Biblical Hope – What would life be without hope ?Conducting your own word study, with the help of a concordance, would undoubtedly bring about benefits, but to help you get started:
There are ten different Hebrew words which are translated “hope” in the Old Testament – they vary slightly in meaning, and include these meanings:
To take refuge in
To confide in
To trust in
To wait (with expectancy) for
To watch (with expectancy) for
To long for
There are two Greek words which are translated “hope” in the New Testament and the meanings are: to expect, and to anticipate with pleasure.
Many of these aspects of hope can be illustrated, or demonstrated, by what Paul writes in Romans 8:24-25 “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
Paul writes to Titus in chapter 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (we urge you to stop and meditate upon those verses).
There are a dozen or so points that we would like to make about “hope”.
1. There are people WITH hope and people WITHOUT hope!
Someone has said “hope springs eternal”. I like to say “There’s always hope”. There is a sense in which as long as a person is alive, there is hope – because there is always the opportunity to come to God and to get right with Him. Beyond the grave, there is no hope! (No purgatory!; no reincarnation!) The famous quote from Dante’s “The Inferno” is: “All hope abandon, ye who enter in.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, in Chapter 2:12-13, “that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Paul, writing to the Thessalonian believers in 1 Thes. 4:13 reminds us that, if we are believers in, and followers of, the Lord Jesus Christ, we may be saddened by the death of another believer, but that sadness is a temporary one – we do not “sorrow as others who have no hope”.
Are you a hopeful person? We are not talking about “wishful thinking”, but rather a hope that gives confidence and assurance. Do you have true hope?
“It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:26
2. What is the basis of your hope? Do you have true hope or false hopes?
Can you express the basis of your hope? Peter exhorts us to be ready to do just that in 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”
We suggest that real hope is based on that which God has said and that which God has done – and that which God has both said AND done. For instance, God foretold the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and that He would suffer and die and rise again. All those things happened – just as God said they would. The continual record throughout Scripture of God telling beforehand what would happen, is a very strong basis for believing God. Remember Abraham – we are not simply told that he believed IN God, but the he believed God (believed what God said – and thus he had a confident hope with a confident basis).
“But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp." (Job 11:20) What hope do you have?
Thinking about that which God has said:
Jeremiah writes, in Lamentations 3:21-23: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Psalm 119:49 “Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope.”
In 2 Peter 1:2-4 we read: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Study God’s word so that you know for sure what He has said!
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.” Psalm 130:5
“You are my hiding place and my shield;I hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:114
God actually works to bring about hope by the things that He does and the things that He allows. Listen, for example, to Asaph’s Psalm 78:1-7 “Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children;That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;”
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4
Paul writes in Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Hope involves future expectation based on that which God has said and done. As Paul is defending himself to King Agrippa in Acts 26,4-8 he is speaking of the hope of the resurrection – based on the fact that God has, and did, raise the dead! Paul said “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?”
Peter, in 1 Peter 1:20-21 speaks of the same thing: “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
In Hebrews 11:1 we find that faith gives assurance to hope: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
3. Sadly, there are times when hope seems to be “lost”.
In Luke 24 we read the account, following the resurrection of Jesus, of the two men on the road to Emmaus who are recounting to Jesus the events of the previous few days and in verse 21 they say: “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.” They thought their hope had been “disappointed”.
In Acts 27:18-20 we read of Paul’s shipwreck experience: “And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.”
Peter, again in 1 Peter 1, in verse 13 gives us the antidote: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”
4. Sometimes the realization, or fulfillment, of our hope is delayed
– it’s not that the fulfillment doesn’t happen, it’s just that it doesn’t always happen when we think it will (or when we think it should).
John 5 recounts an event which seems to us to demonstrate a “hope deferred”: “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”
Proverbs 13:12 states that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
We read in Hebrews 11:13 of those who “… died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Abraham was included in the “them” in that passage, and we read of him in Romans 4:18 “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” In the same chapter, beginning at verses 20-22 we read: “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
5. Hope brings Joy (sourpuss Christianity is an oxymoron)
In Psalm 33:20-22 we read: “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You."
Romans 12:12 tells us to be “rejoicing in hope”!
And in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
6. Hope brings Happiness and Blessing
“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth,The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,” Psalm 146:5-6
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.” Jer 17:7
“The hope of the righteous will be gladness,….” Proverbs 10:28
7. Hope pleases God
“The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.” Psalm 147:11
8. Hope encourages, quiets and changes countenance
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance” Psalm 42:5
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24
9. Hope enlivens
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice,…”. 1 Peter 3:3-6a
10. Hope purifies
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3
11. Hope is victorious over trials
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.” 2 Cor 4:8,9,14
12. Hope is an Anchor
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20
“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” Job 11:18
Do you have hope?
Is there hope for you?
In Ezra 10 we read an account of Israel having (once again) disregarded God’s commands and realized that there is judgment for such disobedience, they repented and we read in verse 2 “And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.”
“There is hope in your future, says the LORD,…” Jeremiah 31:17
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,” 1 Timothy 1:1
“for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:19
Do you resolve to hope?
Paul warns in Colossians 1:23 “be not moved away from the hope of the gospel”.
In Psalm 71:14 we read “But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”
And in Hebrews 6:11-12 we read: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Our prayer for you: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)