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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Jan. 21, 2007

  • 2007 Jan 21
  • COMMENTS


Living in Hope: by Waiting, Clinging, Resting, Sheltering
WNS-What's Next for Planet Earth? The Promises and Prophecies of Christ in Matthew 24 (MP3 CD)
Matthew 24:21-22

This evening join me as Jesus describes the most hopeless moment in our planets future; the moment when life is heading toward a complete extinction. This moment is somewhere near the end of the Tribulation. That where Jesus takes us in:

  • Matthew 24:21-22 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.

Hopelessness means the place where they is no more future possible. Hopelessness is when any hopes are extinguished and life goes out like an ember. The dictionary tells us— having no expectation of good or success : DESPAIRING b: not susceptible to remedy or cure c: incapable of redemption or improvement 2 a: giving no ground for hope : DESPERATE b: incapable of solution, management, or accomplishment: IMPOSSIBLE synonym see DESPONDENT - hope·less·ness noun

Jesus presents the ultimate hopeless moment for the world. A time so bad there is nothing ahead but oblivion. In the end food will be scarce, unpoisoned water will be difficult to find, the air will be laced with death—but the worst part of this moment is that all hope will be gone. Humans can live 40 days without food, 3 days without water, 8 minutes without air, But only 1 second without hope!

I describe this snapshot as:

When Christ Returns to Earth, there are Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Look at the ending that John recorded from exile on Patmos in Revelation 6.

"And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a GREAT SWORD was given to him … When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, 'Come." I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN TO THEM OVER A FOURTH OF THE EARTH, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.” (Rev. 6:4, 7-8)

What did Jesus advise as the best course of action for anyone who witnesses the beginning of these events as described in Matthew 24? Look at what He told us to do.

If you keep following Christ's words in Matthew 24 notice what He says in v. 29. Now turn over to Luke 21:28. This is the record of the same message The Olivet Discourse. Note what else Jesus said in verse 28. For us, for them, for anyone living in the end when the world (or their world) plunges into hopelessness…

  • Luke 21:28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

When you see these things—look up

Looking up for Christ equals hope. Christ's guide to surviving the worst time ever is—look for Him. And that same method works whatever situation we may face.

Hope in the Lord who alone can give you a future and a hope! Humans can live 40 days with no food, 3 days with no water, 8 minutes with no air—but humans can’t live a second without hope! What can cause God’s people to lose hope?

To find out, open with me to the Old Testament book of groanings. Or would you know it as the Old Testament book of cryings, or moanings? The title it Lamentations, the wailings of a destroyed nation in ruins and death—that is what that book is titled.

The Hebrew language of the Old Testament is a rich storehouse of words which define hope. The Old Testament is filled with examples for us of what the cause and remedy is for seasons of hopelessness. There are four Hebrew words that give us valuable insights into the many ways God can make us live in hope. Let's examine these words and see how words written thousands of years ago leap right into the twenty-first century and our lives.

  • Lamentations 3:21-25 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.

This passage reminds us of the first reason God’s people can lose hope. Often it is:

When Troubles Come in Overwhelming Waves

Jeremiah’s woes were unimaginable to our relatively peaceful lives. He lived through the death throes of the nation of Judah.

From an earthly perspective Jeremiah’s life was a failure. During his lifetime he watched the decay of God’s chosen people, the horrible destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of the nation to Babylon.

He preached for 40 years and saw no visible result among those he served. Instead those countrymen he warned for God sought to kill him if he wouldn’t stop preaching doom (Jer. 11:19-23). He had virtually no converts to show for a lifetime of ministry.

  • Jeremiah 11:19-23 But I was like a docile lamb brought to the slaughter; and I did not know that they had devised schemes against me, saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be remembered no more.” 20 But, O Lord of hosts, You who judge righteously, Testing the mind and the heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them, For to You I have revealed my cause. 21 “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, ‘Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, lest you die by our hand’— 22 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their punishment.’ ”

He had no one to find joy and comfort with as his own family and friends were involved in plots against his (12:6).

  • Jeremiah 12:6 For even your brothers, the house of your father, Even they have dealt treacherously with you; Yes, they have called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, Even though they speak smooth words to you.

He never had the joy of a godly home because God never allowed him to marry, and thus he suffered incredibly agonizing loneliness (16:2).

  • Jeremiah 16:2 “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.”

He lived under a constant threat of death , as there were plots to kill him in secret so no one would find him (18:20-23).

