Psalm 27:14: Hope 16 of ?

Psalm 27:14 is where I was headed but then I read the whole chapter.  I can not do it justice there is so much in there! 

Starting off with Lord You is my Light and my Salvation…the Refuge and Stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

Then the chapter moves on to dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.  But  two parts stopped me in my tracks:

  • verse 13:  What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! 
  • verse 8:  You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need].

How many times have I sought everything but God’s face as my vital need!?

So verse 14 says:  Wait and hope for and expect the Lord, be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring.  Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.  Sounds kinda like seeking the Kingdom first, Matthew 6:33, to me.

Pardon me while I rearrange some things in my thought closet.

 

 

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Shocking Revelation in Lamentations Regarding Hope: 15 of?

Lamentations 3:33 God does not willingly send disaster upon man or grief to the children.

I have to think about that a while.

A few days later…

So here’s the link to Lamentations 3After yesterday’s post I was glancing back over this and ended up reading to the end of the chapter.  The part that struck me begins in about verse 21 particularly how the Amplified translates:  “hope and expectation”.

Expectation?  Of what?

Verse 22 from the 1986 NIV, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

In verse 26 we are told to wait for the salvation of the Lord.  And that reminds me of Peter’s admonition in 2 Peter 3:12waiting expectantly for the Day of the Lord hastens its approach.   That reminds me of another admonition from Peter:  to place our hope fully on the grace to be given when Christ is revealed, 1 Peter 1:13.

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Hope found in Gideon’s Story: 14 of ?

Find the story in Judges 6-8.

The passage starts out with the appointment of a prophet.  Was Gideon that prophet?  We see that he tore down the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole, reminiscent of the prophet Elijah in 1Kings 18Gideon displays the wisdom of Proverbs in that he saw the dangers and hid himself, whether in the winepress or in the night, Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12.

Israelites Gideon
did evil in the sight of the Lord sent as a prophet to the Israelites
Midian prevailed against Israel prevailed against Midian
made dens in mtns, caves & strongholds in the winepress to hide the wheat v11 | the angel of the Lord called him a “mighty man of courage”
sow their seed/Midian destroyed had wheat to beat
no nourishment for Israel had wheat
no ox or sheep or donkey n/a = no mention
Midian wasted their land had a winepress and wheat
greatly impoverished see above
  When the angel of the Lord spoke to him, the angel did not say, “Do not be afraid”.

We see that Gideon stands in contrast to the Israelites as he did have wheat and was not hiding in a cave or den but was working.  Where do you think the Midianites would look for wheat?  In the fields or in the threshing floors during its season.  I see Gideon’s use of the winepress as inventive and clever – not the season for the winepress!  Obviously it worked for Gideon.

Another think (used deliberately) about Gideon is his conversation with the angel of the Lord.  I notice that the writer does not describe Gideon as afraid, startling at the man under the tree, nor does the angel tell him, “Do not be afraid” as is often the case.  It is almost as if the two were acquainted with each other.  The writer goes so far as to state that when Gideon realized it was the Lord, then he was afraid.  Psalm 111: 10 and Proverbs 1:7  tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom so we understand that this is not foolishness on Gideon’s part.

How or why does Gideon’s story give me hope?  First, Gideon was somehow familiar enough with the Lord that a conversation took place.  Second, Gideon had food.  Third, he had a place to work in safety despite the surrounding circumstances.  Fourth, Gideon had wisdom and we know that every good and perfect gift comes from above, James 1.  Last but not least, when the people cried out to the Lord in anguish, He heard and answered.  Gideon’s  story tells me to turn my  heart to God and sooner is better than later.

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Psalm 22:29 : Hope 13 of ?

In Psalm 22:9 David tells us God caused him to “hope” and “believe” from infancy.  This passage always reminds me of the nursery at the church where I spent a lot of time.  As soon as a baby could sit up, they were placed in jump chairs in class called “Cradle Roll”.  In Cradle Roll, Bible stories were told and sang and I grew up with the Lord unfolding the stories of David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the Exodus in my head and heart.

I remember coming to an age where I could read to myself and I began searching out those stories.  I do not know how the ladies who taught Cradle Roll presented the stories nor do I remember that we learned all the graphic details as babies.  I remember reading and thinking, “That explains a lot!”  As a baby some of the words were big words that I did not understand and I wonder if they told us the stories straight from the Bible and we were just too young to grasp everything.

My heart clung to those stories even when, in my mind, I chose not to.  I can testify that the Word that departed from God’s mouth accomplished a work in my heart, mind, and life, Isaiah 55:11.

 

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Rahab’s Story Gives Me Hope: 12 of

There are two Rahabs in the Bible.  This post is about the one who lived in Jericho; believed God; hid the spies Caleb and Joshua sent by Moses; and wound up marrying Caleb.

I wanted to go through the genealogies in Matthew and Luke to examine the real people filling Jesus’ family tree but all of the translations say something like, “he (Jesus) was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph” (emphasis mine).  Paul says have nothing to do with endless genealogies in 1 Timothy 1:4 so I may be in disobedience except that this is not endless.

I am not sure what to make of that.  We know Jesus holds David’s throne because of God’s promise to Abraham and to David….a child born of the promise.  Hmm.

Then I happened to notice that Rahab was the only woman mentioned in the genealogies and in that part of Hebrews we like to call the “Hall of Faith”:  Rahab, the prostitute, Joshua 2, Joshua 6 , Matthew 1:5 , and Hebrews 11:31.

