Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lesson 9. Intimations of Hope

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Job

Lesson 9. Intimations of Hope


Christians are hopeful warriors of God as we study more in the book of Job. Let us gather the results from our Strong's Concordance and computer search on the actual meaning of "Job" in Hebrew. The word origin is of uncertain deviation, but the definition is "patriarch." Job also bears the name in Hebrew, the "persecuted one," or from an Arabic word meaning the "repented one" who turns to God. It was noted in the Old Testament that Job, the patriarch, was remembered for his great patience, from which we often hear, "the patience of Job."

We see Job as the perfect example of facing hard times with great losses and turmoil. This is like seeing in our everyday life the battle between Christ and Satan. Battling woes and sufferings can be depressing to the medical world, and they prescribe antidotes of medications called pills to alleviate the pain, yet the problems come back, they don't go away.

We are human, with a sinful nature, battling every temptation seen on television and in the computer world. We are just like Job, confronted with other people's concepts of God that are distorted: "But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. ... Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will" (Job 13:4, 13). This is indeed the lesson that Job learned, and it will be exactly what God's people will face at the end of time.

Job thought that the turmoil being poured out on him by Satan was from God. Job had some blind spots where it was hard for him to distinguish good from evil. Little does he know that behind the scenes, as disclosed in chapter 1, the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan was planned for him. Job has every right to voice his righteous indignation against God, with screaming and protest in God's ears. I'm glad God hears us loud and clear, better than with any hearing aid, and respects Job for speaking up from his heart.

Job himself reasoned out "the atonement," as noted in Job 13:15, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." We see the turning of hearts as a corporate body being at-one with God, in the light of Christ's sacrifice. And to be an instrument of God in our stronghold in Him, that light of faith that permeates through us is like an electric shock.

The key point of hope is expressed in the book of Job: Can a favored, righteous person hold on to their faith in God when things go wrong? In a conversation with Satan, God argues that such a person can indeed persevere, and points to his servant Job as an example. God then allows Satan to visit terrible trials upon Job to test him. We see the refining of faith of character. Satan afflicts Job with invaders, lightning claiming all his livestock, then a desert wind blows down his house, killing all of his sons and daughters, stripping him of all his possessions--he has nothing. Job still worships God, and does not give up his faith.

There were times when you saw Job constantly questioning God, asking: "Where are you, God?" Like a father to his child, God gets a chance to finally reply to Job at the end of the ordeal. God challenged Job on His greatness, asking him if he can count all the clouds in the sky, or know when the mountain goat gives birth. Job has been restored to wholeness, in family and possessions. The hope depicted in this lesson of faith is the message that has endured through the 1888 message.

"Through Job's ordeal, an interesting question was raised: Did Job endure what Christ endured? ... What saved Job from utterly disintegrating under the trial he endured was that fleeting glimpse of hope. Job was not the Saviour. In his most desperate hours, he could not suppress an inner conviction that somehow he was not alone. There was somewhere a "daysman," a vindicator, a witness in heaven, who would stand for him and make matters right. "I know that my redeemer [vindicator] liveth" (Job 19:25). Job had a conviction of righteousness that can be his only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the mediation of a Saviour. His patience depended ultimately on the patience of Another, and did not spring from his own inner innate virtue. However bitter the cup was that Job drank from, he did not drink it to its depths, nor was it as bitter as Christ tasted." [1]

Vindication is to show or to prove to be justified. It is amazing to know that Christ, in our flesh, slew the "enmity" caused by sin (Eph. 2:15), because His flesh was our flesh. We have victory through the blood of Christ, through our testimony in Him. Even more, He proved Satan's charges are false, and accomplished the vindication of God. We are called now to receive the atonement, "be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20).

Christ suffers only once (Heb. 9:26). Mankind was reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Rom. 5:10). Ellen G. White has written that "Jesus paid an infinite price to redeem the world, and the race was given into His hands." [2] The resurrection of Christ became the demonstration of the sacrifice as a perfect atonement (Rom. 4:25).

"You should hold your peace from complaining, and take your burden to Jesus, and lay your whole soul open before Him. Do not carry it to a third person. Do not lay your burden upon humanity. Say, 'I will not gratify the enemy by murmuring. I will lay my care at the feet of Jesus. I will tell it to Him in faith.' If you do this, you will receive help from above; you will realize the fulfillment of the promise, 'He is on my right hand that I should not be moved.' 'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' 'If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.'" [3]

There is also a beautiful gospel message written by one of the 1888 "messengers," E. J. Waggoner:

"Thank God for the blessed hope! The blessing has come upon all men. For 'as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life' (Rom. 5:18). God, who is no respecter of persons, 'has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places' (Eph. 1:3). The gift is ours to keep. If anyone has not this blessing, it is because he has not recognized the gift, or has deliberately thrown it away." [4]

May each day of struggles be a prayerful blessing of hope. Christ will wipe away every tear of sorrows that we encounter. Listen to the words to this old hymn written by Edward Mote, "My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less." He was an apprentice in London to a cabinetmaker who took him to church to hear a gospel message. And from this, he became an active church member.

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the vale.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found!
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!"

We are flooded with rainbows of hope throughout His Word: "The rainbow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature" (Gen. 9:16).

Precious thoughts are expressed by Paul in Romans 5:3-4: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation" (New Living Translation).

--Mary Chun, RN Care Manager, VA Community Clinic, California

[1] Robert J. Wieland, "The Atonement in Its Wider Aspect as a Vindication Before the Universe of the Character of God," January 1965.
[2] Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 372.
[3] Ellen G. White, "A Lively Hope," Review and Herald, August 6, 1889.
[4] Ellet J. Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p. 66 (Glad Tidings ed.); also quoted in Ten Great Gospel Truths That Make the 1888 Message Unique, p.11.

Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson is on the Internet at: https://youtu.be/t0U7MPJWXpA

"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at: http://1888mpm.org

Raul Diaz