What is Hope?
In the Word there are many scriptures that speak of hope lost and hope found. Jesus’ followers spoke on hope, as did many prophets and biblical leaders from the book of Genesis to the third book of John. Yet, in all of these we learn that the importance of hope mainly rests in our focus being kept on God. Hoping in Him, no matter what our circumstances might be.
Hope in the Word:
Hope is mentioned 151 times in the NKJV, with the book of Psalm having the greatest number of uses (28), followed next by Job, who struggled to maintain hope as the enemy continually attacked him.
The sole use in the book of Genesis speaks of Esau’s lost hope; after his father, Isaac, had unwittingly given his blessing to his brother Jacob.
However, even in Esau’s lost hope, Isaac found—within his own blessings from God—a blessing of sorts for Esau. Yet, Esau, not fixing his eyes upon the Lord and instead on his anger, did not find his hope…
A lesson to us that when we focus on things other than God—holding on to anger, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.—hope can be hard to find.
Still, unlike Esau, many had hope, even in times of trials worse than his…
In the book of Ezra—believed to have been written by a prophet—chapter 10, verse 2 says, “…yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.” The people of Israel had sinned against God, but they had hope, for they were going to turn from their transgressions and create a new covenant with God—realizing it is never too late to seek God.
Yet, hope does not only comes in trials, for we hope in God for things not yet seen…
Proverbs 13:12 speaks of hope deferred. Yet, when our desire comes—when the promise comes—it is a tree of life! Often in life we have dreams of things we want to do that we know are from God, or have a prophecy spoken over us, then weeks, months, years, even decades later they still have not come to pass… but, so often they do, and while it is not always easy, keeping our eyes on God is the key to keeping our hope alive! This hope allows us to keep doubt at bay, allowing the promises room to flourish and come forth!
The book of Psalm has perhaps some of the most beautiful messages on hope and finding it in God. The first mention of hope in the psalms is in chapter sixteen—it teaches us that our flesh will rest in hope!
To rest in hope is to know peace, for hope is not anxious nor fearful, because hope is a product of love, which casts out all fear (see 1 John 4:18).
“I have set the Lord always before me;
because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
my flesh also will rest in hope.”—Psalm 16:8-9
When we hope, we find rest in God. If we are at enmity with God we can have a measure of hope, yet, it pales when compared to the hope that is beyond earthly wisdom. A hope only found in God!
Without God’s hope, we can never truly know rest because the opposite of hope is:
- Fear (not Godly fear, but terror that is not the will of God)
None of these are from God…
Instead when we hope we find:
- Expectation (an expectancy for good things)
- Rest (peace)
- Security (lack of fear)
For the Lord desires good for His children, not evil.
As Jesus said, if your child asks you for bread, would you give him a stone? (Matthew 7:9, Luke 11:11) No, because God is not a poor father—He wants to give us good gifts. (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13)
Hope is a good gift, but if we are not willing to accept it, God will not force us to take it—for He has given us a free-will out of His love…
Thankfully, all we have to do is ask Him for hope. Simply putting our small measure of faith into hoping in the Lord—knowing that He is our only hope, because our own strength is not enough.
God is our hope and glory! As we open our hearts to accept His hope, no matter how many times we have rejected His precious gift… He will answer!
“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”—Psalm 31:24
The Lord desires to bless us, yet, we have to be open to Him and have faith that He is our hope. When we have the faith to praise Him, even when we cannot see a reason to, then the hope comes… the promise comes, and the blessing!
Three times in the book of Psalm the same sentiment is repeated, the same question and response:
“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.” —Psalm 42:5 (Psalm 42:11 and 43:5 change “praise Him for the help of His countenance” to “the help of my countenance and my God.”)
These verses remind us that we are to praise Him; that our hope is in God alone… and when our hope is in God, we desire to praise Him. Only He can truly fill the desires of our hearts! Only He is worthy of our hope and praise!
“But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.”—Psalm 71:14
“For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.” —Psalm 38:15
Hope is a gift from God, but we have to be willing to receive it. To fully receive this hope we have to have enough faith in God—understanding that He is not a man that He should lie and He desires good for us—to find a measure of hope IN HIM…
When we praise God, even as our hearts are heavy, hope arises to meet us… and with hope we receive not only peace that surpasses all understanding, but we find ourselves unafraid, satisfied, and complete!
As it says in Romans 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Both Old Testament and New agree, hope and our relationship with God go hand in hand. The children of Israel knew it in the days of her kings. The tribes now returned to Israel know it today—realizing that with enemies all around them, all they have is their hope and faith in the Lord. And we, as grafted-in believers know—and are learning to know better—the importance of hope; hope in God!
In Israel today, hope is placed in the Lord to protect them on a daily basis. They have their armies, their anti-missile defenses, and determination unmatched, yet, in all of this they understand that it is God alone who defends them! They are putting their hope in God. Today, you and I can remind them that the Lord is with them—as He is with us—showing them that their hope is not in vain…
By sponsoring an olive tree, through My Olive Tree, YOU can show the people of Israel that they have not been forgotten by their grafted-in brothers and sisters, or God! With YOUR sponsorship you are giving jobs and beauty for generations, as well as a legacy. A legacy for you, that you helped bring the land of Israel to life and cared for her people, but ALSO a legacy for them… a legacy that Believers living thousands of miles away helped them to help themselves. A legacy that God’s love is real and that Believers do not simply speak of His love, but live it!
Additionally, when you sponsor a tree you will receive gifts of thanks—of hope! When YOU sponsor an olive tree through our Israel’s 70th project, not only do you receive a certificate marking your sponsorship, but you also receive:
- anointing oil to pray over yourself, your family, and your property, a reminder to yourself that God is your hope;
- a tallit—prayer shawl—for the time you spend time with the Lord, renewing your hope;
- and a mezuzah, so that the Word of the Lord is always greeting you as you go in or out—a reminder that your hope is in the Lord.
Let us stand together in faith, renewing our hope and the hope of those who face danger every day. Let us remember to rest in hope!
“Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.” —Acts 2:26