Healing for Our Damaged Hope
Ephesians 1:15-19 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Thank you for the privilege of praying for these loved ones. Flood their hearts and minds with light so they can know the certainty of what you want for them. Give them grace and strength to break from lesser calls. Let them see Christ clearly so they can have a mark toward which to press as they move on in Your calling.
If they are confused about what you want for their lives, I loose them so they can move with confidence in your calling. Draw them into a relationship with you that will settle them peacefully in Your calling.
If our ears are spiritually tuned, we can hear the groaning of creation. The wars, the rebellions, the anger, the frustration, the grief, the endless search for meaning are all expressions of creation’s groaning.
It longs for deliverance. This groaning will only increase as it becomes like the labor pain of a mother giving birth.
Some of us will hear this groaning and participate in creation’s deliverance. But not only is there a groaning in creation, there is a groaning in us, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
We know—maybe with an instinctive knowing—that there is a HOPE for which we are waiting. It is not yet fulfilled, but seen on the horizon. Paul called it the adoption, ...to wit the redemption of our body—Romans 8:23.
This may be beyond the ability of our mind to grasp, but it is the longing of our spirit.
Since we know not how to pray as we ought, the Holy Spirit stands ready to make the intercession for us.
He will pray in us for us,
and He will pray in us for others.
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. Romans 5:3-5a TNIV
Laying Our Damaged Hope Before the Lord
DAY 1—Receiving Healing for a Damaged Hope
The writer of Proverbs had an insight into hope that all of us need at some time or another in life. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life—Proverbs 13:12.
How many, oh, how many are the people who have nurtured some hope in their heart only to have it deferred time and again! This word deferred means to be dragged out, prolonged, given some little bit of light only to have it blown out. This weakens the inner man of anyone. It brings grief and seals in sorrow. To conclude it all, it leaves the soul hopeless—until someone, some special One, comes along.
Peter was a person who had his hope deferred. It was making of him a dreadful failure, in his own heart and before the eyes of others. He even knew the Author of hope. He lived very close to Him. But Peter didn’t catch the fire of hope that Jesus brought until after He was crucified and raised from the dead. Then the Holy Spirit came and Peter was transformed. We know that he became the spokesman for the Kingdom of God that day in Jerusalem when he stood before the crowd and explained what had happened in the upper roomwhere he and the others had been gathered. Jesus was gone, but the very Life that had lived in Him had come. It was the Spirit of the living God. The One Who had been the Life of Jesus had begun living in Peter.
I Peter 1:3-5—Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... Peter discovered that a living hope could be born in the disciples because of the resurrection of Jesus. As an Apostle, he went on tell that this hope leads us to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. But that wasn’t the end to which this hope was ready to be brought to life in whoever would know the living Lord. Those of us who know Him are kept by the power of God through faith unto a salvation ready (prepared) to be revealed in the last time.
DEAR LORD, I lay before You the damage that has come through misguided religious hope. You are my hope! I turn from my disappointment and yield this empty place in my soul to the healing power of Your Spirit. I’m yours, for the operation of that powerful gift of hope. Teach me to lean into your grace and accept your love. Heal the others who have been hurt also. Give us all a new hope. Renew our trust.
Learning to Wait on the Lord and to Hope in His Word
DAY 2—The Father of Our Faith and Our Hope
In the New Testament, we discover Paul using Abraham as an example of the hope that can become ours when our trust comes to rest in the faithfulness of the Lord.
In Romans 4:18-20 he tells of Abraham ...who against (in violation of) hope believed (was persuaded to place his confidence) in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, *So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead (he did not fix his attention on his own body and its inability to father a child), when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not (he did not hesitate or doubt) at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God…
The promise, or Covenant God had made with Abraham held the impossibility of fulfillment. It is recorded in *Genesis 15:5-6—And He(the Lord God) brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy Seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness. Abraham became the first man to believe the Lord and, thus, became “the father of the faithful.” The Seed in which he believed was, in its fulfillment, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The man who taught us to believe and to hope became the one through whose lineage our Savior came. As the end of the age is drawing on, we are called upon again to believe and to hope. The impossibility that faced Abraham was no greater than that which we face. When all hope vanishes and faith seems to be a vain thing, there will be a company of people who remain fixed in their hope with a steadfast faith. It is these who will inherit the Kingdom with the Lord Jesus.
Let us commit our hope and our faith to the Lord. It is He Who gives us our faith and from whom hope is born in us by His Spirit. Thus, it is a faith and a hope that have been tried in the fires of the ages that will be at work in us. They will carry us through the greatest tribulation to arrive in triumph at the Day of the Lord.
DEAR LORD, my faith is too weak to carry me through this trial that even now is upon our family. All I can do is yield it all up to You. I am now ready to watch and see what You will do to bring us all through the darkness that is closing in around us. Please put it within the hearts of these I name before You to believe You and to allow hope to spring up in them.
The Obedience that Faith Called Forth—Hebrews 11:8-11
DAY 3—Rejoicing in Hope of the Glory of God
I keep being drawn to Paul’s confession in Romans 5. What a confession of hope and glory! See these verses and take particular note of the hope that keeps bursting through them.
Romans 5:1-5—Therefore being justified by faith, we have (we have a fast hold on) peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace (because we have believed, we have assurance that He is favorable in His disposition toward us.) wherein we stand (in which we are settled once and for all in God’s grace), and rejoice in (kaucháomai—and we glory in; we exult in) hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in (kaucháomai—we rejoice in; we exult in) tribulations also: knowing (settled in the conviction) that tribulation (that affliction, distress) worketh patience (results in a steadfast endurance); and patience, experience (and steadfast endurance brings about our being approved); and experience, hope (being approved gives us hope): and hope maketh not ashamed (and hope is not disgraced or put to shame); because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.
