30 Nov HOPE
If we look all the way back to the very beginning, God gave His people something to hope for. You may not associate hope with the Fall of Adam and Eve. In that moment, the curse of sin swept over God’s perfect creation, and death and damnation became the fate of all humanity. Adam and Eve had to be cast out of the perfect paradise God had created just for them, but He did not send them off without a glimmer of hope: “The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.’” Genesis 3:14-15
Hope continued to be the driving force that God used for generations. To Noah He gave the hope of a promise that never again would He destroy the earth by flood. To Abraham He gave the hope of a promise of offspring – more numerous than the stars! To Moses He gave the hope of a promise of deliverance from bondage and the covenant of the Law. To Joshua He gave the hope of a promise of entering and taking hold of the Promised Land. To David He gave the hope of a promise of an everlasting throne. And throughout the prophets we see the hope of the promised Redeemer, Deliverer, and Savior woven through each book.
Hope can be a feeling or an action. God gave His people hope through His Word that He would send a Savior, and His people hoped that He would. But without faith, hope is really just wishful thinking. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” The Advent of Jesus at His birth was proof and confirmation to many of the faithfulness of God to keep His promises. It makes me think of the account of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2:25-38. These two devout Jews eagerly and expectantly awaited the arrival of the promised Messiah. I can’t even imagine the joy and pure elation upon having that which they had hoped in for so many years finally revealed to them! Simeon praises the Lord and cries out,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
At His first coming, Jesus brought the hope of salvation for all the peoples of the world. We who have put our faith in His finished work are now born into a living hope, one in which we eagerly await the future, eternal promises of God to be fulfilled. We too, hope in something not yet seen, but through faith, we believe that God is faithful. Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
As we reflect on the hope of this season – the Hope that has already come into the world – don’t miss out on the eager expectation of hoping in what is yet to come. The joy and reward for hoping in His return will be far greater than anything you find under your tree!
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:12-13