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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Jan. 25, 2007

  • 2007 Jan 25
  • COMMENTS


When Troubles Come in Overwhelming Waves
Matthew 24:29

For those of us who believe the Bible, the weeks since Christmas have been thrilling.

Jesus said that the generation that sees His plan unfold for the end of days--will witness His second coming. That promise has kept the church throughout the centuries in the Word, on their knees, and ready to go at any moment. But are we really close enough to think that we are the final generation?

In the past five months--we have lived through the second biggest, second deadliest, longest, and most powerful quake ever felt and measured by man. We have been warned that a rock is headed closer than any has ever been—and will be the first asteroid visible with the naked eye from earth. And this past Sunday, we had the highest level solar storm (G-5 in solar terms like an F-5 tornado) sighted by the NOAA.

One thing is certain: For the first time man now has the ability to track smaller asteroids that could wreak enormous destruction on this planet. This is bringing increasing anxiety about threats from the heavens not known before. This is exactly what Jesus predicted would happen in the last days. The prophetic signs of Christ's soon coming just keep multiplying. Are you ready to meet Him?

This is why we need waiting, trusting, clinging, anchoring hope! How do we get ready? Live in hope of Christ's return. Trust Him with your future. Wait upon Him to guide your daily life. Avoid whatever grieves Him. Resist fearing anything but God. Which leads us to one of the most fascinating studies I have ever engaged in—this study of Biblical Hope.

Look back at Matthew 24 again with me, only this time look at verse 13. I want to show you something amazing. Jesus says that something will characterize those who are really His children. No matter what happens before or during the tribulation—His true children endure.

  • Matthew 24:13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved."

That word endure [hupomeno] is a very interesting word. Only 18 times in the New Testament it describes the response of a genuine believer. Why not follow this trail through the New Testament and see what I mean.

  • Matthew 10:22 "And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."
  • Matthew 24:13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved."
  • Mark 13:13 "And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved."
  • Romans 12:12 "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;"
  • 1 Corinthians 13:7 "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
  • 2 Timothy 2:10, 12 "Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us."
  • Hebrews 12:2-3, 6-7 "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?"
  • James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

Now comes the fascinating part—this word is used in the Old Testament that Jesus and His apostles studied. It is the very word we have been studying the last two weeks. How do I know that?

If Jesus went to Mardels this week to buy a Bible, what version would He buy? Have you ever thought that? We can find the answer to that question in the Bible you hold tonight.

The grouping and ordering of the books in the Old Testament Hebrew Bible is different from what Christians have in their Bibles because the Christian Bible adopted the order in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.

The Septuagint, the first translation of the Hebrew Bible, was made in the third century B.C. by Jewish scribes, descendents of those trained in Ezra’s Great Synagogue of Jerusalem who were very well versed in Hebrew and Greek. This translation became very popular among Jews in the first two centuries before Christ because many Jews in those days did not understand Hebrew. Their ancestors had left Israel centuries before, and generation after generation gradually lost the ability to read the Scriptures in Hebrew. Many of the Jews in Jesus’ day used the Septuagint as their Bible. Quite naturally, the early Christians also used the Septuagint in their meetings and for personal reading; and many of the New Testament apostles quoted it when they wrote the Gospels and Epistles in Greek. The order of the books in the Septuagint is the same order in our Bibles today.

Jesus and the Apostles studied, memorized, used, quoted, and read most often from the Bible of their day which was called the LXX (Septuagint). Since Matthew wrote primarily to convince the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their promised Messiah, it follows as a matter of course that his Gospel is saturated with the Hebrew Scriptures. When Jesus quotes the Old Testament in Matthew He uses the Hebrew text 10% and the Greek LXX 90% of the time.

The Septuagint (LXX) was the Hebrew Old Testament translated into Greek. After his conquest of the Babylonian Empire, Alexander the Great promoted the Greek language throughout the known world, and thus almost everyone - including the Jews - spoke Greek. Hebrew fell into disuse, being reserved primarily for ceremonial purposes (like the use of Latin among Roman Catholics). In order to make the Jewish Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) available to the average Jewish reader, a project was undertaken under the sponsorship of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC.) to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Seventy scholars were commissioned to complete this work and their result is known as the "Septuagint" ("70") translation. (This is often abbreviated "LXX".)

According to Jewish legend, in ca. 250 BC, Ptolemy Philadelphus brought together 72 scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek in 72 days. Thus, the Latin word for 70, “Septuagint” (LXX), was the name attached to this translation. Probably translated over the period from 250 BC to 125 BC in Alexandria, Egypt, the Septuagint was the most important and widely used Greek translation of the Old Testament.

The first Hebrew word that God gives us is describing WAITING HOPE—the word is QAVAH (6960): HOPE THAT RENEWS EXHAUSTED STRENGTH. To better grasp this word, turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word which is Isaiah 40:29-31.

  • 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, But those who wait [hupomeno LXX; Strongs #5278 endure] 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."

This Hebrew verb means to ‘twist and or stretch’. In the Old Testament world it was used of making rope by twisting and stretch many weak strands into a strong rope. Then this concept of rope making became a metaphor for waiting and receiving strength during weak times to endure stretching, twisting, and painful times in life.

