If You Can Pray, You Still Have Hope

Praying Through the Bible #36 | with Daniel Whyte III

TEXT: Job 8:1-7

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 35 messages in this series.

This is message #36 titled “If You Can Pray, You Have Hope”

Many of you are familiar with the story of Job in the Old Testament. Job lived in Edom, an area to the south and east of the Dead Sea. The Bible tells us that Job was “the greatest of the men of the east.” He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and a large household, consisting of seven sons, three daughters, and multiple servants. He was also “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.”

Because the devil wanted to cause Job to turn his back on God, God allowed the devil to test Job by causing all of Job’s material possessions to be taken from him or destroyed. His ten children also lost their lives, and Job was struck with a severe disease. His wife was ready to thrown in the towel. She told Job to “curse God and die.” God had allowed the devil to take everything away from Job except his own life.

After this calamity, three of Job’s friends came by to mourn with him and counsel him regarding what he should do. These three friends are infamous for not being very comforting to Job at all. E-li-phaz defended God’s justness in allowing such a disaster to fall on Job and said this suffering must have been a result of Job sinning. Bil-dad believed that Job’s children must have sinned and said that sinners could only expect judgment from God. Zo-phar was the harshest of Job’s friends. He said that Job deserved even more suffering than he was getting and that he needed to repent.

Now, I am aware that there is some debate in theological circles over whether or not we should use the words of Job’s “miserable friends” to preach from as doctrine. But, as long as these words line up with Scripture and teaching found elsewhere in the Bible, I believe it is alright. And that is what we will do tonight.

While Job’s three friends are wrong to have assumed that Job had sinned, much of what they said is correct, theologically speaking. However, it was advice given in the wrong spirit and in the wrong context. But we can read of Job’s experience and the counsel of his friends and “eat the chicken and leave the bones” as they say.

Today, as we continue this series on prayer, we are going to focus on some of Bildad’s words from verses 5, 6, and 7 of Job chapter 8. Bildad tells Job that, if his heart is right, and if he prays to God, God will hear him and will restore his blessings on him and make him prosperous again. Now, I doubt if any of us have suffered like Job suffered. The sufferings that Job experienced in one day, most of us will not even see in a lifetime. However, there probably have been times when we have felt like Job — like all was lost, like there was no hope, as though we were at the end of our rope. It is at times like these that we can take Bildad’s advice and remember the power of prayer — because as long as we can pray, we can have hope no matter what situation we are in.

1. We can have hope that God will work on our behalf. Bildad counsels Job, “If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee…”

2. We can have hope that if we have sinned, we can return to righteousness. Not only does Bildad tell Job that God will act in response to his continual prayers, but he says in verse 6, “if thou wert pure and upright, surely now he would awake for thee.” In other words, if we have sinned, God will answer our prayers if we confess our sins and return to righteousness.

3. We can have hope that God will restore His blessings to us. Bildad tells Job that God will “awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” In other words, God will hear Job’s prayers, and restore His blessings to him. As long as we can pray, we, too, have hope that God’s blessings will be restored to us.

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