The persecution of Christians reminds me of Jesus’ parable about the sower and the seed in Matthew 13. Actually, it reminds me of the condition of the soil as some of the seed was/is sown among thorns, verse 22. The thorns represent the cares of life in the NIV and the Amplified, but the Amplified includes things like glamour, pleasure, and delight as well. Yesterday we learned that the Libyan Christians who were martyred cried out to Jesus as they perished, via Christianity Today. How did they have good soil for the Word to grow in? I looked at hope.
Hope is mentioned in the Amplified Bible 195 times. The book of Job holds several mentions so I will start there. I am always careful to note who is speaking when I read Job because God said that Job’s friends did not speak correctly but that Job did not sin when he spoke. In Job 6:11, Job asks the very question on many hearts today, “And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient?” Then, in 13:15 Job says God will slay him yet Job says he will “wait for and trust” in the One he will see face to face for Job knows that only the pure in heart will see God, Matthew 5:8. The footnotes in the NIV 1986 indicate that Job’s righteousness was Christ!. That will have to be another post though, for now let us return to the rest of Job’s story.
The story of Job is of a man who loses all of his children and source of income, then his health in a test that God allowed after Satan asked God for permission to strike at him. In the end, God speaks to Job and Job says of it all in 42:5, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” with the footnote pointing to the “pure in heart shall see God” verse found in Matthew 5:8. God “blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first, 42:16.
Someone pointed me to Job many years ago. I have been thankful ever since. Interestingly, that person did not expound upon it at all but left that up to me and the Lord. Now I know that the Lord can make all things clear to us, Philippians 3:15 and Acts 2:17 .