What a loaded string of words we have here! They are pregnant with life and power. This is brought about when we believe that the grace He extends to us brings us into a place wherein we can stand, settled and secured. All of this—God’s grace, our faith, our standing, our tribulations, our endurance and the approval that God give us—results in a hope that will never be dishonored. It all works together with the love that is poured out liberally in our hearts.
In these verses we find justification, peace, faith, access into grace, hope, glory and a steadfast endurance. These will go with us through the time of trouble (Psalm 27:5) to see the eternal Kingdom of God come on earth. They are all Kingdom qualities imparted to us through the work of the Lord Jesus.
With regard to hope and glory, Matthew Henry has said, “There is no good hope of glory but what is founded in grace; grace is glory begun, the earnest and assurance of glory.”
But there is something more, not directly connected with hope but kin to it, that I feel we must see in this Romans statement from Paul. It is in the part where he says we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also. What takes our attention is that the word rejoice in the phrase “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” and the word glory in the phrase “we glory in tribulation also” are both from the same word in the Greek text. The word is kaucháomai, used almost exclusively by Paul in the New Testament. In Romans alone this word is translated boast, rejoice, glory and joy. The Jew makes his boast of God (Romans 2:23). We who are saved by the grace of God rejoice in hope of the glory of God (5:2). And not only so, but we glory in tribulations (5:3). We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:11).
If the boasting is turned inward toward one’s own self, it becomes offensive. But turned toward God’s grace, toward the hope that He is being glorified, toward the tribulations that come because we stand in the grace of God, or if it is a boastful joy toward God, then it becomes not only acceptable, but a rejoicing for the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, having it in our lives makes us useful for God’s Kingdom on earth.
LORD, Teach me what it means to rejoice in the hope of Your glory. I need to boast more in You, in Your grace and in Your glory. Let my testimony be a rejoicing in Who You are and in what You have done. DEAR LORD, work all of this into all of our lives. And give us the grace to rejoice in the tribulation that is bound to come upon us. Let it be seen day after day. Let the hope You are setting up in us become something contagious for others to receive into their lives.
The Forbidden Glory—Galatians 6:14
DAY 4—Love Keeps Hope from Being Put to Shame.
Romans 5:5—And hope maketh not ashamed (hope is not confounded or put to shame); because the love of God is shed abroad (poured out abundantly) in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.
The pouring out of God’s love unto us will wipe out any shame, either of our hope in Him or in our sufferings for Him. Suffering for Him, though it may go unnoticed, brings a joy with it that causes us to love Him more.
When God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts, it becomes a quickening and invigorating source for all we’re called to be or to do. His love becomes the spring of all our actions, the motivation of our obedience. It is the principle through which we love Him, for we love Him because He first loved us. This enables us to love Him because it is a love that springs from Him. It is His own love. Love is of God—I John 4:7.
The love He imparts to us becomes a fire that consumes all that is unholy in us and refines in us every passion and appetite so that our everyday lives become wholesome for His purposes. By God’s love we are furnished to every good word and work. It produces in us the mind that was in Christ. It enables us to obey the pure Law of God in its spiritual sense by loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor, any and every soul of man, as ourselves.
What does this have to do with hope? Simply this: our hope is never put to shame or confounded because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. The love that comes from God and the hope that permeates our soul are connected. Only God could bring about such a wondrous combination. It was a divine idea in the forming of man. Don’t you believe that in His Kingdom this is all coming back together in us?
GREAT REDEEMER, You knew when You began Your work in me that I was hopeless. Thank You for seeing some value in me. It was a value that I had no idea existed in me, but You esteemed me enough to redeem my soul. How I praise You for this! Now, would You please carry on a work of redeeming love in this one, and in this one...
Putting on the Breastplate of Faith and the Helmet of Love—I Thessalonians 5:8
DAY 5—Hope That Is Laid up for Us in Heaven
The mystery concerning this heavenly hope, is also a certainty born in our hearts with regard to a hope that is yet to be known. However, it can come to those who know the grace of God in truth.
Colossians 1:3-6—We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven whereof ye heard before in the Word of the Truth of the Gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew
(acknowledged) the grace of God in Truth.
What we have in this passage are five factors that comprise the salvation that is ours in Christ Jesus that become ours to embrace in our hearts. They all enfold the reconciliation that has become ours because of the propitiation brought about by the Lord Jesus Who died on our behalf.
It begins with the faith in Christ Jesus. This brings the immediate result of love, which we have for others of like faith. This is followed by an assurance of hope that we now have a place in heaven. The foundation of all this is the grace by which we are saved and which is supplied by the Lord God. Then, there is this factor that binds them all together, and without which none of the others could be certain. That is the Truth that has brought the Word of salvation to us.
How do we know what we receive is truth? We can know what we receive is truth if the faith, hope and love—these three—become ours in the instant of salvation. Their absence should cause us to wonder whether or not we have received the grace of God in truth, or not.
DEAR FATHER, send Your Spirit through all my heart and soul to place me through a spiritual checkup. If any one of the three—faith, hope or love—are lacking, please renew the work of grace in me that will restore them all. Let me be a person in Your Kingdom in whom they are all at work.
The Spiritual Checkup Chapter—I Corinthians 13:1-13
DAY 6—We Have Hope From the Comfort of the Scriptures
There is much in the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament that present us with a steadfast hope.
Romans 15:4—For whatsoever things were written aforetime (in the Scriptures of the Old Testament) were written for our learning (our instruction), that we through patience (steadfast patience and endurance) and comfort (encouragement) of the Scriptures might have (a hold on) hope (the expectation of good.)
We find this hope in the Covenants and in the accounts of ancient victories in which the Lord God displayed both His might and His mercy. The prophecies that held a vital Word for the first recipients of their message also reach through the ages like an arrow shooting toward its goal in the closing of this age. Whatever the Scripture, whatever its purpose, whoever delivered it, there is an underlying theme of the great HOPE of the ages. This hope reaches all the way back to the Garden in Eden when the Lord God commissioned the first Man and Woman to subdue the earth and bring order to its government. A fight continues to this day over this government, but with a hope only this present age knows. This hope lies in the triumph won for us by the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. Through this, we have a stronghold on the expectation of whose shall be the final rule. It will belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, and those joined with Him.