He lived with physical pain while he was beaten severely and them bound in wooden stocks (20:1-2). He lived with emotional pain as his friends spied on him deceitfully and for revenge (20:10).  He was consumed with sorrow and shame and even cursed the day he was born (20:14-18).

His life ended with no relief as he was falsely accused of being a traitor to his own country (37:13-14). Jeremiah was arrested, beaten, thrown into a dungeon, and starved many days (37:15-21). If an Ethiopian Gentile had not interceded on his behalf he would have died there.

  •  Jeremiah 37:13-14 And when he was in the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are defecting to the Chaldeans!” 14 Then Jeremiah said, “False! I am not defecting to the Chaldeans.” But he did not listen to him. So Irijah seized Jeremiah and brought him to the princes.
  • Jeremiah 37:15-21 Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. For they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, 17 then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?” And Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!” 18 Moreover Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What offense have I committed against you, against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’ 20 Therefore please hear now, O my lord the king. Please, let my petition be accepted before you, and do not make me return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.” 21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah to the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread from the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was gone. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.

In the end, tradition tells us he was exiled to Egypt. While faithfully preaching God's Word to the exiles he was stoned to death by his own people.

 So, overwhelming waves of troubles can make us lose hope. What else can cause us to lose hope? Often it is:

When it Hurts to even continue Living

Have you ever felt life was too painful to even go on?

Look through Lamentations 3, what are the pains in life that God uses, manages, allows and most of all—pains that HE can handle:

  • THE PAIN OF BROKEN PHYSICAL HEALTH: Lamentations 3:4 He has aged my flesh and my skin, And broken my bones.
  • THE PAIN OF DEEP EMOTIONAL STRAIN: Lamentations 3:5 He has besieged me And surrounded me with bitterness and woe.
  • THE PAIN OF PERIODS OF DARK DEPRESSION: Lamentations 3:6 He has set me in dark places Like the dead of long ago.
  • THE PAIN OF DESPERATION AND BURDEN OF BEING TRAPPED: Lamentations 3:7 He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.
  • THE PAIN OF FEELING OUT OF TOUCH, DISTANT FROM GOD AND LEFT BEHIND IN LIFE: Lamentations 3:8 Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer.
  • THE PAIN OF FRUSTRATION AND CONFUSION: Lamentations 3:9 He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
  • THE PAIN OF ANXIETY AND SADNESS: Lamentations 3:17 You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity.
  • THE PAIN OF PHYSICAL WEAKNESS AND HOPELESSNESS: Lamentations 3:18 And I said, “My strength and my hope Have perished from the Lord.”
  • THE PAIN OF BITTER AFFLICTION AND AIMLESSNESS: Lamentations 3:19 Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall.

Waiting hope

In Lamentations 3 we find the first of these four. That first Hebrew word that God gives us is describing WAITING HOPE—the word is QAVAH (6960): HOPE THAT RENEWS EXHAUSTED STRENGTH.

  • Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.

The original idea of this verb was to twist or to stretch something. It was associated with the twisting and stretching of weak strands into a strong rope. From this the word metaphorically developed into the idea of enduring under tension. This concept sprung from the fact that even a weak thread twisted together with a rope became strong. The belief grew that as we hope in the Lord's promises we are woven into His strength and strengthened to withstand the stresses of life.

Now turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Isaiah 40:31. Here God gives us a great promise given by Isaiah illustrating this word:

  • Isaiah 40:31 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.

The word translated wait in Isaiah is qavah. The major shade of meaning in this is “waiting in the expectant HOPE and being strengthened thereby.” The margin note renders it “who HOPE in the Lord,” which is more accurate. A sure hope in the future enables a person to have superhuman strength:

  • Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who [HOPE in] 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.

This is exactly the same word and hope that the patriarch Jacob testified about at the end of his 147 year long life of troubles, stress, and disasters. Genesis 49:18 I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!

King David in writing the Psalms uses this word more frequently than any other biblical writer. This word actually was one of the keys to David's life. He recognized that his human strength was never enough to meet the stresses of life.

  • Psalm 25:3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Waiting Hope delivers us from being ashamed of hard times.
  • Psalm 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Waiting Hope makes each days troubles into a lesson from God just for us.
  • Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! Waiting Hope gives us the strength we need so that we do not lose heart.
  • Psalm 37:9, 34 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. 34 Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Waiting Hope promises us that we have the victory through the Lord.

  • Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Waiting Hope focuses our lives upon the Lord.
  • Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. Waiting Hope assures us that He is hearing us.
  • Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope (yachal #3176 trusting hope the next word). Waiting Hope draws us back into God's Word.
  • Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. Waiting Hope invites God’s blessings.

