In this section of our Hope series, we’re going to take our study one very powerful step further. Last week we looked at a specific challenge—that we must mean something by our faith. Scripture tells us that without faith it’s impossible to please God. It also tells us that without works, our faith is dead. When we mean something by our faith, our faith has “feet.” This is what God has called us to. We also looked at the idea that for our faith to mean something, God’s promises must be true—they must be absolute.
Biblical Hope is Absolute
Remember our chair illustration? If our chair is hope, then sitting in it is an expression of our faith. But, we still have to have the chair to sit on or we’ll end up on the floor. God has given us hope in his word and his word is absolute. It’s there. We can sit in it.
Let’s move forward in our understanding of what hope produces and how it brings peace. Let’s distinguish faith from hope. According to Hebrews 11:1, our faith is evidenced by our actions. We see this again in James 2:17.
Faith is our assurance, or trust, in a truth. Faith is trust and that is all. Meanwhile, the object of our trust is again what the Bible calls hope. Let’s look at an example: every morning, I get up and by faith, I walk to my trusty Keurig coffee maker. Why? Because I have faith that it will produce coffee. My action of walking to the coffee maker is evidence of that faith.
Biblical hope is the absolute object that compels us to take actions of faith. We are compelled to go after it. Some may not like this idea because they see it as a carrot and stick approach to God’s story. That’s exactly what it is, but the carrot at the end of the stick is communion with God himself. It’s not miracles or streets of gold, crystal seas or crowns. It’s the hope of the presence of God, and we need to be walking after it every day of our lives.Biblical hope is the absolute object that compels us to take actions of faith. Click To Tweet
David’s Song of Hope
In Psalm 119:161-168, we see a beautiful lesson on hope and what that hope will produce. True hope motivates us to a deeper reality than just “identifying as a Christian.” True hope spurs us to obey the commands of our King. This obedience brings a tremendous amount of peace.
Princes persecute me without cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your words.
I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.
I hate and despise falsehood,
But I love Your law.
Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances.
Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
I hope for Your salvation, O Lord,
And do Your commandments.
My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.
I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You. (Psalm 119:161-168 NASB)
“Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in all of your words.” What is David teaching us here? Is he oversimplifying life? Is he saying that when we face adversity, all we need to do is read the Bible and things will get better? Yes and no. David understood that the word of God contains hope. He understood the promises of God and the absolute quality of God’s character.
When adversity came his way, David’s heart stood on God’s word. Translate this to our lives and we see that, in light of all God has promised, we have nothing to fear. We have nothing to worry about. We don’t have to hide, weeping and crying, because we know that God holds us in his hands.
This returns us to the question of, “How do I know that the promises of God are true for me today?” Because, the Bible tells us in the Old and New Testaments that vengeance belongs to God. When we’re facing adversity, when we’re facing persecution, what are we to do? We’re not to take revenge. We’re not to retaliate. Instead, we are trust in the Lord. His promise is true. Even in the New Testament, God has promised that he will care for his people.
Our challenge is letting God fulfill his promises in his own time. This is where we get a little out of whack with our understanding. We don’t always see the fulfillment of his promises on this side of the grave. Why? Because there is a now and a not yet Kingdom of God. For his own sovereign reasons, there are promises God is waiting to fulfill.Does David oversimplify life? Is he saying that when we face adversity, all we need to do is read the Bible and things will get better? #Psalm119 Click To Tweet
Connecting the Dots
What does David mean when he says that even within persecution, his heart stands in the word of God? He meant that even when he faced adversity, he trusted in the absolute hope of God. In the next verse of the Psalm, David continued with, “I rejoice at your word as one who finds great spoil.”
This passage makes me jump up and down. What I’m about to share with you is going to stretch your brain in a good way. The true hope of God, the promises that are universal to all of us, are more precious than any treasure we could ever set our eyes on.
And the ultimate promise is the promise of the Kingdom of God, in which we’ll be with our King. In the next post, we’ll dive deeper into this idea by looking at Luke 14:25-35. We’ll examine the cost of discipleship and pick apart wrong conclusions we hold about it.The true hope of God, the promises that are universal to all of us, are more precious than any treasure we could ever set our eyes on. #biblicalhope Click To Tweet
What strikes you most about David’s response to adversity? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.