I John 3:2,3—Beloved, now are we the sons of God (now are we the tek’na, the children of God), and it doth not yet appear (it is not yet made manifest) what we shall be: but we know (assuredly) that, when He shall appear (whenever He shall become manifest), we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (just as He is). And every man that hath this hope in him (and everyone holding this hope upon himself) purifieth himself (is making himself ceremonially and morally clean and pure), even as He is pure (just as the Lord Jesus Christ is ceremonially and morallyclean and pure).
FATHER, with a sure hope in my heart, I give myself over to Your Spirit and Your Word that I might become pure for You and Your purpose as this age comes to its close. There is a hope within me that has been there since I was young, that Jesus Christ is alive. I have an assurance that He is living within my heart. Let these I hold before You come to this same assurance. Draw us all to a purity worthy of Your Kingdom.
Christ Is Revealed at the Latter Day—Col 3:4; I John 2:28
DAY 7—In the Light of the New Covenant, we can learn from that ancient man of faith, Job.
Job’s story is not so much the story of a man who trusted God, as it is the story of God who trusted a man. In the face of his loss, Job went through periods of depression. The questions of his soul were painful. But underlying his depression, with no understanding of what was happening to him, we discover his confessions of faith. Sometimes they only peep through the darkness, but they carry the light of eternity with them.
We can learn valuable lessons from his confessions. They can become foundations for our faith as we stand on the brink of what may be the most perilous time the world has ever known. A kind of hope will be born in us to carry us through to a celebration of God’s grace and faithfulness. We continue with that passage from Peter that revealed the living hope that would prepare us for the revelation of the last days.
I Peter 1:6-8—Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season (for a short while), if need be (if it be deemed necessary for the perfecting of your faith), ye are in heaviness (you have been drawn into grief) through manifold temptations (through various sorts of trials): that the trial (in order that the proving) of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth (that is subject to being destroyed), though it be tried (refined) with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing (Greek apokúlupsis, revelation, unveiling) of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
DEAR LORD, I lay at Your feet my burdens, my grief, the unbelievable difficulties my family is going through. Let the power of Your resurrection come over on my damaged hope. Renew and make me strong with hope for the days ahead. May the unveiling of Christ become a reality to me as well as those who are going through this storm with me. Let Your Spirit bring life to hope in all of us.
By the counsel of the Lord, we rest in hope.—Psalm 16:7-11
DAY 8—Job’s First Confession of Faith: A Frustration for the Devil—Job 1:21
The Book of Job tells the story of a man who lost everything, except his wife and his underlying faith. We might wonder if he could have wished to lose his wife also. She mocked his faith. They lost their sons, their daughters, their cattle, their servants, their wealth—and he lost his health. From behind the scenes, we learn it was all the design of Satan who challenged God concerning Job.
But Job’s final triumph was that he remained a worshiper of the Lord. We can learn this secret also as we take the bare Word of God and allow it to speak to our hearts. We follow Job’s story as it begins in chapter 1.
Job 1:18-19—While he was yet speaking, there came also another (messenger), and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, (the Lord) And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
dear father, hope has grown weak in my heart. I take a stand against the things that have brought an attack on my faith. I refuse to allow unbelief to rule in my heart. Forgive me for my time of doubt and worry. Cleanse my mind from the negative thoughts that have worked their way into me. I confess they shall not have a place in me any longer.
Now, FATHER, I call these names before You. In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I loose them from the satanic hold that has tried to rule them. I loose them from worry and from negativity. Please draw their hearts up close to Your heart.
A Resolution to Walk with a Perfect Heart within One’s
Own Household—Psalm 101:1-3a
DAY 9—Job’s Second Confession of Faith: Confidence in the Face of Evil—Job 2:10
Job’s wife taunted him saying, “Go ahead and bless God—and die!” In other words, she was saying: “What is your faith bringing you? Nothing!” Mocking his faith, she told him: “Go on with your faith and confidence in God. It will get you nowhere!” This same kind of taunting has moved in upon many who are trying to serve the Lord. While some declare that nothing bad can ever come into the life of a person committed to the Lord Jesus, that has not been the case with many. Jesus Himself said, In the world ye shall have tribulation (pressures that drive you): but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world—John 16:33.
Job 2:9-10—Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
FATHER, there are those in my own household who mock my faith in You. Although this brings me pain, today I am renewing my heart’s resolution to You. I resolve to bless You even while I’m in the midst of this painful situation. And, DEAR FATHER, I ask for Your blessing on these who have ridiculed my faith in You. Let hope be born in their hearts—as I maintain my own faith and hope.
DAY 10—Job’s Third Confession:A Resignation in Despair—Job 9:32,33
When Job's friends came to comfort him their theology made their comfort difficult. They said, God will not cast away a perfect man (Job 8:20). Their word perfect meant “one who is brought to completion” in his relationship with the Lord. The only answer they could come up with was that there was something he had failed to do. There was some sin of omission, some darkness in his soul, or some secret sin for which he had made no sacrificial offering. Therefore, it was necessary for God to punish him.
How many times have some of you heard, “If you had done everything you were supposed to do in relation to God, you would not be going through all this.”
In his desperation, he longed for a mediator who could come between himself and God. He knew of none. He said, For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment; (“God is not a man with whom I can argue my case,”) neither is there any DAYSMAN bewixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both—Job 9:32, 33.
Deep within his spirit—placed there by God—was a longing for the Mediator Who would come in the fullness of time—Galatians 4:4. Hope was beginning to come to birth in him. A confidence was growing in him that made him able to keep his faith in spite of what he was going through.
We might wonder if Paul had Job in his mind when he wrote I Timothy 2:5,6. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
DEAR LORD JESUS, thank You for being my Mediator. Thank You for bringing about my own reconciliation with God. Here are some people I love who seem to have no hope. Please draw then into the atonement You have accomplished by Your death for any and all of us who will repent and believe.
