A Biblical Perspective of Hope ~ Pt. 4
Over the last several weeks, we have investigated what a biblical perspective on hope looks like. We have taken passages from Psalms and scrutinized how the Hebrew language translates hope in the King James Version Bible.
In part one of the series, we found that while hope patiently waits, it expects manifestation. During the second segment, we uncovered hope trusts while it is safely at rest. The third segment revealed hope is the rope that keeps us connected to the proper source. Today, I want to bring our series to a close by leading us to where the streams of hope originate, the Word of God. I know that’s fairly obvious and can seem a senseless statement. However, many times it’s the small things that mess us up the most. Song of Solomon 2:15 says it’s “the little foxes that spoil the vines.” So, today we will journey upstream to find that hope is eternally established in what God has promised in His word.
Psalms 146:5 says, “Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” The Psalmist begins by cautioning the reader of putting trust in princes and the sons of men, people “in whom there is no help.” Then he reveals the contrast. Unlike man, God is trustworthy, and He will help. The word hope is translated from the Hebrew word śēber which means “hope.” This is excellent news, but with both the Hebrew and Greek languages, a first-level face value definition doesn’t always provide the whole meaning of the word. That’s the case here. Śēber comes from śābar, which means “to scrutinize, by implication (of watching) to expect (with hope and patience) – hope, tarry, view, wait.” The psalmist is writing about an intense hope focused directly on the Lord his God.
Let me point out a few verses that portray the psalmist putting his hope in the Lord. First, Psalm 138:2 says, “I will worship toward thy holy temple and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” In many places in Scripture, “word” is translated from the Hebrew word dābār, which means “a word, a matter, a thing or a cause.” However, that is not the word translated in this passage. It is ʹimrâ, and it means “commandment, speech, word.” Its root is ʹēmer and means “utterance, promise, saying and command.” The root of ʹēmer is ʹāmar and means “to say.” The psalmist had an understanding that what God says is more than just words. God’s utterance is His commandment, His promise. The psalmist knew that scrutinizing and intently focusing on God and His word guaranteed receiving help. God is worthy of trust.
Secondly, Psalm 89:34 says, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” God is relating His truthfulness and trustworthiness to King David. God assured the leader that He wouldn’t go back on what He said. He wouldn’t alter His promises. Now, I don’t know about you, but that encourages me. Scripture teaches us that God does not change (Malachi 3:6) and that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God is not changing His methods or nature now. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” Those promises are yes and so be it in Jesus Christ. We can rely on Him to keep His promise.
Thirdly, Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” The word forever is translated from the Hebrew word ôlām, which means “the vanishing point, time out of mind.” God’s word, His promise, extends beyond the constraints of time and space. It is forever, an
eternal promise. The writer of Psalm 146 understood that his forever, eternal God was worthy of his intense, laser focus. There was none with the ability to help like his God.
In Psalm 119:49, 74, 81, 114, 147, and Psalm 130:5, we find an interesting, repeated phrase. Each of these verses expresses hope that is placed in the Word of God. There are various circumstances and situations that the psalmist endures, but in every instance, hope is placed in the Word of God. Could the writers of these psalms have found a secret to a successful life with the Lord that we in our modern mayhem have missed? Have we rushed by the answer to life’s perplexities? Is it so simple as gaining an intent, laser focus on the Word, the promises of God?
Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was the joy and the rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name O Lord God of hosts.” What brought joy and rejoicing to the prophet’s heart? The words, the promises, the commandments, the utterances of God brought joy when the prophet ate them. No, he wasn’t consuming paper pages literally. The prophet was feeding on the Word of God. Feeding comes from spending time in the word, time meditating, mulling a verse or passage over in our heart, sometimes for days at a time. It is allowing the Word of God to take root in our hearts, giving it ascendancy over all else. This type of feeding/focus ensures that the Word is “hidden” in our heart according to Psalm 119:11 and sinning against God is no longer an option.
The Lord instructed Joshua to keep the Word at the forefront of his heart and mind continuously. Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” When God says “prosperous” and “good success,” is He saying you’ll become a millionaire? No. Rather He is saying that the Word of God brings joy and rejoicing to our hearts. Knowing the promises of God and receiving what He has spoken is “prospering” and “being successful.”
We serve the Most High God. These things come from placing our hope in God’s word and expecting Him to keep His promises.Regardless of what trial or hardship comes, God is trustworthy. He promised in Jeremiah 1:12 that He would hasten to perform His word. We could rejoice in thinking God will hurry to perform His word, but hasten is translated from šāqad, which means “to be alert, sleepless, hence to be on the lookout, hasten, remain, wake, watch for.” God is alert, sleepless, and on the lookout to perform His word. His eyes are still running “to and for throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). We have every reason to keep our gaze riveted on our God, keeping our hope locked on His unfailing word and promise because it is His words and promises that He is keeping.
All Scripture is taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.