Do you ever feel helpless? Maybe someone is gossiping about you and you have no one standing up for you. Maybe you have a loved one stepping farther away from the Lord and your words are ineffectual. Maybe your job position is perilous and you know nothing you do or say will make any difference.
Helpless means that your efforts have no effect. That's a powerless feeling and it's no fun. We humans by nature want to be in control and feel powerful. It started in Eve's choice to have it her way because she didn't trust God. She may have felt helpless leaving what she needed in God's hands. Dependence and trust in another means leaving things up to them and that's a scary feeling. Would God come through for her? Plus, she felt left out. Satan suggested that God was leaving her out of godhood status. That's a helpless feeling too, when someone is withholding something from you that is desirable. Helpless and powerless. We fight all our lives to stop that from happening. And it ends in sin.
Righteousness means allowing another, God, to choose for us and obey whatever He has for us. That's the opposite of feeling helpless. It's actually a powerful feeling because Someone greater than us knows best and is doing the best for us, never leaving us out of something that is best for us. We have a greater power on our side than we can have on our own. And that's the theme surrounding Job 5 where verse 16 says, “So the helpless has hope, And unrighteousness must shut its mouth.” (NASB).
An important word in this verse is the two letter word: “so.” It makes us look at the previous verses to see what the “so” is about. And it turns out that before this important verse that tells us the helpless has hope, we find an impressive list of the ways God has helped the helpless and thus given them hope that they are not alone and they have power in the Lord.
Read along to see what God can and did do:
"But as for me, I would seek God,
And I would place my cause before God;
Who does great and unsearchable things,
Wonders without number.
"He gives rain on the earth
And sends water on the fields,
So that He sets on high those who are lowly,
And those who mourn are lifted to safety.
"He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd,
So that their hands cannot attain success.
"He captures the wise by their own shrewdness,
And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.
"By day they meet with darkness,
And grope at noon as in the night.
"But He saves from the sword of their mouth,
And the poor from the hand of the mighty. (vs 8-15 NASB).
Eliphaz is saying these words and although Eliphaz's whole emphasis is to try to convince Job that he's suffering because of his sin (yet Job maintains his innocence), Eliphaz's words are true. Eliphaz is tweaking the point for his own advantage but what he says is true. God does work in those ways to give hope to the hopeless and helpless.
I could list any number of ways those thoughts are currently true—that God is and has helped the helpless and given them hope. My friend Pam Christian (www.pamelachristianministries.com) is now ministering to those who are unemployed because she and her husband lost everything from being unemployed years ago. Lisa Cohen (www.restministries.org) ministers to those with chronic pain. She has rheumatoid arthritis. I could go on and on.
God raises up those who came out of hopelessness and began counting on His strength and help. In fact, most ministries come out of a helpless situation, including mine. When God intervenes and gives hope to the helpless, we want to minister to others. That ministry may not be a “formal” or “official” ministry in that it has a web site, etc. but it's a ministry of help and hope even if you talk to people one on one and give them hope.
How has and how is God bringing hope to you? Eliphaz listed the ways. We can too.