We are reconciled to God by Jesus Christ.—II Corinthians 5:18-21
DAY 11—Job’s fourth Confession of Faith: Trust no Matter What Happens—Job 13:15
After I was baptized in the Holy Spirit my soul hungered after the Truth of His Word. I began listening on the radio to Jack Coe, a healing evangelist who spoke of things I had never heard. Oddly, the theme song with which he began his program came from Job 13:15—Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him...
One day I heard the announcement that Jack Coe had been taken to the hospital ill. In just a few days, they announced he had died. This was in 1957. His biographer wrote that if there was ...one common theme in his preaching, it was hope, for the common man who had none. His death came not long after Nate Saint, Jim Elliot and three other missionaries died in their attempt to take the Gospel to the Aucas Indians in Ecuador. These men blazed a trail of faith in which countless others have followed. I was one who followed—not into natural death, but with a hope that would not be demolished by trouble. Some die for the cause of Christ; some of us live. Job asked, where then is my hope—who can see any hope for me?—Job 17:15. (TNIV)
Many are living through dark trouble, and some are even perishing for the cause of Christ Jesus. In fact we are seeing it in record breaking numbers! But, their lives and their death are seeds of God’s Kingdom planted for those to follow. They point us to a hope that will not perish.
Romans 14:8—For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
As a confession of his own faith,—Job said, Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.—Job 13:15. (TNIV) He meant, “Even if God kills me, I will keep my hope steadfast in Him.”
DEAR SAVIOR, I think I’m ready for whatever You want from me, but sometimes I’m not sure. I acknowledge that You redeemed me for your Own. And I want to come to the place where You hold the complete rights to all my life even if that means I might suffer or even die. Please put within me the wisdom and the grace to walk in the revelation of Your will. Let the hope you give me be an inspiration to others.
Our hope is in God.—Psalm 42:5; 42:11; 43:5
DAY 12—Job’s fifth Confession of Faith:An Advocate Stands for Me in Heaven—Job 16:19
One of Job’s most amazing confessions points to the One we know now as the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle John called Him our Advocate with the Father (I John 2:1). He is our Witness in Heaven. There was no written revelation to help Job’s faith even though the confessions born in Job’s heart reached for the only One Who could stand for him before God.
At that time there were, however, developing concepts of piety like those of his friends. Their idea was that suffering came as the result of wrong in one’s life. Job knew the judgment coming from his friends was unjust. He knew there was no cause in his life that brought the calamity he suffered. But, what he felt in his heart was not sufficient to bring him guiltless before God. He needed an Advocate with the Father. As if by a stroke of God’s mercy, while little was yet known of mercy, Job reached toward heaven and declared by faith, Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.—Job 16:19 (TNIV)
Because the judgment of our own heart is not sufficient to justify us before God we must have a viable Witness in Heaven. This passage from Hebrews testifies to us of this Witness Who is now standing before God in our behalf.
Hebrews 4:14-16—Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (TNIV)
DEAR SAVIOR, I praise You for the Love that caused You to redeemed me with Your Own blood. Thank you for holding me as I walk through the shadows, and for understanding me when no one else seems to. Thank You for putting hope in my heart when there doesn’t seem to be any way things can work out. Please put hope and faith in these whose names I now call before You. Help them see how much You love them despite the circumstances of their lives.
DAY 13—Job’s Sixth Confession of Faith:Confidence in a Redeemer—Job 16:19
Job had the hope of a redeemer. This is from the Hebrew word goel’. It means one’s nearest kinsman charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another, avenging a wrong, or, as in the case of Ruth, rescuing her from the hopelessness of widowhood (Ruth 4:1).
But it is Job who suffered the greatest and who made the most profound confession. Although there is much varied theological interpretation, the most likely interpretation of his confession refers to the restoration of his physical health. It is, however, with the hope of our greater redemption that we make it our own.
Job 19:25-27—For I know (with a knowledge that cannot be denied) that my Redeemer liveth (is living), and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (at the last He shall rise up on earth): And though after my skin (even after my skin has ceased holding me, and) worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God (yet, apart from my flesh I shall see God): Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another (and not as a stranger); though my reins be consumed within me (my innermost parts are consumed with desire for that day).
MY DEAR REDEEMER, there is the strongest conviction within our hearts that You are presently living. Although You are now in the heavens, the conviction in us grows stronger each day that at the end of this age You shall stand in triumph on earth. In that Day we shall know You. There will be nothing between us to dim our vision of Your triumph over sin and death. We praise You for this, our great hope. We thank You for the drawing power of You Spirit that did not leave us outside Your Kingdom. Oh, DEAR LORD, please draw these we call before You that they might live with the same hope.
Rejoicing in the Work of God’s Hands—Psalm 92:1-5; II Cor 2:14-16
DAY 14—A Different Understanding of Job’s sixth Confession—Job 19:24-27
Job considers the words he was about to utter of great importance, and therefore wished them to be recorded in every possible way. Any attempt to establish the true meaning of this passage is almost hopeless. Through the ages learned men and eminent critics have understood the words very differently. Some contend they refer to the resurrection of the body, the redemption of the human race by Jesus Christ. Others, with equal show of argument, contend that they refer only to Job’s restoration to health in his own latter days.
For years I have to considered that the passage refers to the latter days of this age when Christ will stand in triumph on this earth. But, in recent days my opinion has begun to change. As for the latter day stand of the Lord Jesus, there are numerous other Scriptures strengthening our understanding for that Day. But the Book of Job is his story. It’s his latter day toward which the whole story of the Book points. What does it therefore mean for us? It gives us a testimony of God’s faithfulness toward which any of us may look and be strengthened while undergoing any degree of trouble. Job could have been the first one to declare that God abideth faithful. But, it makes little difference who declared it first. The importance of the matter is that you and I can declare His faithfulness today.
