Why Does God Engender Hope?

christmas-1412789-mWhy might be the wrong question here. How or in what way might be better. The question is this: we live in a world of disappointment, of division and strife, of failure and loss, and what we have to look forward to is old age and death. What can God do to bring hope to this mess?

First, He gave us an account of how things were in the beginning. When He brought into being this world, none of the not hope stuff existed. The only disappointment was that Adam didn’t have a helpmate until God custom-made Eve. From that point on, there wasn’t any division, strife, failure, or loss. And no disappointment.

The first people had a perfect relationship with God and each other. They knew their place in the world and what their purpose was. They were safe and secure in the garden God made for them, That’s the way things were supposed to be! That was God’s original design. What He has in mind for us is peace and joy and fulfillment and belonging and significance.

God’s original design gives me hope.

But that hope would be a sense of loss if I didn’t also see that God has promised restoration. Even as God pronounced judgment on Adam, Eve, and the serpent, He declared there would come a time when the serpent’s head would be crushed.

In other words, the lies he’d fed Eve would no longer be coming out of his mouth to put doubts in her mind. His plot to undermine what God had made and declared good, would ultimately fail.

Of course, God’s promise is only as good as God is trustworthy, so that’s the next great reason for hope. God declares Himself trustworthy, then shows throughout the Bible that He is, in fact, One who does what He says He will do.

Doing what He said He would do, of course, includes following through on His warnings: if you do X, then Y will happen, but if you do A, then B. One side of the equation is blessing and the other, a curse.

The choice is essentially between righteousness and wickedness: the righteous will inherit the land, but the wicked will be cut off. It’s the theme of Psalm 37. The fact is, God was faithful to His word.

He was faithful to individuals like Abraham to whom He promised a son, and nations, and a blessing on all the nations.

He was faithful to Moses who He would not allow to enter the Promised Land because he did not treat God as holy.

He was faithful to Joseph who came out of his prison to rule Egypt and faithful to Daniel to protect him from the mouth of lions.

He was faithful to Elijah and fed him during the three-and-a-half year drought. He was faithful to Gideon by giving him and his force of 300 men a great victory over the Midianites who numbered in the hundred thousands.

That’s not a tenth of those to whom God personally showed His faithfulness, but the truth is, He also showed His faithfulness to nations.

He was faithful in His judgment of Canaan, in His destruction of Sodom, in His conflict with Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt, in His installation of Israel in the Promised Land, in His provision for them, protection of them, rule over them, judgment of them. He was faithful to Assyria in warning them of His coming wrath, then sparing them when they repented.

He was faithful to carry word of His work in the world to nations far beyond the Middle East, both during Biblical times and during the two thousand years since.

So I have hope because God has proved Himself over and over. Of course, His greatest act of faithfulness was sending His Son to earth, not so He could understand us better—He made us, so He has no trouble knowing what we’re about. No, He came to do what we could not do for ourselves. He came to deal with sin once for all. He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless the nations.

Christ’s crucifixion paid the debt I owed for my sins. But He didn’t stop there. He also rose from the dead. He is the “first fruit,” showing the way for those of us coming behind. As He has a new spiritual body, one day those of us who believe will also have a new spiritual body and live with Christ forever.

“Forever” is such a big word, it scares some people. But part of the hope God gives is in this forever. As He intended life to be in the beginning, this forever we will enjoy with Him will be better.

That’s so great, it should be enough, but the thing is, God gives us hope for the Now. He sent us His Holy Spirit to give us joy and peace. To fill our hearts with His love, to comfort us when we deal with the disappointments this life brings. In other words, He gives us a taste of what is to come so that we aren’t scared about the unknown or so distant from Him we don’t recognize His voice. It’s actually another one of His acts of faithfulness. He said over and over He would not leave us or forsake us, and here He is, taking up residence in our hearts.

What a great God we have. What a great Hope is ours!

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Published in: on December 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. I am enjoying your season of “Hope” series! Thank you! 😊👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Rebecca's post on hope […]

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