If Rahab had faith maybe I can, too.

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The Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living: Hope 11 of?

I have been without a job for a few months and have no unemployment insurance.  Even so, the Lord put it on someone’s heart to provide enough funds for me to pay the bills.  Whenever I doubt the Lord’s goodness I remember Deuteronomy 6:7:  talk about the Lord and His commands as you walk along the road, as you sit down to eat, and as you lay down to sleep.  1 Peter 2:9 gives the New Testament version:  declare the works and praises of the Lord.

 

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1 Chronicles and Hope: 10 of ?

Scripture reference for this post:  1 Chronicles 29: 10-15   All things come from the hand of God and we have no expectation of remaining on earth, my paraphrase.

Well, truth be told up, until a few months ago I would have told David he could speak for himself as to an expectation of remaining on earth, verse 15.  Over and over again I read that God is sovereign over:

So, what does this have to do with hope?  Believing God is in control is where true rest comes in – it is not up to me, not even when I am at my best!

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The Hope found in Joseph’s Story: 9 of ?

Joseph’s story is found before Job’s in the modern Bible but no one knows when Job’s story took place so I guess I should not be surprised that I am uncertain as to how to order my observations about them either.

The word hope never occurs in Joseph’s story but the story causes me to hope in sort of the same way as (G.K.) Chesterton thought of fairy tales, “Fairy tales tell us dragons can be beaten”.    The story of Joseph tells us that even when we have no control over our circumstances, God does.  And, if God has control, there will be a good outcome for those who place their hope in Him.

Joseph’s story begins with Jacob & Rachel, Genesis 30:22 and ends with the end of the book. 

The summary is that Joseph had big dreams that offended his family.  His brothers sold him as a slave to their cousins, the Ishmaelites, as a result, Joseph found himself in Egypt, a slave.  His master’s wife wanted to seduce him but when Joseph rebuffed her she framed him for rape thus landing Joseph in prison.  In prison, Joseph met servants of the pharaoh one of whom would introduce the two later.  After Joseph helps Pharaoh with a daunting task, Pharaoh makes Joseph his right hand man.  Sometime after that, Joseph’s family comes to Egypt but they don’t recognize him until he reveals himself.  Then, the same brothers who sold him become afraid of him.  Joseph comforts them saying, “What was meant for evil, God intended for good,” my paraphrase of Genesis 50:20.  The Bible tells it much better than I could.

Paul said it like this, “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose and design,” my paraphrase of Romans 8:28.

 

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Esther’s Hope: 8 of ?

Esther 8:13:  “the Jews had light…the dawn of a new hope”.  I have been thinking about Esther’s king, Xerxes or Ahasuerus depending on which language you read, and wondering if he were an archetype of Christ.  Some professional Bible scholars may have a fit over this since some see Xerxes as a drunk given the length of the celebration in Esther 1.  But then the people of Jesus’ days on earth said the same of him, Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34.  Pressing on.

Here’s the thing:  Xerxes gave  permission to Haman the Agagite, 1 Samuel 15, to exterminate all Jews from India to Ethiopia, Esther 3.  This reminds me that Satan, our enemy, has been given permission to “wage war against her children,” Revelation 12:17.  When Esther made her request for the Jews to be armed and given permission to defend themselves, Xerxes agreed, Esther 8-9.  I am, just in this writing, reminded that we have been given divine weapons with which to demolish strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10: 4, just like Xerxes gave the Jews back then!

Just think of the victory the Jews had over their enemies.  Some people converted to Judaism for fear of the Jews, Esther 8:17.

Now to be sure, I do not believe this is a foreshadowing of the end times specifically because John tells us that in the last days the wicked will refuse to turn to God in spite of all the disasters that befall them, Revelation 9:20 and Revelation 16:9 & 11.

How does this give us hope?  First, we believers have been armed and given orders to stand against the enemy – even go on the offensive with our sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6.  Secondly, there is hope for unbelievers, too.  We are not yet in the last days where sinners

will be unrepentant.  Are we?

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Ezra’s Hope: 7 of ?

Originally published on April 23, 2015.

Revised April 24, 2015

Note:  All links go to full chapters of the Amplified Bible on Biblegateway dot com.

Exra 10:2: “And Shecaniah [II] son of Jehiel…, of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra: We have broken faith and dealt treacherously against our God and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land; yet now there is still hope for Israel in spite of this thing.”

Adultery and disobedience, well, really and truly, outright rebellion expressed in marrying foreign women. In 1 Samuel 15:23, Samuel tells Saul that rebellion is the same as the sin of witchcraft. Rebellion leads to destruction according to Psalm 37:38.

I was going to say, “Aren’t we like that?”  Instead I will say, “Aren’t I like that?”  I have put my hope in things of the world that fall apart, decay, die, or in myriad other ways do not last.  The men under the law had to follow the law.  They put their wives away from them.  Our hope is in/on Jesus Christ and his saving work at the cross.  My hope is supposed to be “set fully on the grace to be given you when Christ Jesus is revealed” according to 1 Peter 1:13.  I am thinking of the New Testament story of people who burned their books because of the sin they represented, Acts 19:19, and another scripture that says “hate even the clothing stained by sin,” my paraphrase of Jude 1:23.  Even though I will choose to trust that He who began a good work will be faithful to see it to completion, Philippians 1:6 I may have to put some things away from me.  And then I remember, “they gladly endured the confiscation of their possessions knowing they had better ones in Heaven”.  Now, what do I need to put away from me?

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