Let’s see the passage in the KJV and then we’ll look at the simpler interpretation of Today's New International Version that leans toward Job’s personal redemption. We will let his testimony touch our own lives for the impending elder years that reach for all of us as we pass through our own tribulations.
Job 19:23-27—Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
This simple interpretation from Today's New International Version seems to be pretty accurate.
23 "Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (TNIV)
Job’s faith reached beyond what his eyes could see, and his body could feel, and embraced the faithfulness of God. This sets a pattern for us when we may find ourselves caught in the dark night of our soul. When there is no understanding for our mind, the belief that originates in our heart reaches for, and touches, the hem of Christ’s garment. In doing so, we discover that His triumph was accomplished for us.
DEAR LORD, all I know to do now is trust You and find You faithful. My confession is that You abide faithful, that Your faithfulness has reached me and given me hope. Please help these others who are important to me to know your faithfulness. Help them receive the hope you have to offer. Don’t give up on them.
DAY 15—Job’s Seventh Confession of Faith: God Knows What He’s Doing with Me—Job 23:8-10
This confession from Job is one of the most remarkable statements of faith ever. I believe it touches the life of us all. It’s for the times when we have no understanding as to what is happening in our life. And I think there’s hardly one of us who doesn’t have times like this. Perhaps with some of us there are more of these bewildering times than there are times when we understand everything that’s going on. It is in times like these that we learn the truth about who we really are. And we learn Who the Lord really is.
These times of bewilderment tend toward being difficult and a little fearful. Sometimes they are very fearful. But, if we will just allow the Lord to bring forth His purpose in us—indeed, if we will allow Him to finish His work in us—we can come forth from our times of trial with a renewed confidence in Him. See this that came as Job’s statement of faith and let it speak to your own heart.
Job 23:8-10—Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
What a confidence developed in Job! His hope was made strong and His understanding of God’s ways were made strong in him for a testimony unto others.
MY DEAR LORD GOD, I am ready to let go of all the fears that have been trying to encroach upon my life. Forgive me for not trusting You as I should have. But now, also teach me to praise You for bringing me through this dark and fearsome time. I’ve learned much about Your grace and Your wisdom. No longer does my hope have to be such a fragile thing. For this I praise You.
All of Job 23 is wonderfully amazing and strengthening.
Let’s take it all in.—Job 23:1-17
DAY 16—Reconsider Job’s Sixth Confession of Faith—Job 19:25-27
A few days ago we considered what Job confessed about His Redeemer. He made a bold, and astounding, confession about Him. We looked at what he said as if he were talking about the latter day of the ages when Christ shall stand on earth. To be truthful with you, I still want to hold on to that idea. But, we may be taking Job’s words out of their context in doing so. When we consider the whole of his story, we may see that his confession had reference to his own “latter day.” If we will accept this understanding, then greater can be the hope born in our own hearts.
I ask of you the liberty to consider the situation of my own life. From several sources of late, prophetic words have come to me that my days remaining will have more purpose and meaning in God’s Kingdom than all the days gone before. This month I will turn 78 years old. When first the words of revelation began coming to me about my own latter days, I was in the midst of a battle with pain that was threatening to weaken me to the point that I would be incapacitated. However, I was willing to receive the words as personal prophecies from the Lord—and to believe them.
As the demands upon the ministry the Lord has entrusted to us increased, my own ability to “perform” decreased. The biblical Word to which I attached myself was the confession of the Apostle Paul as he faced his weakness. He said, And He (the Lord God) said unto me, My grace is sufficient (an unfailing strength) for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness (“My enabling power is brought to its fullness in weakness.”) Most gladly therefore, said Paul, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power (“the enabling power”) of Christ may rest upon (find its habitation in) me—II Corinthians 12:9.
This, and the revelation we call “Ephesians Truth,” became my own, to live by it. I knew that if anything was to come forth from me in my “latter days,” it would have to be born of the Christ Who lives in me.
Let those of us who are facing our latter years open our spirits to make that same confession Job made. David helps in this.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you. (TNIV)
Let us use this scripture as a guide in our praying today:
Redeemer, We trust you because you’re a Holy. Look on us with favor as we worship you, Oh Lord. Watch over us who put our hope in your faithful love. Guard us with your shield. Keep us safe and alive even in the face of trouble. Fill our hearts with joy born of your glory. May your faithful love rest on us as we put our hope in You.
Our Own Latter Day Restoration—Job 19:23-27
DAY 17—Embracing the Hope of Glory
There is a powerful Word coming to us from Proverbs 4:18. I learned it many years ago—and it has remained in my bosom through over half a century—but sometimes it has tried to slip away from me. This has been especially so when pain increased and hope seemed dim. But, I want to discover its Truth with you again today. Let us allow the hope that bursts from it to enter the bosom of each one on us. Here is that Word as I first learned it. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
What is there that can overcome this Word? Not the feelings that arise within us, nor the attacks that come upon us from without. We can discipline our own personal feelings to give way to the Light and Truth of God’s Word. We can allow the attacks coming against us to serve us well and crowd us closer unto the acknowledgment of Christ’s life within us.
Psalm 16:8,9—I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Psalm 43:3-5—0 send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise Thee, 0 God my God. Why art thou cast down, 0 my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the Health of my countenance, and my God.
Colossians 1:27—To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory...
LORD, I set my expectation on You. With the discipline You are working into me, I turn from oppression. I acknowledge Your presence and embrace the healing that is mine through Your indwelling life. I open up to Your presence within me and Your authority over me. Others I know and love need this as well. I hold them before You that they might hope also. Help us all embrace the glory of Your presence.
The Promise of His Manifest Presence—John 14:18-21
DAY 18—The Rich Rewards of Hope
Even in the time of trouble in Israel, the Prophet Jeremiah saw hope on the horizon. That’s one of the purposes of a Prophet. While he can see the desolation approaching and the fire that will sweep through the land, he can also see beyond the hopeless time and tell of the hope that is still alive for those who will believe and look to the Lord God.
