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The word, hope, is commonly used. We say we hope. We cling to hope. Yet, what exactly is hope? And what is hope for Believers like us?
Come along with us as we explore hope and our connection to biblical hope as Believers…
The Meaning of the Word “Hope”
Most of us view hope as a simple word with an easily agreed-upon meaning. But it is actually quite deep and full of wide-ranging definitions: from something that is not likely but wished for, to meanings much nearer to the word, trust…
Merriam-Webster dictionary gives some interesting insights into the word, hope:
Firstly, it gives the ‘essential’ meaning of hope as:
- “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.”
Secondly, it gives definitions that depend on the manner of use. For instance:
- The intransitive verb typically means (and is perhaps how the world generally views hope):
“to cherish a desire with anticipation”
“to want something to happen or be true.”
- The transitive verb provides a more biblical meaning:
“to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment”
“to expect with confidence.”
- Most noun usages also seem to draw nearer to biblical intent, with meanings such as:
“desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment”
“someone or something on which hopes are centered”
“something desired or hoped for.”
Lastly, it gives the archaic meaning of hope (which is also more akin to the biblical usage):
It is interesting to think that few of us would view the words “trust” and “expect” as anything less than firm or unyielding, for we would not likely define “hope” as ‘wishy-washy,’ unlikely, and moveable.
Yet, even as Believers we do not often view hope with the firmness that it should mean to us. With the firmness that can be discovered through God’s Word and the hope we have in Him!
However, by examining God’s Word… By examining and learning about the steadfast nature and love of God—discovering who we are in Him and how we can hope expectantly as His beloved children—the fullness of hope is laid bare. Shown to be something that—when in alignment with God and all He has for us—is sure… allowing us to expect and fully trust that every hope will be made manifest.
Biblical Hope Through the Word
We have explored what the dictionary definitions of hope are and how they do and do not align with biblical hope. Now we will dive deep into that biblical hope… going directly into Scripture to discover the kind of hope we are meant to have, and what we can expect from this true hope.
In the New King James Version of Scripture there are 151 uses of the word hope, with many other versions having additional uses. So, why is hope found in the Word so often? And how important is it?
Let’s look at examples of hope in God’s Word:
- “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy,”—Psalm 33:18
- As Believers we know that the forgiveness and mercy of God cannot be earned. Further, we know that we can count on God’s mercy; that it is sure and true and always without fail.
- God is not a man that He should lie (see Numbers 23:19). So, we can hope in His mercy—not as the world views hope, but with confidence and expectation. What is more, when we hope in God’s mercy, we are granted the beautiful gift of the Lord’s attention—His eye—upon us!
- “O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.”—Psalm 131:3
- Israel is a people and nation, one whom, descended from Abraham, has deep covenants with God and promises from Him. This scripture not only reminds Israel of the need to hope in the Lord, but also serves as a reminder to all of us who are grafted into her covenants and promises.
- Hoping in the Lord is a biblical decree, and one that, unlike the hope of the world, is sure… never leading to disappointment, but to the fulfillment of covenants and promises.
- “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”—Romans 15:13
- Hope is not just a word used to describe something we dearly want; it is much more than that. It is a firm part of our relationship with God—our expectation and trust in Him pulling together in hope—and it is central to God’s very character.
- When the nature of God as our God of hope is allowed to fill us, joy and peace are found in believing. We abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!
- “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”—1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13
- 1 Corinthians 13 has many interesting points. One of which is found in the three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—while another is in the description of love.
- When all is said and done, we require faith, hope, and love in our relationship with God—which results in our relationship to those He has us interact with.
- Love is certainly the greatest of these three, as the scriptures bear witness, because love fulfills all of the Law, directs us to God, and is what caused Him to not only create us but save us. God is love.
- However, the roles of faith and hope are crucial. Not only in our walk with God… but in the very nature of love. 1 Corinthians 13 says that love hopes all things. Not randomly or in determined blindness, but in the truest love where—when that love is put in God—we can expect our hope to be, without fear.
True Hope for Believers
Hope is a part of who God is.
It is a part of joy and peace.
It is a part of true, holy fear of the Lord.
It is a part of love.
It is a key biblical principle that is found from one end of the Word to the other.
And, thanks to God, this biblical hope is not the same as hope in the world.
In the world, hope may be more akin to a wish; something desired but not too fervently. Yet, biblical hope that is discovered through our God of hope is a hope that is richer, better, deeper. It is not a hope that dwindles under pressure. It is not based on passing desires. In biblical hope there is a sure foundation. There is expectation and trust—a future!
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11
We were made to hope. We were made in the image of our God of hope. It is time for us to walk forward in that hope. Not wondering if the hopes we put in God and our future will be dashed, but knowing instead that our loving God desires good things for us!
Even when our wishes do not align with God’s, we can trust and expect the provision of a bright, eternal future with Him! That is the best hope for Believers. One we can certainly expect and trust in, because our HOPE, the God of hope… He is at the heart of it.