United Church of God

Confident Hope

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Confident Hope

MP3 Audio (36.97 MB)


Confident Hope

MP3 Audio (36.97 MB)

During these challenging times, we, the people of God, not only need to know hope but also how we can increase in godly hope. This sermon will demonstrate that having confident hope is God's will for us.


[Steve Myers] Well, if you had to name one of the greatest gifts that God gives, what might come to mind? Now, there's probably quite a few different things that could, but as I was considering that this week, one thing kept coming back to my mind as one of the greatest gifts God gives is hope. Because of God's promises, they're actually designed to do just that, to inspire us and help us, and lead us to have hope. But of course, if I'm honest, sometimes I don't feel that way. I don't feel very hopeful, I don't feel very encouraged. The challenges of life can sometimes just bring us down. It just seems overwhelming. It seems like some of the things we face are challenges that are really, really difficult to be able to overcome. And when those attacks come at us, it seems to rob us of our hope. And so, it becomes such a difficult thing that it pushes us and tries to move us from a hopefulness to a discouragement and continue to push us into despair, and yet it doesn't have to be that way. God gives us the reassurance, that's not what He has in mind. He says we can be resolute. He says we can even be bold and that we should be encouraged in the hope that He provides.

And so, I thought it might be helpful this afternoon to take a little bit of time to look at exactly what is hope, what is hope? But more than just defining it and discussing it in that way, there is so much to the story of what the Bible describes as godly hope, a hope that just doesn't stagnate. So, it's not just something that we should know what it is, but God talks about ways that we can increase it and we can build hope. And so, He tells us we can have confidence, godly hope. And so, let's think about that for a little bit this afternoon. First, if we consider, okay, what is it? What is hope? Maybe the good old dictionary definition might come to mind of what most people would consider hope, it's like wanting something to happen. I'm hopeful. I wish it would be, I wish it would come about. And I think for most people, they probably define it in that way. But, when you begin to open your Bible and find out what God has to say about it, that is far from what hope is all about. There's a huge difference between what Webster says hope is and what God says about hope.

If you were to look in the Old Testament and look up the Hebrew, there's a couple of Hebrew words that often are translated as hope. There's two main words. One of them is yachal, yachal. Sounds like I'm speaking Southern like y'all call or something like that, but, it's not that. Yachal is Y-A-C-H-A-L, yachal. And you'll find it 42 times. If you could read Hebrew and you saw a Hebrew version of the Bible, 42 times, you'd see it throughout the Old Testament. And it has a connotation of being patient, being hopeful, being expectant. But yachal has a special intention. There's a special facet to it that's very interesting. And we can find that mentioned in the Psalm, Psalm 119:49, let's start there this afternoon. Psalm 119:49. In fact, if you want to put a little marker in the Psalms, we'll come back to some of the Pslams quite a few times throughout the sermon. So you could put a marker there. Here in Psalm 119:49, here, we see this connotation of yachal that points to not just hope, but this connectedness to waiting, to waiting on God, waiting on His word, waiting on His promises, or waiting on God to do something, to act.

So, in verse 49 of Psalm 119, it says, “Remember the word to your servant, upon which you've caused me to hope.” God, remember what you said, remember what you told me because that causes me to hope. So, I'm waiting. I'm waiting on you, God. And in fact, yachal sometimes is used when you have to wait for a longer period of time, more extensively. So, if you turn over to Psalm 71, notice verse 14, because this word in Hebrew, yachal is used to wait and be patient and be expectant for God to act. Psalm 71:14, notice it adds an extra word here to give that intention of the meaning of that word. So, it says in verse 14 of Psalm 71, “But I will hope” how? “continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” It hasn't come about yet, it's not here yet, I'm still looking forward to it, I'm expecting it, I know it's going to happen, I'm hoping continually. And that brings me to praise You and honor You more and more and more. And so, we see this word is very interesting in its actual application. When the Bible translates Hebrew, yachal into hope.

Now, there's another Hebrew word, tiqvah, that oftentimes is translated hope. That you spell T-I-Q-V-A-H. We'll have a test after services so write that down. A spelling bee, I guess, tiqvah, tiqvah. Sometimes it's qavav, similar word, same base word for both of those. Now, this is a strange one because literally, do you know what that word means? A cord, a cord. What does hope have to do with a string or a cord? Well, it's interesting that that word first appears in the story of Jericho.

