all people to their God. This is where misery ends and true fulfillment is found. This is what we all should be seeking.
Lord, please restore my hope in You, Lord Jesus--especially during those times when all I see is misery and all I feel is despair. Amen.