Jeremiah 17:7-8—Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose HOPE (confidence) the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
I think Jeremiah must have been inspired by Psalm 1. Let us see it and observe the pattern of life that evolves from it.
Psalm 1:1-3—Blessed is the man (Oh, the blessings of the man) that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat (the assembly) of the scornful (those who talk arrogantly). But his delight (pleasure) is in the law (the torah, the instructions) of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Even in the land that is perishing, when all around one is given over to failure, when hope seems gone, there is a prophetic eye that can see through it all and discover the HOPE that abides. There need be no sinking in despair for the soul who has placed confidence in the Lord. The writer of Hebrewssaid it well.
Hebrews 10:35—Cast not away therefore your confidence (your free and fearless hope), which hath great recompense of reward (It will bring you rich rewards.)
DEAR LORD, teach us to hold on to our hope while we are in the times of trouble. Give us the heart and eyes of a Prophet to see beyond the despair that is being thrown at us. Let our lives be like beacons of light for others so they can have hope while in their trials.
Confidence comes by abiding in Christ.—I John 1:2-8
DAY 19—The Personal Hope of our Redeemer’s Triumph
Because of our Redeemer’s triumph for us, we have a personal hope that stretches into the days before us. David reached, and touched upon this hope when he wrote, Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope—Psalm 16:9. This is from that Covenant Psalm that gave of its Word to go into the tomb with Jesus and brought Him forth alive. The resurrection of Christ, that this Word of David affected, has become the foundation of our hope today.
We make reference to the following words from Peter’s Pentecostal sermon many times. But, let’s see them yet again and have that hope within us strengthened as we consider that One…
Acts 2:24-28—Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains (birth pangs) of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden (held under the government) of it (of Death). For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before My face, for He is on My right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did My heart rejoice, and My tongue was glad; moreover also My flesh shall rest in hope: because Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell (Hades, the realm of the dead), neither wilt thou suffer (allow) Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to Me the ways of life; Thou shalt make Me full of joy with Thy countenance.
This Word, though quoted from Psalm 16, became, as it were, the Word of Christ that brought Him alive from the tomb.
DEAR LORD, as I see the power of Your eternal Word, and the power of Your resurrection, let them both give strength to the hope that lies within my heart. Because of this hope, please let my life reflect Your Life. Let me become a source of hope to others.
Being Ready Always to Give Our Testimony of Hope—I Peter 3:12-16
DAY 20—The Watchful Care of the Lord over Those Who Hope in His Mercy
See these words of HOPE from Psalm 33:18,19—Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy, deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
We cannot reach beyond the value of the following words from a man named Matthew Henry who wrote a commentary on the whole Bible in the years from 1706 to 1721. I am amazed at what they speak to our generation regarding to the above words from Psalm 33:18,19.
“God beholds all the sons of men with an eye of observation, but his eye of favor and complacency is upon those that fear Him. He looks upon them with delight, as the father on his children, as the bridegroom on his spouse. While those that depend on arms and armies, on chariots and horses, perish in the disappointment of their expectations, God’s people, under His protection, are safe, for He shall deliver their soul from death when there seems to be but a step between them and it. If He does not deliver the body from temporal death, yet He will deliver the soul from spiritual and eternal death. Their souls, whatever happens, shall live and praise Him, either in this world or in a better. From His bounty they shall be supplied with all necessaries (the necessities of life). He shall keep them alive in famine; when others die for want, they shall live, which shall make it a distinguishing mercy. When visible means fail, God will find out some way or other to supply them.”
When the spirit of anti-Christ comes to its meanest in wearing out the saints, it is an understanding like the above that will keep secure those whose hope is in the Lord.
FATHER, I will keep my hope in Your mercy. The fact is that I have no other place to keep it. There is no goodness in me that can make me worthy of anything other than Your abundant mercy. Oh, how I praise You for Your mercies! I am finding they are new every morning. Now, please let this mercy of Yours rest upon these whose names I call before Your Throne. While their merits may be lacking, their needs are great.
The mercies of the Lord provide a theme for singing for
all generations.—Psalm 89:1-4
DAY 21—God is the source of our help and of our health.
Take note of two verses from Psalm 42. They are similar to each and both have to do with our hope, yet there is a vast difference in them.
Psalm 42:5—Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.
Here the word help is from the Hebrew yashúah. This very word that means “salvation, deliverance, prosperity, victory.” Looking closely, you will find it is the root of the Name that some elect to call our Savior. Then there is the word countenance. What a revelation the Psalmist had upon writing this. It is from the Hebrew paniym which means the face, or the presence, of a person. This is amazing to the soul that will open to its fullness. God’s very presence is our salvation. Knowing this, we have a present expectation. Salvation is not something we hope for in the eternal future. It is a “now” salvation. What hope this gives us as we face the time of the end and the scheme of anti-Christ to put us down in defeat! Let us begin now to praise God for the salvation of His presence. It can be known anywhere, any time, in any situation.
Psalm 42:11—Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
What a slight difference there is in the Hebrew of these two verses. In verse 5 it is His countenance. In verse 11 it is my countenance. The word help of verse 5 and the word health of verse 11 are both from the same Hebrew word, yashúah.
His face looking upon me, His face turned toward me and His presence surrounding me, are all my salvation. My abiding salvation is Him, not something from Him. But then, it is also a matter of my countenance. It is my presence, who I am, my person. The salvation that He is enters into who I am. Just to know that the salvation He is envelops all that I am is the answer for all my sorrow, my need, my pain, my sin, my guilt and my utter lostness along the path of life.
DEAR LORD, I hold back nothing from the reach of Your mercy and grace. I yield to You all the negative forces that have tried to destroy who I am. Oh, please make me into a vessel of honor for Your Kingdom! Let Your sanctifying presence come over upon everything that has held me captive. I want to be a captive only to Your love and Your presence.
This Psalm is a Psalm of Instruction for those who have embraced
the Cross of Christ as their own.—Psalm 42:1-11
DAY 22—Psalm 71 is a Psalm of HOPE for an old man.
For Thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: Thou art my trust from my youth—Psalm 71:5. I came to know the Lord in my youth, as a teenager. As I stand back and consider the years of my greatest vigor—my middle years—I see they were perhaps some of the most important years of my life. In them, the Lord took His time to teach me how to be a “son of man.” This was something I needed to learn. I was often too busy and missed out on what it meant to be a loving, kind, considerate human being.
Now that I am blessed with an abundance of maturity, I am learning that hope is a present certainty in one’s life: But I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more—Psalm 71:14. I am not only looking for what may come, but am learning to receive each day along with the hope born of God’s Spirit for that day. There is a Spirit-born hope in me that each morning ushers in a day that will be filled with the certainty of God’s saving presence.
See verse 18 of the same Psalm. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed Thy strength (till I have made the power of Your right arm known) unto this generation, and Thy power (Your bravery and valor) to every one that is to come. This is the kind of strength and bravery that alone will suffice for God’s people in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13) when forces of anti-Christ make it their goal to wear out the saints (Daniel 7:25). My goal is to see as many of you as possible armed with a strong HOPE that will not falter or fail in the time of trouble (Psalm 27:5), nor in your old age.
DEAR LORD, make this new generation that is now approaching adulthood, into men and women who will stand in hope. Help them know the power of Your strong right arm. Help them walk upright in Your Kingdom.
How a young man can cleanse his way—Psalm 119:9-16
DAY 23—Hope makes us keep on praying.
Those of us who make the Lord the portion of our inheritance may come before Him with humble boldness to make our plea. All the more boldness may attend our praying when our plea is based upon His Promise.
I find the long succession of prayers in Psalm 119 most helpful in bringing my own supplications before the Lord. Verse 49—Remember the Word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.Oh, how many are the promises of the Lord that have come to my own soul and have brought with them a strong hope! But, I must say there are times when that hope has been tested to the point that the promise seems to have no substance to it. What then? Am I to let the hope go and seek another resource? The answer is no! Here, I remember Psalm 40:1—I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. The words I waited patiently are very revealing when viewed in the Original. They literally mean, Waiting, I waited... The word waited means to look eagerly, with expectation. Our eager expectation before the Lord must learn the discipline that Jesus taught when He presented His disciples this most unusual lesson on praying in Luke 18.
Let’s read that passage about a widow who was harassed by an adversary. She believed a certain judge could help her, but he kept brushing her off. But, her hope was not dashed. She kept on coming and coming to him. Well, let’s see what the passage itself says:
Luke 18:1-6—Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually come and attack me!' "
And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. (TNIV)
The point to this parable is that we must not give up when coming before the Lord in prayer. What got the widow’s response from the judge was her continual coming. Hope, made strong by God’s Word, gives us the incentive to pray like that widow “prayed” when she came to that judge.
LORD, give me greater desire to know the promises of Your Word to make me strong in praying. Teach me more about what Jesus meant in the above parable, so I can apply it to my praying. Let HOPE become strong in my spirit.
Another lesson from Jesus along the same line—Luke 11:1-13
DAY 24—Hope makes us keep on praying.
Let us pray this prayer about hope laid out in Psalm 119:80-81—Let my heart be sound in (be in complete accord with) Thy Statutes (the prescribed limits You have set for my life); that I be not ashamed (confounded, or confused). My soul fainteth (it is failing from exhaustion in waiting) for Thy salvation: but I hope in Thy Word. This means, “I wait with expectation to see the fulfillment of what You have promised in Your Word.”
We often have the idea that prayer must be answered immediately, but this is often not the case. The two lessons Jesus taught in Luke 11 and 18 show quite clearly that prayer can be work. I would never have taught those two lessons like Jesus taught them, but He knew. He knew that prayer was not to be a quick and easy means of getting what we want or need. Why did He spend all night in prayer if this were not the case? If you go back and read those two parables, you will see the strong hope and the strong faith that Jesus was presenting as he told of the man who needed the bread and of the widow who needed the help of the judge. The way they made their supplications is the way Jesus taught us to come before our Heavenly Father.
When hope and faith are made strong by the Word of God, when we have committed ourselves to His call and purpose, when all known sin is put away from our lives, the kind of praying that Jesus taught comes through with an amazing outflow of miracles. But, sometimes, even the slightest whisper of our heart’s request receives just as great an answer. There is much mystery in prayer, but it is hope that carries us through to see the answer. Hope is the evidence of faith born in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
DEAR LORD, I have some matters about which I‘ve prayed long and hard. The answers do not even seem possible. As I wait before You today, a faint hope is beginning to be born in my spirit. With that hope, I have a sense of faith coming back into my heart. My soul has almost failed from exhaustion, but You are reviving my heart’s expectation. I know it is with my heart that I must believe, even if my understanding remains in the dark. Where my understanding has grown weak, HOPE is returning.
I cried unto the Lord.—Psalm 18:6; 66:16-20
DAY 25—Hope that Holds Back Shame
Sometimes we make a confession before others concerning our faith, and then there seems to be no response from God. We are left embarrassed before those who heard our confession. The Psalmist seemed to know something about this.
Psalm 119:116—Uphold me according unto Thy Word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
And let me not be ashamed of my hope. The Psalmist spoke of his hope as founded on God’s Word, and now he begs for the fulfillment of that Word that his hope might be justified in the sight of others. A man would be ashamed of his hope if it turned out that it was not based upon a sure foundation. We might be ashamed of our thoughts, our words, or our deeds that spring from ourselves. But we never need be ashamed of our hope when it springs from the Word of the Lord our God.
Our nature is frail. We have no sure hope unless it is continually upheld by God’s grace. Thus, we move on, praying with the man of God who uttered the preceding prayer.
Psalm 119:117—Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually.