Remember the story of Jericho, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, the walls came? Yeah, you know it, they came tumbling down. Well, there was this lady there that helped the spies. Remember her name? Rahab, Rahab. She helped the spies, she wanted to save her family. So, what did they tell her? They told her, "Put a scarlet tiqvah in your window," a scarlet cord. That's the first occurrence of that word in Joshua 2:21, a scarlet cord, a scarlet cord. Now, Joshua was the only book where tiqvah is translated as cord. In all the other ones, it's translated as hope, as hope. So, what's the connection there? What's the connection there?

Well, it's an anticipation, it's looking forward. She was to do that because of what she could expect to happen, that she and her family would be saved and she could count on it. Good as gold. It was going to happen no matter what and that was the sign that it was going to happen.

And so, when you read fantastic passages in the Bible like Jeremiah 29:11, you probably know that passage that God has good plans for us, good thoughts toward us. Thoughts of good, of peace and not evil. That's that passage that says, God has in mind for us a future and a tiqvah, a hope, a hope. That's what it's all about. And that's related to this word, qavav, qavav. Qavav comes from the word, qav which also means cord, a cord. So, hope and a cord. Why is that related? You know, when you look at the literal versus the intended meaning, well, there's this expectation. I mean, you could almost think of it like tying your shoes. You've got a cord or a shoelace running through your shoes. And so, when you pull on those laces, what happens? Well, it tightens up your shoe so that it doesn't fall off your feet. And so, you expect those shoes to stay on when you tie them right.

And so, when you think of a qavav, there's this tension between what will happen and the expectation that it will, that it will absolutely happen. It's kind of like drawing a cord tight and God draws us tight in expectation that He will do what He says He will do. So, when we read about qavav in Genesis 49:18, just make a note of it, that's where it says, “I have waited" I have qavav “for your salvation, O Lord!” I know it's happening and there's this tension, I can't wait for it. I know it's going to happen. In fact, if you're still in the Psalms, look at Psalm 27:14. Psalm 27:14 uses this word, qavav, literally a cord, but here we see what it means when it's used in context. And so, here we see qavav, to wait, expecting eagerly, looking forward to something. So, Psalm 27:14, “Wait" hope “on the Lord.” Hope on the Lord. And because we do, it's like that cord that tightens, we know we can count on something. So, we can be of good courage because He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say on the Lord, and He tells us about that. So, when we look at the idea of waiting throughout the Old Testament, we're waiting on God. We're hoping in God for His promises, for something from God. And we do it with expectation. We do it with anticipation because we know it's going to happen. It will come about.

And so, no wonder, oftentimes when you read about tiqvah or qavav in the Old Testament, there's joy that's mentioned in those same passages. There's an expectation and it's going to be good and it's going to be right. And so, there's that hopefulness that's expressed in those two Hebrew words. Now, of course, in the New Testament, there's also a word used for hope. Now, this isn't Hebrew, this is now Greek. And the Greek word for hope in the New Testament is elpis, E-L-P-I-S. And it has a sense of expectation. Its connotation is one. We can count on it, a confidence. It actually comes from the base word, elpo. That's not the dog food, you know, that people serve to their dogs. Elpo, E-L-P-O, and that word itself means to anticipate, to anticipate. Like, you're welcoming this. And when you welcome someone into your home, you're glad they're there. You were waiting for them. You were expecting them. So, elpis has this connotation of not only an expectation but how we expect something. And so, more than 50 times throughout the New Testament, this word is used. Like it's used in the beginning of Titus, Titus 1:2, you don't need to go there, but it talks about the hope of eternal life that God promised, the hope that is maybe happening? Well, maybe it's not going to… no.

When we recognize what this hope is talking about, that's expected, that's a confidence, it's guaranteed, it's going to happen. It is certain. And so elpis carries that kind of connotation. This is not, well, I wish it was going to… no, this will come about. It's absolute. It is certain. So, we summarize the New Testament version of hope, we're expecting this and we do it with a confidence that, yes, it's down the line, it's in the future, but we can be joyful. And we can have confidence and rejoice in God because He's behind this hope that He gives us. And so, is that just wishful thinking? Is that whoa, sure, hope it comes… no. And that's where we see that stark difference between what most people consider hope and the Webster's dictionary version of hope to what biblical hope is all about because it is confidently expecting it. It's an ensured expectation that we can wait patiently because we know it's true. We know it's going to come about. And so, that kind of hope that God gives us is that we know ultimately, good is going to come, goodwill come because God has promised it will come to pass.

