Job 13-14 (click here)
Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face. (Job 13:15)
For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. (Job 14:7)
But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he? (Job 14:10)
Job wants his day in court! He wants to stand before God and argue his case. Have you ever desired the same thing? Yet, even though Job feels wronged in his current suffering, he does not abandon his hope in God. In fact, even if God should bring his death… Job says he will still hope in God. Why?
It is because Job knows that God is sovereignly in control… that is a truth he expresses again and again. Further, Job never lets go of his belief that God is ultimately good. Even amidst all his pain and confusion… even as he would like to share his thoughts with God and argue his case… even through all of that, Job still believes that God is good. Therefore, even if God should bring death, Job hopes in him as the only one who has the power over all his suffering. God is the only one that can redeem and vindicate Job… even beyond the grave.
Like a tree that is cut down, there is still hope that it will sprout again. In that proverb, Job speaks more than he knows or understands. He can see hope for the tree, but not for himself. If he is cut down (dies), then he can no longer be vindicated this side of the grave… or can he?
Job is lamenting how hopeless his situation feels… that even a cut down tree has more hope than he… but even Job knows this is not reality… it just feels like reality. He will later express a deeper truth, namely, that God can redeem him beyond any hopelessness. God can vindicate him, even beyond the grave. Job has just as much hope as the cut down tree…actually…he has more hope. You have more hope! For a tree that is cut down may sprout again, but to what end?… to be cut down again and again and again? Yet, this is not our fate! In Christ, we have the promise that though we may be cut down by death we shall be raised unto eternal life (1 Cor 15)!
For this reason, I can say… I can even sing with joy… though he slay me, I will hope in him!
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.