According to the dictionary, hope is describing as “a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.” This is hope from the world’s perspective. The world sees hope as a wish or a desire. Hope, for the world, is a longing for something that may or may not take place.
The Bible teaches us a vastly different definition of hope. Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” While the world says that hope is merely a fond wish or desire, the words used for hope in the Bible teach us that hope is a deep settled confidence that God will keep His promises.
We all have battles, but do we have biblical hope? Are we resting in the sure confidence that God will do just as He has promised He would? That is the essence of hope and hope is a possession we all need to have in the midst of our battles.
OUR CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE
Declare personal faith in the Lord.
GOD IS OUR LIGHT
As light, God delivers His people from darkness – Colossians 1:13 says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”. As light God guides our steps.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
GOD IS OUR STRENGTH
As strength God delivers His people from defeat – 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:17)
Light and strength of God serve to give us hope even in the midst of battle! Because of Who our God is, we need not fear any enemy or anything that should arise against us. Satan himself is no match for our sovereign God!
GOD NEVER CHANGES
In the Psalms David often declares that his present hope in the Lord rests upon that which the Lord has done for him in the past. God did not fail him then, and He will not fail His child today.
That same confidence is ours today! The God we serve is unchangeable and he is the same God with the same power that He has always been. He has never, and He will never change. Because He has been faithful in the past, we can count on His being faithful now.
“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” (Malachi 3:6)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Think of all the things He has done; the victories He has won; the enemies He has vanquished; the mountains He has moved; the victories He has won. Think on these things and remember that the God who performed countless wonders in the past is still that same God today! Think about all of the challenges in your own life God helped you to overcome. That should give His people hope!
COMMITMENT TO GOD PROVIDES HOPE
Not only does living with our faith give us hope; but also living faithful to the Lord provides a measure of hope that cannot otherwise exist.
BE COMMITTED TO LINGERING NEAR GOD
We should have a yarning to spend our entire lives in the house of the Lord. It should be a want to be in that place where the Lord dwells and where the Lord’s presence is real. In Psalm 84:1-4, David envies the little birds that make their nests around the tabernacle. They can be near the house of God all the time, while David cannot. He has a desire to be where God is; to be in that place where God is worshiped and honoured. That is his heartbeat.
That ought to be our desire as well. We need that same passion to be where the Lord is honoured and where He is worshiped. Of course, we have the church but there ought to be a desire to find that place of closeness and intimacy with the Lord. We can have that place where we can linger in His presence all the days of our lives.
If there is a genuine desire to be near Him, it will manifest itself in clear action. There will be a commitment to prayer and to the study of the Word of God. There will be a commitment to public and private worship. Those who want to linger near the Lord will find a way. And, when we make a move toward Him, He will make a move toward us.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)
BE COMMITTED TO LOVING GOD
We cannot only be committed to being where the Lord is but should also be committed to worshiping the Lord. This should be the goal of every believer. If we are going to worship the Lord, we are going to have to do it His way. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) As we yield to the Spirit of God and worship God for who He is as He is revealed in the Word of God, we will be engaged in the business of loving Him.
BE COMMITTED TO LEANING ON THE LORD
There should be a desire to call upon the Lord, to commune with God, and to make requests of God. By declaring out utter dependence upon the Lord for the necessities of life, it becomes another image of worship. We need to look beyond our own abilities and see the limitless provisions of the Lord. We need nothing more than to be able to call upon the Lord
We have a limitless resource been given in prayer! We are invited to pray.
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and [a]mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
We are promised that God will hear and answer our prayers.
“It shall come to pass, That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you [a]ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24)
Therefore, let us also learn to lean upon Him. Instead of worry and fear, let us learn to turn to the Lord. He will see to our needs.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7; 19)
He will never fail us nor will He ever turn us away empty-handed.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)
Our commitment to Him provides hope in the day of our battles. As we Linger near Him; Love on Him and Lean on Him, we can have the absolute confidence that He will see to our needs and to the things that would cause us to worry.
OUR COMFORT IN GOD PROVIDES HOPE
In Psalm 27:5 David said, “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” A king’s pavilion was a tent that erected in the middle of the army’s encampment. The tent was then surrounded by an army of brave soldiers. With all the host of the army camped about, the king’s pavilion was the safest place on the battlefield. Those who were fortunate enough to be allowed to enter the king’s pavilion were protected by the soldiers and entertained by the king during the battle.
As the battles of life rage about us, we are safely tucked away in our King’s pavilion. The Bible tells us that “your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3) Those who have entered His pavilion are protected by Him and, even while the battles rage around them, they are entertained with the peace and joy of the King Himself. This is promise to those who will abide in that close place. No enemy can penetrate the defences and enter this private place. It is protected from the enemy!
The assurance of His sheltering place allows us to weather the storms of life with hope. This was what allowed David to face Goliath. This was the confidence that kept Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. This was the assurance that gripped the heart of Daniel. This was the knowledge that allowed Paul to continue, even when he suffered greatly.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-11)
The Holy of Holies was a place where the very presence of God dwelt and the glory of God could be seen. It was there that God took David during the battles of his life. It was there David found himself shut up with God and shut off from the world around him.
It is amazing that there is a place of solitude in a world filled with people. There is a place that you and I can flee to during the crushing battles that rage about us. A place that affords us quiet, peace and the profound presence of God. Those who have learned to abide in Him have been to that place and know the glory of it. It is a place where the enemy dares not follow. It is a place reserved for those who love the Lord their God. Have you ever been to that place? That place where God meets with you and you alone. That place where all else falls away and you are left with Him and Him alone? That is the place He invites those who abide to enter.
Stephen was in that place at the moment of his death. (Acts 7:55-56) Paul was in that place during his life. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4; Acts 27:23) It is possible for us to enter that sacred, secret place where the world dims away and God becomes larger than everything else.
David had the assurance that even when life threatens to overflow him, the Lord will set him on a rock, a place that is unchangeable, powerful and immovable. Of course, this Rock he refers to is none other than the Lord Himself.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.” (Psalm 40:1-2)
The rock referred to is a rock that juts far above the battles going on at its feet. It allows those who ride its heights to rise far above the tumult beneath.
This is the gift to all those who know Him! We are promised that we have a place of refuge that will lift us far above the stormy seas that would threaten to drown us. Like the eagle, who takes refuge above the storm until it has passed; those who abide in Him are given grace that bears them higher than the storms and keeps them safe until danger has passed. Those who wish to rise above there circumstances are given wings to do so!
“But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
The believer is required to do nothing but be in a close relationship to the Lord. These things are done by the Lord for His child.
David says that he will worship the Lord; he will praise the Lord; because of the things the Lord has done for him. Because the Lord has lifted him above the battles; because the Lord has hidden him away in the secret place; because the Lord sheltered him away from the terrors of the battles; he will praise His name.
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” (Psalm 27:6)
When hope has turned to reality in our lives; when the Lord has come through for us again and delivered us from the enemy; we should be quick to praise Him and offer to Him the worship and adoration He deserves. When He brings us through our battles, He will put us in a special place from which we can exalt His lovely Name.
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
Are you fighting some battles today? Of course, you are! But, in the midst of your battles, do you have hope? Do you have the deep settled confidence that everything is going to be alright? If you do praise the Lord, for He has already brought to that special place of blessing from which you can offer praise to His name.
But, if you lack that hope, it can be obtained. How? You can do this by reaffirming your confidence in the Lord; by renewing your commitment to the Lord; and by resting in your Comfort in the Lord. Do you need to talk to Him about your battles and about your hope? If you do, do not postpone and keep on praying.
(Main source: The Sermon Notebook)