So, that turns things all around. With a godly expectation, we can have the ability to look at whatever the situation may be, and regardless of how it appears, God's going to come through, God's going to work it out. We can have a certainty that God will do what He has promised and what He said He will do. And there's a beautiful passage that really illustrates this point. Now, if you hold your place here in Psalms, go over to Hebrews 11, because it uses this Greek word, elpis, to emphasize why, why. We can recognize what hope is and why we can have it. And so, look at this expectation that's pointed out here right at the very beginning of Hebrews 11. Of course, Hebrews 11, often known as the faith chapter, that's right, the faith chapter. And so, it begins with that. It defines faith. “Faith is the substance, the realization of things hoped for,” this is not a wish, this is a coming fact. It says, faith is the “evidence”, it's the confidence “of things not seen.” You really can't see faith, you can't see hope. And so, when we zero in on this particular passage, you can see why it becomes important when we think about confident, godly hope. How can you have hope without faith? You see, they're corded together. They're tiqvahed together, they're tied together. Because in essence, you have hope because you have faith. You have faith because you have hope. And faith and hope are just intertwined and complementary to each other.

And what it points out is why and what matters most. I mean, what matters most? Well, we have confidence in things not seen. And so, here it points to the object of our faith, the object of our hope and that's God, the Father, and Jesus Christ. That's the object. So, our hope has to be based on the fact that God is our God and nothing else, nothing else than that. If God isn't the object of our hope, then it's just a wish. Then it's just, oh, I hope it could be that. And so it reverts back to just a worldly kind of perspective. We don't have true biblical hope without that certainty of God Himself. So, no wonder God says, even in just the definitions of the words, that we can look confidently, we can expect what He says to come to pass. We can trust Him and we can look to the future based on our faith and our hope in God. And so, that's very motivating. That should move us forward because we need that hope. When we have it, it doesn't matter what's going on. We can navigate those turbulent times that we face sometimes without falling into discouragement, without being depressed or despaired, because it's despite those circumstances, we know God's promised He can work all things together for good when we love Him.

And so, despite of the darkness, despite of the things that we're surrounded with, He says, why we can have hope. And so, it's not just that hope is out there and we know what it is, but I think it's also critical to know why we can have hope. And I think there's one key, one fundamental reason why we can have hope. And that's expressed in the book of Hebrews. If we look over at Hebrews 6, if you're still there at the faith chapter, just turn back to chapter 6, the book of Hebrews. And I think it gets down to fundamentals here. It gets right down to the basic foundation of why I can have hope. Hebrews 6:17, here, we find that we have hope being discussed here. And as God shows us His intent, we see He speaks directly to us. Here in verse 17, it says, "God, determining to show more abundantly” that's a whole lot, a whole lot more. What does He want to show? And who is He showing it to? Well, He wants “to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise” and who's that? That's us. We are heirs, heirs with Jesus Christ. We are co-heirs. We have the Kingdom before us. We are heirs to the Kingdom.

And so here, God wants to show us even more, more abundantly. And He says, He's showing us the immutability of His counsel. And it says, He's confirmed it by an oath, that immutability, meaning it's something that cannot change. It won't change. It doesn't change. So He says He does it by two unchangeable things, two immutable things. So, we see that promise and His oath, God has sworn, God has sworn that He will do what He says. And so, He reminds us here, why can we count on it? Why can we have hope? He says it is impossible for God to lie. We can have hope in that very fact. He says we might have strong consolation, strong encouragement. We can have this hope that recognizes God's word is true. It doesn't change, it cannot change, His purpose, His will, His plan is set. He promised it, He swore by it, and it cannot change because God Himself cannot lie. And so, we can trust God. We can have that kind of confident hope because it's impossible for God to lie. We know His word is truth. He sets us apart. He sanctifies us by His word. So, trust, as He says here, becomes something that keeps us solid, solidifies our faith. Verse 19. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, in which enters the Presence behind the veil,” and of course, anchors, what are they designed to do? You throw them overboard because you don't want that boat to move.