The word statute makes reference to the prescribed boundaries the Lord has set for our lives. When we go beyond these, we become transgressors. When we remain within the limits He has set for us and walk according to the decree He has ordered for us, our hope gains strength. Then our faith, in making supplication before His Throne, becomes certain and sure. And, oh yes, our joy finds new ground on which to rest in peace.
FATHER, hope is becoming a more sure thing in my life than ever it has before. I am finding the joy of walking within the boundaries You have set for me. And, my joy is increasing as I find new realms of obedience to Your will! Never did I know there could be this kind of joy, that joy of walking in full trust and obedience to Your will.
And, DEAR FATHER, I am finding that hope is now growing in me—at last! It is growing in my heart and touching all my life. Now, please let this hope, born of Your Spirit, become strong in these whose names I call before Your Throne.
The Bringing in of a Better Hope by Which We Draw Close to God—Hebrews 7:19
DAY 26—Coming from the Depths to Discover Hope
Psalm 130 is most remarkable in that it leads us from the depthsof hopelessness in sin to a place where hope abides. The hope we discover has its foundation in God’s Word, in His mercy and in the redemption. These are three wondrous reservoirs from which any of us may draw an abundance of hope for whatever may be encroaching upon us with the intention of robbing our hope. Take note in the following verses how the emphasis is on making supplication to the LORD.
Psalm 130:1—Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O LORD.
(TNIV) Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; St. Augustinesaid, “...when he crieth from the deep, he riseth from the deep, and his very cry allows him not to be long at the bottom.” The supplicant has cried.Every one prays; but very few “cry.” But of those who do “cry to God”, the majority would say,—”I owe it to the depths. I learned it there. I often prayed before; but never—till I was carried down very deep—did I cry.
2 Lord, hear my voice: let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
(TNIV) Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. It is the voice of my supplications that comes before the Lord. The voice means there is a sound coming forth, whether it be heard by any other person or only by the attentive ear of the Lord. The prayer need never be heard by another person unless it is for the purpose of agreement.
3 If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
(TNIV) If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? There would be no hope for any person unless it come from the heart of God. Our sin would shut us out if it were not for the mercy of Him Who will no longer keep a record of the sinner who confesses.
4 But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.
(TNIV) But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. It is in God’s forgiveness that hope turns into expectation. The fear of which the Psalmist speaks isthat deep reverence for the Lord. Iniquity shuts hope out; through God’s infinite mercy, He can set us free from its stronghold.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I HOPE.
(TNIV) I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
(TNIV) I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
“Dear Lord, I take You at Your Word, and am resolved by Your grace to wait at the door of Your promise, never to stir thence till I have my promised dole (relief), which is the forgiveness of my sins, sent out unto me. It is my hope that as I wait, I shall be rewarded with Your gracious presence. What greater reward for one’s hope is there than to know Him close and loving? Nothing!” (Matthew Henry)
DAY 27—The Lord Finds His Pleasure in Those who Hope in His Mercy.
Take note of where the Lord finds His pleasure. He has the choice of looking into the entire universe, even with so much familiarity with the stars that He calleth them all by their names. Yet it is not there that He finds His great pleasure. Nor is it in the accomplishments of great and strong men. The Psalmist who is also a Prophet—most likely David himself—tells us where the delight of the Lord indeed is.
Psalm 147:10,11—He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy.
What an amazement! He takes his pleasure in those that HOPE in His mercy. You might think He would find greater pleasure in those who keep His Law, or in those who do great deeds, or in those who excel in making the earth a better place for mankind, or in those who work to bring forth righteous government in the land. But no! His pleasure is in those who HOPE in His Mercy. This makes way for everyone of us—great and mean, excellent and inferior, brilliant and stupid—to bring pleasure to the Lord.
The word hope in the above passage is from a word meaning “to wait expectantly.” The Lord takes pleasure—indeed, He is happy—with, those that wait expectantly for His loving kindness, and His mercy, His grace, His goodness. Here, we have “hope” as a word of action. It is amazing. Hope is the primary action we can take to please the Lord.
Psalm 33:17-20 tells us more to emphasize His pleasure in us when we place our hope in him. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength (the might of a great army). Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him (them that are reverent toward Him and respect His ways), upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver (to snatch, as from a burning building; to rescue) their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for (waits expectantly for; longs for) the LORD: He is our help and our shield (our defense). This Psalm gives us hope to go with us into the pressures that will only increase as the time of the end comes on.
DEAR LORD, indeed, MY LORD! I am learning to lean upon You in my times of trouble. I praise You for all that You are becoming to me. I praise You for the protection from the traps the enemy has set along my pathway. You are bringing me—and these I hold before You—through these trials. You are even bringing us through the troubles that we have brought upon ourselves. What mercy!
DAY 28—Hope Born in the Midst of Lamentation
The Prophet Jeremiah lived in the time of Israel’s greatest departure from the Lord. His grief was almost beyond expression. He told of it in the small collection of writings we know as the Book of Lamentations. Yet, in the midst of this little book he came forth with some profound expressions of hope. An adaptation of what he said has been helpful to countless people who have sung the Gospel hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” composed by Thomas O. Chisholm in 1923. See here the Scripture that inspired that hymn.
Lamentations 3:22-26—It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed (not brought to our end; not destroyed), because His compassions fail not (they never cease). They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him (I am caused to wait with expectation before Him). The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him (makes frequent enquiry of Him). It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait (wait in silent expectation) for the salvation of the LORD.
David knew of this when he wrote Psalm 65. Verse 1 of this Psalm is a portion of Scripture we have often sung—Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Zion. The word waiteth is built on the same root as the word wait in the preceding verse from Lamentations. But in Psalm 65it occurs as a Noun making the words to mean: “Waiting for Thee is praise, O God, in Zion.”
MY DEAR LORD, I praise You for the work You finished for those of us who flee to You for refuge. What mercy! What hope is ours when we enter that place and the work becomes Yours, not ours, to perform! Teach us, Your people, more of what it means to live out of the resources of that work You finished in our behalf.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a
reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
I Peter 3:15
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