Over three decades ago I become interested in the Bible, having drank from the heavenly cup once, I have not been tired to drink more
In this article I want t share some things about the word hope.
As stated earlier, the word hope in this book of Psalms 119:116 is “שֵׂבֶר” which when romanticized becomes śêber (phonetic spelling is say'-ber) which means expectation. It is expectantly waiting for the manifestation of something.
Some Few Things of Note On Hope
Philosophers and other intelligent people have called us to optimism, but the Lord expressly in the Bible has called us all to hope. In understanding this, I want us to see some things about this word.
i) Remembering God’s Act:
When we remember God’s acts to us in the past or to some people who are close to us, this gives us hope.
“Psa 44:1 ( To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil.) We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.
Psa 44:2 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.”
When the Israelis remembered what they have heard Yahweh do for their forefathers in the wilderness, they were happy and their hope in that God became renewed.
ii) Reading God’s Acts:
When we read of some of God’s acts we have increased hope in the Lord. Jephthah while reacting to the enemies that want to fight with the people of God wrote them based according to what he has reads (Judg. 11:12ff)
Today when believers also read of some of the things that God has done for the people of God in the bible we become motivated, our hope in the Lord becomes increased. (Isa. 38)
iv) Hope Gives Us Confidence to Confess What We Have Not Seen:
It is because of this strong hope in the Lord that Noah could confess that the world would express it’s first ever rain even when nothing like that has ever happened before.
“Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
It was by strong hope that Abraham could confess that he will return home with his son. (Gen. 22:1-12; Heb 11:17-19; Rom. 4:17-21)
“Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
iii) Hope Gives Faith to Believers’ to Look Ahead:
The hope that is established in the scriptures gives believers’ faith to look ahead, after we may have looked backwards.
“Psa 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.”
When we remembered that we have fallen sick before and God heals us, this gives us hope when we encounter another similar troubles. (Psa. 103:2-5
When we recalled several challenges that have come our ways which the Lord gives us victory over, our hope will be stronger in him on whatsoever we are passing through in the future. (Psa. 37:25; Joe. 2:26-27)
“Psa 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
v) Hope Makes Us Believe the Word of God Wholly:
Hope makes us believe the word of God as it is being said to us without questioning neither waver in our hearts nor ask for signs.
God does not want us to get to a position where we shall lose hope on what we have for long been praying for nor expecting as did Zechariah. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth has been seeking the face of the Lord for fruit of the womb for long but when they got to a certain juncture of their lives they lost hope that what they had been asking for from God would no longer be done for them again, perhaps because of their age, and the woman was no longer menstruating.
Therefore, they have thought that was how they shall continue their life, God has decided to do what he feels like doing for them, he has decided to withhold baby from them, no one can question his authority they have reasoned after a while.
“Luk 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
Luk 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Luk 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. ”
Though, according to the author of the book of Proverbs 13:12 which says that, “ hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” What we have been longing for may be delayed sometimes as the deliverance of Israelis were delayed in the land of Egypt and when they were carried to Babylon, but they were still delivered, the deliverance were not denied them.
Just as God visited Zachariah and Elizabeth you should know that God is yet in the business of miracles, as he has done in the lives of Zachariah/Elizabeth, Manoa and wife, Rich Shunnemite woman and her husband among others he will also do greater thing than that in your life.
As he has delivered Israelis when they never dreamt of deliverances again from the land of Babylon and Egypt, he is going to deliver you and yours.
As he has changed the story of that widow and paid all her debts, he is going to change your story and bless your life. As he has healed the man by the pool of Bethesda he his going to heal you, as he has saved the woman found in act of adultery from killers and given her a new life he is going to save you and give you a new life, give those you are praying for new lives in Christ Jesus.
Though the promises may take a while we have all been counseled by the word of God that we should keep hope alive, that we should wait for it for it will be fulfilled to letters at its time and would not lie.
“Hab 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
Mary, the mother of Jesus, and many other Israeli if not all of them have been expecting the coming of the messiah for long, they have read of the account of several prophets and knew how the birth would come about, but no mention of name was given in the prophesy unlike it was on Josiah the King, (1 Ki. 13:2) therefore, none among the maidens thought such could come to them.
Intriguingly after close examination and observations, by God, he decides to choose Mary and the message was taken to him that she is the one who shall be the mother of the Son of God, she never doubted the saying, never asked for sings as priest Zachariah had done, she believed the word of God brought to her wholly without wavering, without questioning. This is a rare feat! This is one of the attributes God expects of us his believers as she said, “…be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” (Lk 1:38b)
Because of her hope in the birth of the messiah alongside others she believed wholly the word never doubted it, and said it should be unto her according to the words of the angel.
This makes her different from Zechariah who though had been expectant of God’s visitation, but because the visitation he perhaps has been expecting comes through another means, he wavered in his hope and asks for sign from the angel. (Lk. 1:18)
Wavered in Hope
Asking for sign is characteristics of babies, when their parents promised them something they will ask for sign before they believed what their parent is saying to be true. God wants us to leave thjis position of babies in faith to maturity. (Heb. 5:13-14)
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