It's going to keep us in that same place and keep us steady. And so, it anchors, not just a boat, this hope anchors our life. That's what our soul is talking about, our entire being. And it can be sure and it can be steadfast and it cannot change. And so, the anchor of the impossibility of a lying God is a foundation of certainty for us. And really, it becomes the backbone of our hope. And that's why that's why we can hope today. And I think of that kind of hope as a special hope, a special perspective. I like to think of it as regardless hope. You ever heard of regardless hope? I don't know. I made that up. So, I don't know. But anyway, regardless. You could call the hope that this is talking about, regardless hope. Regardless of what you see, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of what's going on, regardless how dire the situation might be. Regardless of that situation, we have hope. Why? God's made promises and He can't lie. And so we recognize what an awesome God we have. We recognize what our God has said, and that is the truth that not just that we believe, we know it, we know that we know it.

And so, we recognize, and regardless, now, of course, that doesn't mean that well, I'm in a bad situation right now, it's going to get better immediately when I pray and ask God about it. No, that's not true because regardless whether or not our situation changes immediately doesn't affect our hope because of regardless of the conditions, whether the trial stays, whether the difficulties remain, so does our hope, our hope remains as well. And so, because of that hope, we can have a confidence and assurance knowing God is going to come through. And there's no doubt about that. It's only a question of when it's going to happen and we know ultimately, it will. And so, when God says it, we know it's true, ultimately, that settles it. We can be certain of that very fact because it's only in God that we can be sure. And so, God backs up that hope. And so, we're given these beautiful verses over and over and over again, throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament that support us in the Word of God and point us not only what it is, but why we can have it. And it doesn't even stop there. The wonderful part about God's confident hope that He gives us is that we can increase in that hope. That hope can grow and grow in our lives, and it can do it in a number of different ways. God can increase hope in our lives. And, you know, one way that that can come about, it can begin to strengthen and grow when we just alter our focus. When we just change our perspective a little bit, when we shift our view, it's all about what we choose to see.

Do we really see our circumstances and the issues and the problems, the trials we face through God's love? It's a challenge sometimes. I mean, it's easy to see the immediate issues and the problems that we're facing. And if we focus on the negative, it is so difficult to have the kind of enduring hope the Bible talks about. But if we are going to increase that hope, we have to move off the problem, off the issue, off the trial, and move that focus on to God. That's where it's got to be. And so, in order to do that, we've got to allow God to speak to us. I mean, we sing that song all the time. God speaks to us. Now, I don't hear His audible voice, but boy, we've got His word right here where He speaks to us. And if we soak in His Word, we let God speak words of life to us, no matter the circumstances, regardless of our situation. And so, when we are a little bit doubtful, when that begins to creep into our thinking and it clouds our vision, we turn to the word of God and it can change our thoughts, it can change then our motivation. And His word then turns that perspective to peace and confidence and an assurance that we can have because God's backing us up.

In fact, there's a beautiful passage in the book of Isaiah that is such a great reminder during these difficult times. If you turn with me over to Isaiah 40, notice verse 31. Notice verse 31 in Isaiah 40. The prophet Isaiah had so much to say about hope, which is, in some ways, a little bit of a paradox because he's prophesying, you know, to God's people who have abandoned God and they're going to be taken into captivity, and yet, in God, they could still have an enduring hope. So, he speaks a lot about hope and here in chapter 40 verse 31, this is no exception because he reminds us as he reminded God's people back then, notice what he says, Isaiah 40:31. “Those who wait on the Lord,” those who qavav, those who look to God, those who look expectedly and hopefully to God, notice the confidence here, “shall renew their strength.” No doubt, no question, no I wonder if it'll work. No. It says you hope expectedly on God, He acts, He will act and you shall renew your strength. Now, it doesn't say all the problems will vanish, all your trials will go away. It doesn't mean they'll have the instant solutions and everything's hunky-dory or wonderful, you know, unicorns and roses. No, it doesn't say that, but you will be given strength. And that will be the encouragement that we need to continue on, qavav. We know ultimately, we win by the power of God.

In fact, if you kept your hand there in Psalm 42 or a little marker, take a look back to the Psalms, Psalm 42 is where I'm heading next to verse 5 because it does emphasize this enduring hope we can have if we just alter that focus if we just shift from the problems to a godly perspective. And so, Psalm 42 is certainly one of those that is reminiscent of King David. And here's King David so many times speaking these kinds of words throughout the songs that he wrote. I mean, over and over again, Saul was out to kill him. His life was certainly very tenuous. He could have been killed it seemed at any time and he oftentimes fell into despair and wrote about it, and Psalm 42 is no exception to that. And so, he writes, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted within me?” He acknowledges the fact, yeah, that's the way I feel sometimes. We all feel like this once in a while, but David comes to the solution, shift your focus. And when he shifted his focus, what came to mind? Hope in God for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. Now, this one's not yachal or qavav. This is yachal, yachal, wait, be patient. It will work out. You can expect God will act. So, hang on there, be patient because He will fulfill His promises and you can absolutely count on it. So, yachal, wait on God and change your perspective.

