STUDY ARTICLE 27
“Hope in Jehovah”
“Hope in Jehovah; be courageous and strong of heart.”—PS. 27:14.
SONG 128 Enduring to the End
1. (a) What hope has Jehovah given us? (b) What does it mean to “hope in Jehovah”? (See “Expression Explained.”)
JEHOVAH has given a beautiful hope to all those who love him. Soon he will bring an end to sickness, sorrow, and death. (Rev. 21:3, 4) He will help “the meek” who are hoping in him to transform the earth into a paradise. (Ps. 37:9-11) And he will make it possible for each one of us to have a warm, personal relationship with him that will be even more wonderful than what we enjoy now. What a marvelous hope that is! But what basis do we have for believing that God’s promises will come true? Jehovah never breaks a promise. We thus have good reason to “hope in Jehovah.” * (Ps. 27:14) We show this by waiting patiently and joyfully for our God to bring his purpose to completion.—Isa. 55:10, 11.
2. What has Jehovah already done?
2 Jehovah has already proved that he keeps his promises. Consider one outstanding example. In the book of Revelation, Jehovah promised that in our day, he would bring together people out of every nation and tribe and tongue, and he would unite them in pure worship. Today, that remarkable group of people is known as the “great crowd.” (Rev. 7:9, 10) Although consisting of men, women, and children of different races, languages, and backgrounds, that diverse group forms a peaceful, united global brotherhood. (Ps. 133:1; John 10:16) Those of the great crowd are also zealous preachers. They are always ready to share their hope of a better world with anyone who will listen. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Rev. 14:6, 7; 22:17) If you are part of the great crowd, no doubt the hope of better things to come is very precious to you.
3. What is Satan’s goal?
3 The Devil wants to rob you of your hope. His goal is to make you believe that Jehovah does not care about you and that He will not keep his promises. If Satan succeeds in robbing us of our hope, we will lose courage, and we may even stop serving Jehovah. As we will see, the Devil tried to rob Job of his hope and make him stop serving Jehovah.
4. What will we consider in this article? (Job 1:9-12)
4 In this article, we will examine the tactics Satan used in an effort to force Job to break his integrity. (Read Job 1:9-12.) We will also discuss what we can learn from Job’s example and why we need to remember that God loves us and will fulfill His promises.
SATAN TRIES TO MAKE JOB LOSE HOPE
5-6. What happened to Job in a short period of time?
5 Life was going well for Job. He enjoyed a close friendship with Jehovah. He had a large, united family, and he was very wealthy. (Job 1:1-5) But in just one day, Job lost nearly everything. First, he lost his wealth. (Job 1:13-17) Then, all his beloved children died. Think about that tragedy for a moment. Parents are devastated when one of their children dies. So imagine the shock, grief, and despair that Job and his wife felt on learning that all ten of their children had been crushed to death. No wonder Job ripped his clothes apart in mourning and collapsed to the ground!—Job 1:18-20.
6 Satan next attacked Job’s health and robbed him of his dignity. (Job 2:6-8; 7:5) At one time, Job had been highly respected in his community. People came to him for guidance. (Job 31:18) Now they avoided him. He was an outcast, rejected by his brothers, his close companions, and even by his own household servants!—Job 19:13, 14, 16.
7. (a) What did Job believe to be the reason for his suffering, but what did he refuse to do? (b) How might a Christian face a trial that is comparable to what is seen in the accompanying picture?
7 Satan wanted Job to believe that he was suffering because he had lost Jehovah’s approval. For instance, Satan used a strong wind to bring down the house where all ten of Job’s children had been enjoying a meal together. (Job 1:18, 19) He also caused fire to fall from heaven and destroy not only Job’s flocks but also the servants who were caring for them. (Job 1:16) The wind and fire obviously came from a supernatural source; hence, Job concluded that Jehovah God must have been that Source. And as a result, Job believed that he had somehow upset Jehovah. Even so, Job refused to curse his heavenly Father. Job acknowledged that over the years he had received many good things from Jehovah. He therefore reasoned that if he was happy to accept the good, he should also be willing to accept the bad. So he said: “Let the name of Jehovah continue to be praised.” (Job 1:20, 21; 2:10) Up to that point, Job had managed to deal with the severe financial, emotional, and physical challenges. But Satan was not finished with him.
8. What tactic did Satan next use on Job?
8 Satan used one more tactic on Job; he incited three false friends to chip away at Job’s sense of self-worth. These men claimed that Job’s suffering proved that he was guilty of various wrongdoings. (Job 22:5-9) They also tried to convince him that even if he was not an evildoer, any efforts he made to please God were of no value at all. (Job 4:18; 22:2, 3; 25:4) In effect, they were trying to make Job doubt that God loved him, that He would look after him, and that there was value in serving Him. Their words could have made Job feel as if his situation were hopeless.
9. What helped Job to be courageous and strong?
9 Imagine the scene. Sitting among the ashes, Job is in constant pain. (Job 2:8) His companions relentlessly attack his character and attempt to destroy his reputation. His trials weigh on him like heavy stones, while his grief over the loss of his children claws at his heart. At first, Job is silent. (Job 2:13–3:1) If Job’s companions interpret his silence as a sign that Job is going to turn his back on his Creator, they are sorely mistaken. At one point, Job—possibly raising his head and looking directly at his false friends—says: “Until I die, I will not renounce my integrity!” (Job 27:5) What helped Job to be so courageous and strong despite all his suffering? Even when he was at his lowest point, he never lost hope that his loving God would eventually bring him relief. He knew that even if he died, Jehovah would resurrect him.—Job 14:13-15.