Trusting hope

The second Hebrew word that God gives us is describing TRUSTING HOPE--the word is YACHAL (3176): HOPE THAT PRODUCES GREAT ENDURANCE. Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Job 13:15.

The root idea of this word is to wait for something. It came to mean an expectant waiting under extreme pressure. The scholar R. B. Girdlestone says, "Yachal occurs several times in the Book of Job and signifies a long patient waiting." A study of the usage of this word in the Book of Job gives the most accurate connotations. Job was a man going through extreme trial: he lost his great wealth, all his children, and his health-in rapid succession. He was suffering incredible and constant physical and mental pain. Yet as he thought of why God had permitted all this he says,

  • Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. [Here the word yachal means to keep on hoping with endurance under extreme pressure. Job's hope in the Lord enabled him to endure and be stabilized even under adverse conditions. ] Trusting Hope guards us from despair (remember Elijah despaired of life and wanted to die?).
  • Job 14:14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. Trusting Hope anchors our souls as Hebrews 6:19 says—in Heaven.
  • Genesis 8:12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore. Trusting Hope keeps believing even when there is no visible thing in life to see that points to a possibility of hope—just like Noah did in the ark.
  • Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord. Trusting Hope strengthens us.
  • Psalm 33:18, 22 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, 22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. Trusting Hope invites God’s blessings.
  • Psalm 38:15 For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God. Trusting Hope assures us that God hears us.
  • Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. 11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. Trusting Hope gives us a reason to go on, a reason to smile, a reason to bless others with the strength that God alone can give.
  • Psalm 71:14 But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. Trusting Hope opens our life to magnify the Lord.
  • Psalm 119:43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances. 49 Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope. Trusting Hope points us back to God's Word.
  • Psalm 119:74 Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word. 81 My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word. 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. 147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.
  • Lamentations 3:21, 24 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” Trusting Hope is choosing to remember God even in the midst of our darkest hours.

 

 

Clinging Hope

The third Hebrew word that God gives us is describing CLINGING HOPE--the word is BATACH (982): HOPE THAT INSPIRES DEEPER TRUST. Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Proverbs 3:5.

  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust [literally cling to] the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Here batach is used in the sense of hope that comes from casting one's total future upon God as a little child and trusting Him for everything. This word is most often translated to trust or to have confidence in someone-usually God. But in some contexts it is definitely used to mean hope, as in the great prophetic Twenty-second Psalm. The Messiah's thoughts while suffering on the cross are predicted here:

"But thou [God] art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me HOPE [batach] when I was upon my mother's breasts" (Psalms 22:9 KJV).

  • Psalm 37:3-5 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. Clinging Hope assures us that God is at work.
  • Psalm 40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust [cling to] the Lord. Clinging Hope puts a song in our heart that flows out of our lives in even hard times.
  • Psalm 56:3-4, 11Whenever I am afraid, I will trust [cling to] You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me. 11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Clinging Hope counteracts and removes our fears.
  • Psalm 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting [clinging to] the Lord. Clinging Hope calms us whatever we have coming at us.

Sheltering Hope

The final of the four Hebrew words for hope that God gives us is describing SHELTERING HOPE--the word is CHASAH (2620): HOPE THAT OFFERS SECURE REFUGE. Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Ruth 2:12.

  • Ruth 2:12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

This is a beautiful word for hope. Its root meaning is "to seek shelter, refuge or protection in something or someone." It is used frequently to portray little animals taking refuge in the cleft of a rock as in Psalm 104:18 The high hills are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.

Figuratively it came to be used of man's taking refuge in God from the spiritual, emotional, and physical dangers of life. On a few occasions this concept is translated HOPE. In Proverbs 14:32 this is used in a unique way: "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death" ( KJV ).When the one who has been declared righteous by believing in Jesus as his Savior faces death, he will have a hope that is a refuge from the uncertainty and fear presented by his own death.

  • 2 Samuel 22:3, 31 The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. 31 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
  • Psalm 7:1 O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me,
  • Psalm 11:1 In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”?
  • Psalm 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
  • Psalm 31:1 In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed;

Deliver me in Your righteousness.

  • Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.
  • Psalm 71:1 In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame.
  • Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
  • Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 92-93.

Robert Baker Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1948), p. 104.

Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 92-93.

Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 95.

Brown, Driver, and Briggs, p. 875.

Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 97-98.

 

 

 

 

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