Our next encounter with the word “hope” is still in Job. (Don’t worry, we’ll get out of Job eventually!) But considering what Job went through, of all people, he definitely was in need of hope. And in Job 14, he speaks of hope twice. He turns his attention to speaking to God about his own mortality. The whole chapter is a lesson in having hope about our future eternal life. It’s a fascinating study. Let’s look at key verses in this chapter. Even if our earthly lives never get any better, hope of our future eternal life is enough. It will be much longer and while there, we will forget the pain of earthly living.

My friend who also experienced back pain wrote, “When you’re in pain, you can’t imagine you were ever not in pain and when you’re not in pain, you can’t remember what the pain was like.” Likewise, when we’re in heaven, we won’t feel the pain we experienced on earth. Commentator Matthew Henry writes: “This chapter is proper for funeral solemnities; and serious meditations on it will help us both to get good [from] the death of others and to get ready for our own.” Because it is the hope of heaven that will sustain us. And keep in mind, we’ll enjoy Jesus’ amazing presence!

How does contemplating eternal life offer hope?

  1. You have the assurance that life’s troubles will end. Verse 1 tells us, “Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil.” At the time of turmoil, it seems like it is eternally long! But the truth is, some day we’ll won’t feel the pain any longer.

  2. Verse 2 gives us the idea that though life is serious stuff, it is fleeting. “Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.” You can actually not take the little things of life so seriously. What even a year ago did you think was the most important or traumatic thing and now you can’t even remember what happened? (Unless you’re like my friend who can quote day and time of day that something happened years ago). We can so easily make a big deal out of little things. Let’s concentrate on making life count for the things of eternity.

  3. Praise God! There is hope of justice because judgment is a-comin’. Verse 3 says, “You also open Your eyes on him And bring him into judgment with Yourself.” Christians will be found blameless at judgment but those who hurt us and are without Christ will be judged and sent to hell. Eternal life will be filled with only the righteous and we will all be empowered for perfect living. By the way, “the righteous” aren’t those who are religious and live seemingly perfect lives. That doesn’t qualify you for heaven. “The righteous” are those who are redeemed and wear Jesus’ robe of righteousness because they are cleansed from their sins. It has nothing to do with performance; it’s a gift of grace from God and included in our position in Christ as believers.

  4. And that’s also what verse 4 is about. “Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!” This tells us about our sin. We can’t make ourselves “clean.” We have no hope of heaven apart from salvation because none of us deserves or can earn heaven. Since we can’t earn it, there’s no loss of hope because we aren’t being good enough. Since entrance to heaven is a result of grace, we have assurance apart from earning it. What hope there is because we never need fear we aren’t being good enough. It’s a free gift when Jesus has redeemed us.

  5. But don’t worry. Your entrance into heaven won’t happen unless and until it’s God’s will. That’s the message of verse 5-6: “Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass. Turn Your gaze from him that he may rest, Until he fulfills his day like a hired man.” You can have the “hope,” the assurance, that the plane won’t crash if you’re in it (or below it) until it’s God’s will. You will be protected in that car accident if it’s not God’s timing for you to enter heaven. But this also means that death will come to those who are ready and to those who aren’t. Of course, we should do everything we can to extend life. But we must relinquish our demand that our efforts must work. God is in charge, not what we do.

  6. Since we work so hard to stay here on earth, verses 7, 10, 12 give us the hope that once we’re in heaven, there’s no hope of coming back. But don’t worry, we won’t want to. Verse 7, by the way, contains our first use of the word “hope” in this chapter. “For there is hope for a tree, When it is cut down, that it will sprout again,…But man dies and lies prostrate. Man expires, and where is he?…So man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep [on this earth].”

You don’t have to come back. There’s no threat that once in heaven, we’ll return to earth—because at that point, we won’t want to come back. Surely, there are those who have near death experiences, even arrive in heaven and God sends them back. But when it’s actually time to remain in heaven, no one can steal that from us.

  1. Verse 14 gives us a great “hope.” “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait Until my change comes.” We have a hope that “change,” our transformation to be like Jesus, will actually occur. We have the hope of a resurrected body that will not be in pain or be sick or suffer. What a glorious thought. I think I’m most looking forward to not being offended or emotionally hurt. Not only will our bodies be healthy but our minds and emotions as well. Nothing will bother us and we’ll only be in constant joy in Jesus’ presence!

  2. As I read through this chapter, verse 19 actually spoke to me the most. “Water wears away stones, Its torrents wash away the dust of the earth; So You destroy man’s hope.” Our hope that this earthly life will meet all our needs is folly. An eternal perspective realizes that this is only temporary and unfulfilling. As much as we don’t want to leave it and shouldn’t leave sooner than God wants, we have an incredible glorious future of living personally with God without any struggles or challenges. Believe me, I don’t want to leave my loved ones any sooner than God wants me to. I hope to watch Raphael welcome his bride at the altar and maybe cuddle my great-grandchild. But when pain, physical/mental/emotional, is overwhelming, hope of heaven is a marvelous beckoning light.

I think God also wants to strip away our hope that our present sinful ways of coping can work. Our self-protective sinful strategies may be addictions, shopping, busyness, anger, peace-at-any-cost, or a multitude of other choices. It’s anything that says, “I’ll trust this other thing rather than God to fulfill my need. We may not feel like it’s a conscious choice but everything we do is a choice. God wants to “destroy” those things that make us hunger for muddy cisterns instead of God’s living spring (Jeremiah 2:13). If something you do doesn’t satisfy your deep inner hunger for God, then it’s a false hope.

Well, Job 14 has been an incredible visit into our hope of eternal life. Which reason for hope is most meaningful for you?