HOW CAN WE IMITATE JOB?
10. What does the account about Job teach us?
10 The account about Job teaches us that Satan cannot force us to abandon Jehovah and that Jehovah is aware of every situation. Job’s experience can also help us to have a better understanding of the issues involved. Consider some of the specific lessons that we can learn from Job.
11. If we continue to trust in Jehovah, of what can we be assured? (James 4:7)
11 Job proved that if we continue to trust in Jehovah, we can endure any trial and successfully oppose Satan. With what result? The Scriptures assure us that the Devil will flee from us.—Read James 4:7.
12. How did the hope of the resurrection strengthen Job?
12 We need to cling to the resurrection hope. As mentioned in the preceding article, Satan often uses fear of death in an effort to cause us to renounce our integrity. In Job’s case, Satan claimed that Job would do anything, even compromise his integrity, to save his life. Satan was wrong. Even in Job’s darkest moment when death seemed inevitable, he did not compromise. His confidence in Jehovah’s goodness and his strong hope that Jehovah would eventually make things right sustained him. Job had faith that if Jehovah did not set matters straight while he was alive, He would step in and resurrect Job in the future. The hope of the resurrection was real to Job. If that hope is real to us, not even the threat of death will cause us to break our integrity.
13. Why do we need to pay attention to the tactics Satan used on Job?
13 We must pay close attention to the tactics used on Job because Satan uses similar methods on us today. Notice the accusation Satan made: “A man [not just Job] will give everything that he has for his life.” (Job 2:4, 5) In effect, Satan claims that we do not really love Jehovah God and that we will turn against Him if it means saving our life. Satan further claims that God does not love us and that He will not notice our efforts to please Him. Being forewarned, we who hope in Jehovah are not fooled by Satan’s tactics.
14. What can trials reveal in us? Illustrate.
14 We should view trials as an opportunity to learn about ourselves. The trials that Job faced helped him to identify certain weaknesses and to correct them. For one thing, he learned that he needed to cultivate humility to a greater degree. (Job 42:3) We too can learn a lot about ourselves when we are under trial. A brother named Nikolay, * who was put in prison despite suffering from severe health problems, says: “A prison is like an X-ray, showing the inner qualities of a Christian.” Once we identify our weaknesses, we can work on correcting them.
15. Whom should we listen to, and why?
15 We need to listen to Jehovah, not our enemies. Job paid close attention when Jehovah spoke to him. God reasoned with Job, in effect saying: ‘Do you see my creative power? I am aware of everything that has happened to you. Do you think that I cannot take care of you?’ Job responded humbly and with deep appreciation for Jehovah’s goodness. “My ears have heard about you,” he said, “but now I do see you with my eyes.” (Job 42:5) Job was likely still sitting among the ashes, his body riddled with sores and his children in the grave, when he said those words. Even so, Jehovah confirmed His love for Job and assured him of His approval.—Job 42:7, 8.
16. According to Isaiah 49:15, 16, what should we bear in mind when we face trials?
16 Today, too, people may insult us and treat us as if we were worthless. They may attempt to destroy our reputation as individuals or as an organization and “lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against” us. (Matt. 5:11) From Job’s account, we learn that Jehovah has confidence that we will remain loyal to him when we face trials. Jehovah loves us and will never abandon those who hope in him. (Read Isaiah 49:15, 16.) Do not pay attention to any slanderous comments made by God’s enemies! James, a brother from Turkey whose family has faced severe trials, says: “We realized that listening to lies about God’s people would discourage us. So we focused on our Kingdom hope and remained active in our service to Jehovah. As a result, we kept our joy.” Like Job, we listen to Jehovah! The lies of our enemies do not extinguish our hope.
YOUR HOPE WILL SUSTAIN YOU
17. What do you learn from the example of the faithful men and women mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11?
17 Job is just one of Jehovah’s servants who remained courageous and strong during severe trials. In his letter to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul refers to many others, calling them “a great cloud of witnesses.” (Heb. 12:1) They all went through severe trials; yet, they built an outstanding record of faithfulness to Jehovah. (Heb. 11:36-40) Were their endurance and hard work wasted? Most definitely not! Even though during their lifetime they never saw the fulfillment of all of God’s promises, they continued to hope in Jehovah. And because they were certain that they had gained Jehovah’s approval, they were confident that they would see the promises come true. (Heb. 11:4, 5) Their example can strengthen our resolve to continue hoping in Jehovah.
18. What are you determined to do? (Hebrews 11:6)
18 Today we live in a world that is going from bad to worse. (2 Tim. 3:13) Satan has not finished putting God’s people to the test. Regardless of the challenges that lie ahead, may we be determined to work hard for Jehovah, confident that “we have rested our hope on a living God.” (1 Tim. 4:10) Remember, the outcome that God gave to Job proves “that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” (Jas. 5:11) May we too remain loyal to Jehovah, certain that he will reward “those earnestly seeking him.”—Read Hebrews 11:6.
SONG 150 Seek God for Your Deliverance
^ When we think of someone who endured severe trials, we often think of Job. What can we learn from the experiences of that faithful man? We learn that Satan cannot force us to abandon Jehovah. We also learn that Jehovah is always aware of every situation. And just as Jehovah brought Job’s trials to an end, He will one day bring all our suffering to an end. If we show by our actions that we are absolutely convinced of these facts, we are among those who truly “hope in Jehovah.”
^ EXPRESSION EXPLAINED: The Hebrew word rendered to “hope” basically means to “wait for” something with eager expectation. It can also convey the idea of trusting someone or relying on him.—Ps. 25:2, 3; 62:5.
^ Some names have been changed.