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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
"For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?" Job 14:7-10
The word hope is used 121 times in the Bible. The first one is in the book of Ruth and Naomi is feeling hopeless. She is widowed, destitute, and bitter, and she has no hope that things are going to change. She felt hopeless because she believed that God was against her. Now, that's how the subject of hope is introduced in Scripture. Perhaps this is where we all find ourselves in this life; we hit the obstacles, and all we can see is the hopelessness of our situation. Naomi could not conjure up a single solution to her problem! Indeed, there was no hope.
Now, the last time hope is used in Scripture is in1 John 3:3: "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Here John describes a man who has hope in his heart. This is the man that is hopeful, or full of hope. This man has a hope in his inward man, and no matter what outward circumstances come in this life, he is hopeful!
These two cases make clear the progression of hope. Naomi is the one up against the impossibilities of life, and she is deplete of any hope. She is utterly hopeless. John, on the other hand, declares that there is a man that is in this same world, up against the same impossibilities, but he is filled with hope, or as we call it, hopeful. What marks the difference between these two? Is one just a pessimist, and the other just a wishful thinker? Does the matter of hope boil down to our state of mind, or is it something more?
Consider that the word hope in the Hebrew is the word "tiqvah," which means,"a rope, an expectation of hope." The first time that this word is used in Scripture is in Joshua 2:18: "Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window." Yes, the word "tiqvah" is the word for "scarlet thread." It is where we get our word hope. The believer in Jesus Christ is hopeful. He is not merely a "wishful thinker," but he is one bound with a scarlet thread of expectation to his Saviour. What a blessed hope! "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," Hebrews 11:1. We literally have a tangible "hope" in our heart that is tied to the object of our faith, The Lord Jesus. We have a scarlet thread that anchors us to the Rock of our salvation. Indeed, we are not hopeless, but hopeful! In 1874, Pricilla Jane Owens penned these words:
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love.
We that are saved have a blessed hope. In death as in life we are tied to Jesus Christ. Let's live this life hopeful! I want to remind Job that there is more hope for the people of God than there is for a tree! If a tree will sprout again when it is cut down, how much more shall the child of God live again after he is dead? May we live our hope in this life as well as the next. Take a firm grip on the scarlet thread of hope!