And so, if we find ourselves feeling this way, we feel overcome, we feel worried, we feel overwhelmed, or anxious, we can be like David, hope in God. Step toward that focus in God. And when we cast our cares on Him, when we put our burdens on Him, at His feet, we align ourselves and that life that we live to His perfect will and we know ultimately, He will act by the power of His might. He's promised it and we know He can't lie. He cannot lie. And so He says, we can have increasing hope. And altering our focus isn't the only way that hope can grow. It can also grow by steady prayer, by steady prayer, because, you've heard it before, there is power in prayer. There's power in prayer. Sometimes it doesn't come very easy though. And I think about some of my prayers, not very long sometimes, not very powerful, well, they're probably more awkward and feeble and lame and probably, they don't seem very effective sometimes. I wouldn't call some of those things powerful in any way. Is that what it depends on though? If I work up the best, most powerful prayer, then I can be hopeful and God will hear, and God will answer. Well, that's not the case.

I got to get my perspective aligned. Is the power in the one who says the prayer? I mean, is the power in the one who can come up with the best words, you know, the most eloquent way of saying these? That's not where the power is. The power of prayer is in the one who hears it. That's where the power of prayer is. It's in the power of God. And that's why prayers make a difference. It's not that we have to be eloquent. Our feeble prayers, God hears because that's where the power lies, in Him. And so, prayer is powerful. There is power in prayer, but it's not just the words that we speak or the way we say them, it's our confidence and trust in God. That's where the power lies. And in fact, the apostle Paul wrote about that over and over, that kind of 7, that we can have the hope that we can have by prayer because there is power by God in our prayers. Let's notice that. Romans 12:10 is such a wonderful example of this very thing. Now in Romans 12, here's apostle Paul writing to God's people in Rome, of course, he's writing to us by extension, and he's reminding them as he's kind of wrapping up his letter, a number of different things of how God's people behave, how we treat one another, what we need to be, not only in our actions but in our character as well.

So Romans 12, he's going through a number of things here, and notice one of the things he includes as critical to this very thing. Romans 12:10, he says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love,” okay, we got to care for one another. He says, “in honor giving preference to one another.” That's what good people that are striving to live God's way do. He says in verse 11, “not lagging in diligence,” he says, “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” But then he says, “rejoicing in hope.” So, there's that elpis, that rejoicing, recognizing it is true, it is going to come about, as well as “patient in tribulation.” We can be expectant. We can be reassured because we are continuing steadfastly in prayer so that joyful expectation that we can have can increase and grow because we are steadfast, we're steady in prayer. This word for steadfast is an interesting one. It kind of means to get stuck. Like we are like a band-aid, you put it on, you know, a cut and it sticks. And some of those band-aids, they don't come off. You know, the little ones that say they don't come off in water. Well, that's that steadfast prayer where it means that adhere to prayer, stick to it because yeah, sometimes mine are feeble and sometimes they aren't very effective, and sometimes I don't know the words to say, but stick to it, adhere to it, be steadfast in it and God will give us the hope and the expectation that His will will come about.

And so, here we see that we just talked to God and whether the words are eloquent or not, that's not what matters. We tell Him what's on our mind. And sometimes, that's hard to express, but we ask Him to guide us and lead us and help us and direct us. And prayer can provide that direction. And through prayer, God can strengthen us, through prayer, God can help us when we can't help ourselves. Because when it really comes down to the big things, we can't help ourselves. We just can't.

And so, through prayer, God can produce peace and He can bring down the worry and the stress and the anxiety as well as our hope increases. Now, there's another way that we can increase hope and I think it's such a powerful thing, is just to have a good memory. In other words, remember God's promises. Remember what God said. We have hope and we can increase godly hope by remembering God has promised to provide for us when it seems like this cannot possibly work. Do we have a God that watches out for our provision? Now, that's not just food and clothing, it goes so much more beyond that. In fact, where it's used at the beginning of the Bible, it's emphasized in a fantastic story that we probably all recall.

