The sufferings of Job are well known and his life is used as an example by many who have never read his full story, and some who do not even know he is a Biblical character. His sufferings were extreme, long and arduous. Worse than most of us can imagine.
The word HOPE appears 180 times the Bible that I read telling us that it is a relatively important theme in the word of God. In Him there is always hope, without Him there is none. This verse from the third letter of John is the last mention of hope.
After Jesus ascended to heaven, the early disciples were living in constant expectation of His return to earth. They had all seen Him be taken up to Heaven and had heard the angels say that He would come back in the same way that He had disappeared! Nobody knows when.
John was travelling when he wrote this letter, and was anticipating being back with his favourite church group. Many of us who have travelled much can sympathise with these feelings. Visiting other places is interesting, and can be exciting, but there is nothing like getting back to where you belong.
Often in the book of proverbs, wisdom and hope go together. Here we find wisdom being described as honey, which is sweet, easy to swallow, and very soothing for sore throats! As we read the Bible, we can get the picture that honey is a sure antidote for many things.
One of the challenges for parents trying to discipline their children is just how to do that in this crazy world. Sadly many do not have memories of a good childhood themselves. Where do these parents go to for advice? Where does wisdom that helps in these matters come from?
No matter what the subject of a Bible study, we can usually find an appropriate verse or two in the psalms. And HOPE, our subject for this first month of the year, is no different. David, the shepherd turned king, had many occasions in his life when things seemed hopeless.
Some of us are praying for success for some family members, and for conversion to Jesus for others. We waste our time following the crowd, or bemoaning what the world governments are doing. But each of us has a calling to fulfil and that is where our emphasis must be.
There are many in the Bible who had their hopes fulfilled. Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac. Daniel shared the den with the lions. The disciples discovered that Jesus was alive once more. Reading any one of those stories can help us to be hopeful about the future.
In the book of Ruth, Elimelek had emigrated full of hope but his hopes were dashed. And his widow was left with her two sons who went very much against family tradition when they took Moabite wives. But one wife turned out to be the saving grace for the family.