Chapter 14:7-22 (ESV) - For there is hope for a tree,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease.
Though its root grow old in the earth,
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put out branches like a young plant.
But a man dies and is laid low;
man breathes his last, and where is he?
As waters fail from a lake
and a river wastes away and dries up,
so a man lies down and rises not again;
till the heavens are no more he will not awake
or be roused out of his sleep.
Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,
that you would conceal me until your wrath be past,
that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my service I would wait,
till my renewal should come.
You would call, and I would answer you;
you would long for the work of your hands.
For then you would number my steps;
you would not keep watch over my sin;
my transgression would be sealed up in a bag,
and you would cover over my iniquity.
But the mountain falls and crumbles away,
and the rock is removed from its place;
the waters wear away the stones;
the torrents wash away the soil of the earth;
so you destroy the hope of man.
You prevail forever against him, and he passes;
you change his countenance, and send him away.
His sons come to honor, and he does not know it;
they are brought low, and he perceives it not.
He feels only the pain of his own body,
and he mourns only for himself.
Question to consider: Why is the resurrection of Christ so important?
In reading today’s passage, I can’t help but hear the music to Dust in the Wind by Kansas. If Job was uncertain whether there was life after death, it stands to reason why he wavered in his hope. Was a man’s life more like a tree which could sprout anew, or was it more like a river that runs dry? It’s apparent that his friends clung to the idea of God blessing the faithful in this life because that was all they knew.
If this was the case, Job was asking God to let him die and resurrect him after God’s wrath had passed. Maybe then, God could forget about his transgression and seal it up in a bag or cover up his iniquity. Then he could experience life the way he was meant to experience it. If there is only this life, Job realized that we ultimately live and die alone. We can say that Job was experiencing a dark moment to say these things, but without the resurrection of Christ from the dead, we are hopelessly dead in our trespasses and sins, and Job was just describing reality. I honestly don’t know how people carry on when their only hope is in a world filled with death and decay.
If there is one point I drove home more than all others to my middle school religion classes this year, it’s that all of history hinges on the resurrection. If Christ rose, everything He said was true, and we can be clothed in His righteousness. This happens at the moment of our baptism, and we are then free to come to God as our heavenly father, and He will treat us as dearly loved children. We will experience the ups and downs of a world that hates us, and the Holy Spirit may lead us through times of pain as He refines us in our faith, but we will also have the peace of God which passes all understanding. This is the hope and future which Jeremiah wrote about (29:11).
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us a living hope in Christ through the resurrection of the dead. While we wait for that day to arrive, we ask for Your comfort and peace as we face the troubles and pains of this world. Help us to put our faith and trust in You. Amen.