Those who trust God enough to take His help as He weaves His Word into our weaknesses--so that His waiting hope will make us strong. That is why He even allows all these problems, struggles, trials, and unexpected reversals into our lives. To twist and stretch us into waiting hope!

The second Hebrew word that God gives us is describing TRUSTING/ENDURING HOPE--the word is YACHAL (3176): HOPE THAT PRODUCES GREAT ENDURANCE.

For an even clearer picture, lets go back to where we started in Lamentations. Meet Jeremiah. With life in shambles, friends all dead, smoke and the stench of destruction all around everything he ever held dear—Jeremiah writes the poem that explains the pathway of hope.

  • Lamentations 3:21-25 "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope [hupomeno]. 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 [hupomeno]for Him, To the soul who seeks Him."

So when Jesus describes what one looks like that is genuine He says that when troubles come, they go to God and find help.

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. We can hope even when we feel like our life is a failure.

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 (Jeremiah 11:19-23). He had virtually no converts to show for a lifetime of ministry. We can hope even when we see no results for all we try to do for God.

  • 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). 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). We can hope even when we are alone.

  • 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."
  • 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). We can hope even when we are close to death.

  • Jeremiah 18:20-23 "Shall evil be repaid for good? For they have dug a pit for my life. Remember that I stood before You To speak good for them, To turn away Your wrath from them. 21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, And pour out their blood By the force of the sword; Let their wives become widows And bereaved of their children. Let their men be put to death, Their young men be slain By the sword in battle. 22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, When You bring a troop suddenly upon them; For they have dug a pit to take me, And hidden snares for my feet. 23 Yet, Lord, You know all their counsel Which is against me, to slay me. Provide no atonement for their iniquity, Nor blot out their sin from Your sight; But let them be overthrown before You. Deal thus with them In the time of Your anger."

He lived with physical pain while he was beaten severely and then bound in wooden stocks (20:1-2). We can hope even when we are filled with pain.

  • Jeremiah 20:1-2 "Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. 2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord."

He lived with emotional pain as his friends spied on him deceitfully and for revenge (20:10). We can hope even when we are sad and disheartened.

  • Jeremiah 20:10 For I heard many mocking: “Fear on every side!” “Report,” they say, “and we will report it!” All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying, “Perhaps he can be induced; Then we will prevail against him, And we will take our revenge on him.”

He was consumed with sorrow and shame and even cursed the day he was born (20:14-18). We can hope even when we are sorrowing.

  • Jeremiah 20:14-18 "Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! 15 Let the man be cursed Who brought news to my father, saying, “A male child has been born to you!” Making him very glad. 16 And let that man be like the cities Which the Lord— overthrew, and did not relent; Let him hear the cry in the morning And the shouting at noon, 17 Because he did not kill me from the womb, That my mother might have been my grave, And her womb always enlarged with me. 18 Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, That my days should be consumed with shame?"

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. We can hope even when we find no relief.

  • 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. We can hope even when all these things happen and here is how:

  • Lamentations 3:21-25 "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope [hupomeno]. 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 [hupomeno] for Him, To the soul who seeks Him."

So when Jesus describes what one looks like that is genuine He says that when troubles come, they go to God and find help. 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? Jeremiah did, and in the Old Testament without all the benefits and blessings we have this evening in this church age—he lived through all that pain and had ending hope.

Look through Lamentations 3, what are the pains in life that God uses, manages, allows and most of all—pains that HE can handle. And then watch as this list builds until a crescendo and that spills into overflowing hope:

  • Trusting and enduring the PAIN OF BROKEN PHYSICAL HEALTH: Lamentations 3:4 He has aged my flesh and my skin, And broken my bones.
  • Trusting and enduring the PAIN OF DEEP EMOTIONAL STRAIN: Lamentations 3:5 He has besieged me And surrounded me with bitterness and woe.
  • Trusting and enduring the Trusting and enduring the PAIN OF PERIODS OF DARK DEPRESSION: Lamentations 3:6 He has set me in dark places Like the dead of long ago.
  • Trusting and enduring 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.
  • Trusting and enduring 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.
  • Trusting and enduring the PAIN OF FRUSTRATION AND CONFUSION: Lamentations 3:9 He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
  • Trusting and enduring the PAIN OF ANXIETY AND SADNESS: Lamentations 3:17 You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity.
  • Trusting and enduring the PAIN OF PHYSICAL WEAKNESS AND HOPELESSNESS: Lamentations 3:18 And I said, “My strength and my hope Have perished from the Lord.”
  • Trusting and enduring the PAIN OF BITTER AFFLICTION AND AIMLESSNESS: Lamentations 3:19 Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall.

So when Jesus describes what one looks like that is genuine He says that when troubles come, they go to God and find help.

What a God we serve. And like He offers in Lamentations, allow God to be what you need to make it through life on hopeless earth. What ever lies ahead in the world speeding towards the end of days—God offers us hope.

  • Lamentations 3:21-25 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope [hupomeno]. 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 [hupomeno] for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.

What ever comes into your life this week, this month, or this year—God offers hope. Let Him weave your weaknesses like fragile fibers in with the countless strands of His promises in the Scriptures and stretch and twist you into waiting hope. And then when the troubles only increase, let Him bring you a fresh portion of His hope and goodness as we wait, hupomeno, enduringly hope in HIM!

 

 

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