July 2014 Article

Hope through the Lens of the Bible

(All scripture references are from the NIV)

Life can be difficult. Many of us face challenges that test our resolve to keep moving forward in life despite those very challenges. The word hope speaks of the ability to expect that the situation can change for the better.

Today I would like to offer a hope that is always sure, and that never fails. That hope is through Jesus Christ and the word of God. God’s word is full of hope and promises to those who accept the sacrifice of his son Jesus who died on the cross to free us from the bondage of sin. The first view of hope that I would like to point out is for those who do not believe in God or just have never accepted his gift of salvation. Ezekiel 18; 23 says “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” 2 Peter 3; 9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” These scriptures point out that God does care about you, and because he is the perfect loving parent, he is patient with us and understands our need for time to understand our need for him.

Now I will share more scriptures that are inspired by God to bring hope.

1 Corinthians 15; 54-58 “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

1 Peter 1; 3-6 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

Psalm 147; 11 “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

Romans 5; 2-7 “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.”

Jeremiah 29; 11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

Romans 8; 24-25 “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Romans 12; 12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 15; 4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope”

Numbers 23; 19 “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”

As I said God’s word is filled with hope, these are only a few examples. But hope is not complete without faith. Hebrews 11; 6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11; 1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is what makes hope sure. Faith is what makes you sure that God will bring what you are hoping for to come to pass.

At one time not so long ago my own faith was tested. It was only through God’s grace, and mercy, and the hope that I clung to do I now enjoy that hope revealed in my life. There were times when the situation looked hopeless, but through the prayers of others and my hope that rested in God I saw a victorious end to the matter. But before that happened I had to know and realize that if it did not turn out the way I wanted that God is still good and that he does not lie. I believe that had things not gone the way I expected that I would still have my hope resting in God. Despite what I might think, or the lies the enemy might try to bombard my mind with, I know that God does care, and he wants what’s best for me.

My hope for you is that you know God instead of knowing of him. Knowing God means that you have an intimate relationship with him, reading his word and growing in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. And when you do this you will find that your hope should rest in God, not in money, not in family or friends, not in your job, and most certainly not within yourself. God desires that you know that he created you with a desire within you to know him and rely on him by putting your trust, faith, and hope in him. He is a superior and 100 percent sure foundation upon which to rest all of your hopes and dreams. Every human being is created with a God sized void that only he can fill. Money is not dependable, people will let you down, and we do not have the power to sustain ourselves, but there is hope, and I hope that you can see that true hope rests in the hands of the creator and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. And finally, I will leave you with ONE of God’s promises. Romans 8; 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

~ Steven