There are several words for “hope” in the Old Testament. One of the root words for hope is “kaw-vaw.” It is usually translated as “wait.” “Hope” is a nice word. “Wait” is not, especially in western society. For us, it seems life should be done at great speed and everything done with maximum gain in mind. So waiting is always bad.
How good are we at waiting in the doctor’s office, at a traffic light, in line at the bank, etc? Do we get bored, frustrated, impatient? How does this word, “kaw-vaw” connect to hope? It also means “to expect” or “look eagerly”. Wouldn’t it be great if anytime we had to wait, that we would turn our hearts to God and listen? Hope then, can be defined as “the quiet expectation of good things that God wants to do in us and through us.”
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness.
Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You. Psalm 33:18, 20-22
Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
To say “I hope so” means you strongly desire a particular event to happen. This is very different from the biblical definition of hope. The biblical definition could be described as confidence in God’s favor or God’s best.
Are we confident that God’s best is going to happen in our lives?
Many have little hope.
- Are we resolved to failure in some area of our lives — that we will never break some bad habit, or maybe that we will never get into good physical shape?
- Are we settling for disappointment — that we will never have an intimate relationship with our spouse, or never have a good job?
- Are we lowering our expectations of God’s blessings — that we will never be out of debt, or our ministry hopes will never happen?
Jeremiah 29:11 (above) declares that God wants to give us confidence that his best is coming to us.
In 1Samuel 30, David and his army returned from battle and came to their city to find it burned, and all of their family members and possessions taken captive. “So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep” (v.4). To make matters worse, there was talk of stoning David (v.6).
But David does something remarkable. “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” That is a good example of hope. Instead of focusing on his circumstances, the loss of his family and the threats to his life, he focused on the promises of his God. David went on to recapture all of the family members and all of their stolen goods.
Can hope be dangerous? Yes. Hope can lead to more disappointment if we put our hope in the wrong thing. If we put our hope in people (including ourselves) or circumstances, we will be disappointed. The only thing we can put our hope in is God alone. He is the only one that is able to keep promises without faltering. We even must be careful to not put our hopes in the blessings that God gives us. It must be in God alone. We can have confidence that anything that is taken away from us is only for our good. Even good things can be taken away – but will always replaced by far better things.
Romans 8:38-39; “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Colossians 3:12-13 describe some of the Christian attributes including, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing and forgiving each other in love.
What a wonderful life Christians have, knowing and living in God’s perfect, unobstructed compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing and forgiving each other! Since nothing can separate us from these things, Christians should be the happiest, most joyous people in the world. Why aren’t they?
It is because we as Christians do not focus on God, but on our circumstances. We choose to react to how others treat us rather than God’s blessings for us. Why would we focus on the broken people that surround us instead of the perfect love and peace that comes from above? No good reason. When we focus on people and their brokenness, we perpetuate that brokenness through our negative reaction to them.
Today let us focus on the blessings God has promised, not the world’s miserable distractions!
Who could possibly be big enough to thwart God and His love toward us? People, demons, the devil himself? Not a chance.
But, do we really believe we are continual recipients of God’s love? Here is how we can tell. When we act unloving to anybody (even our enemies), it is because we feel unloved.
If we cannot be separated from God’s love, why do so many people feel unloved? It is because people have trouble, hardships, persecution, money problems, feel they are in danger, and even threatened (see Romans 8:36). Having these things in our lives certainly distracts us from experiencing God’s love. But Paul wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39. Paul was convinced because he believed the Word of God rather than his circumstances. If we are not walking in love to all of the people around us, we are showing that we do not have faith that God’s Word is true and His love is never failing.
Today, let’s sweep fear, anger, doubt, and anxiety away. Let’s meditate on God’s unfailing love until our hearts burst forth with love and compassion for the weak and frustrated souls that God puts in our path.