Text: JOB 14:1-2
By: ADEOYE, EMMANUEL
“Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.
The hopelessness of Job (Job 14). Zophar had assured Job that there was hope for him if only he would acknowledge his sins and repent (Job 11:13-20). But Zophar was not in Job’s situation! From Job’s point of view, his future was bleak. In verses 1-12, Job used several images to illustrate the hopeless condition of man in this world.
He is like a flower that is soon cut down, a shadow that slowly disappears, a hired man that puts in his time and then is replaced. God knows the limits of our days (7:1; 14:5; Ps 139:16). A suicide may foolishly hasten the day of death, but nobody will go beyond the limits that God has set for his or her life.
Since man is only a flower, a shadow, and a servant, why should God pay any attention to him? Since life is so short, why should God fill man’s few days with grief and pain? “So look away from him and let him alone,” prays Job (Job 14:6, NIV). “Let me have some peace before my brief life ends!” (paraphrase)
Job’s strongest image is that of the tree (vv. 7-12). Chop it down, and its stump remains, and there is always a possibility that the tree might sprout again. The tree has hope, but man has no hope. When he dies, he leaves no stump behind.
Man is more like water that evaporates or soaks into the ground; it can never be recovered again (v. 11; 2 Sam. 14:14). Man may lie down at night and awaken in the morning; but when he lies down in death, there is no assurance that he will be awakened again.
Early believers like Job did not have the revelation of future life as we now have it in Christ (2 Tim. 1:10). Passages in the Old Testament hint at future resurrection (Ps. 16:9-11; 17:15; Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2), but Job did not have any of these books to read and ponder. “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14) Job asked this important question but did not answer it.
Later, Job will make a great statement about future resurrection (19:25-26); but at this point he is vacillating between despair and hope.
In 14:13, Job asked God to give Himself a reminder to bring Job back from Sheol, the realm of the dead.
Job asked this important question but did not answer it. Later, Job will make a great statement about future resurrection (19:25-26); but at this point he is vacillating between despair and hope.
In 14:13, Job asked God to give Himself a reminder to bring Job back from Sheol, the realm of the dead. Job reminded the Lord that he was the work of God’s hands (Job 14:15), an argument he had used before (10:3). It seemed to Job that, instead of caring for His creature, God was doing nothing but keeping a record of his sins. What hope could Job have as long as God was investigating him and building a case against him?
Instead of cleansing Job’s sins, God was covering them and would not even tell Job what they were!
“Thou destroyest the hope of man,” Job complained (14:19), and he used two illustrations to make his point.
- Man seems like a sturdy mountain, but the water gradually erodes the rock, and it eventually crumbles.
- Or an earthquake might suddenly move the rocks from one place to another and change the mountain.
Death may come gradually or suddenly, but it will come; and man will go to a world where he knows nothing about what his family is doing. Job longed for that release from sorrow and pain.
When people are experiencing intense grief and pain, it is easy for them to feel that the future is hopeless and that God has forsaken them. Hopeless people feel that life is not worth living since they have nothing to look forward to but suffering and failure. They conclude that it is better for them to die than to live and be a burden to themselves and to others.
Dead hopes fade away because they have no roots, but our “living hope” gets better because it is rooted in the living Christ and His Living Word.
The assurance of resurrection and life in glory with Christ is a strong motivation for us to keep going even when the going is tough (1 Cor 15:58).
Charles L. Allen has written, “When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.” Job had not yet slammed the door, but he was getting close to doing it; and his friends were not helping him at all.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13, NASB).
- REDEEMING THE TIME –EPH 5:16
- Redeeming the time because the days are evil.
- DRAW NEARER TO GOD –JAMES 4:8a
- Draw nearer to God and he will draw nearer to you.
- CHRIST; THE HOPE OF GLORY –Col 1:27
To them God willed to make known what the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles are: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
- LABOUR FOR THE CROWN –2 TIMOTHY 4:8
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearance.
- LIVING FOR CHRIST –PHIL 1:21-22
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
James Milton black concluded that Christians have no other option than to be closer to their maker (Hymn 638)