Do you remember the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice his son, Isaac? God tells him to do that very thing. And as Abraham is taking Isaac basically to his death, do you know what Abraham says to Isaac? It's in Genesis 22. You don't need to turn there, but you probably remember the story. Abraham says to Isaac, "God will provide the sacrifice." God will provide. God is our provider. And so you wonder, well, did Abraham already know that God was going to intervene? That's interesting because ultimately, what did God provide? Well, later on, we know the story, God provided a ram that got stuck in the thicket and that ram then became the sacrifice instead of Isaac. And it's such an amazing story because here, Abraham intermits ahead of time with a hopeful expectation that God would provide. And after the whole thing, Abraham is inspired to name that location, to give a name to that place. You know what he named it? He named the place, the Lord will provide. That's one of God's names. When you read through Genesis 22, it tells us our God is Yahweh Yireh, the God that provides, the Lord will provide. And Abraham didn't name it that place so that he'd be reminded of what a trial it was to confront the fact he might have to sacrifice his son. It wasn't about the trial. It wasn't about the difficulty that he was facing. Why did he name it God will provide? Why did he do that? Because that proclaimed God's deliverance, that proclaimed the blessing, that proclaimed the expectation and the hope that Abraham had through God's promises.

So, it didn't remind him of the difficulties, it reminded him where we have the victory. And so, he trusted God, the Lord will provide. So, we can remember that promise as well because the same thing is said in the New Testament. Philippians 4:19 is such a great reminder. My God shall supply. How much of my need? Oh, once in a while, a little bit, here and there, hope He does. No, it's not a wish. Paul was inspired to write to Philippi, God shall supply all, all our need, all of our need. And so, we have that confidence to it. Our hope can increase because we remember God's promised to provide for us and it doesn't stop there. God says, "Not only will I provide, but I'll protect as well. I'll protect you as well." And so, when we look at how God protects us, we find what a blessing there is in that as well. We have a God who protects us. Now, if you've still got a marker in the Psalms, turn over to Psalm 119:114. It is a reminder of God's promise of protection. God's promise of protection. Now, it's interesting that we certainly have the promise of prayer, we have the promise of providing for us, we also have the promise of protection.

Psalm 119:114. What a great reminder of that protective hand over us. Psalms says this in verse 114, “You are my hiding place and my shield” because we know God has promised to watch over us. He's our fortress. He's our high tower. The Psalms have so many ways of describing how He protects us, “my shield” as it says here, you know, He's our rear guard. He's our armor-bearer. He watches over us. And because of that, we can have increasing hope. It's mentioned right here. “You're my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” You're my refuge. You're my place of safety. You're my defender. I have my confidence you will protect me no matter what, that your plan is sure. And so I have an expectant assurance you will do what you have said. I know it to be true. And so, God is our protector. And so we can have a growing kind of a hope, just recognizing these promises. In fact, there's another P-word that goes along with protection and promises and prayer that He promises His presence. And how many times does He remind us of that? Maybe the passage that comes to mind is the one that's in Hebrews 13, where it says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” But that wasn't even the first place in the Bible where that's said, that's said all the way back in the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 31, as God's people were ready to go into the Promised Land, He reminded them, "I'm going to fight your battles. I promise to be with you. I will never leave you and forsake you." And Deuteronomy 31 is the interesting one too because it talks about that increasing confidence that we can have because God says, "I'll never leave you," because He says, "I'll never forsake you," because God says, "I cannot lie." Do you know what it says next in Deuteronomy 31:5 [6]? “Be strong and courageous. As a result of your faith and hope in God, I'm going to help you to be strong and courageous.” Another promise. And that promise reminds us, yes, we can increase in the hope that God has given us because it's not just, He's going to protect us, not just that He's going to be there, not that He's going to provide for us, but He has eternal provision in mind for us. We have the promise of eternal life and we can have increasing hope because He's promised us eternal life. And so, we see that promise reiterated over and over and over again throughout Scripture. We've been given the promise of eternal life. God can't wait to give us that gift. And He expresses it so beautifully, through the apostle Peter.

Look over at 1 Peter 1:3. It is such an amazing reminder of how these things tie together because He just doesn't say, "Hey, I've got this promise here." He also ties it in with what we've been talking about today. Notice the way that Peter refers to this in 1 Peter 1, right away at the very beginning of his letter, he goes to this thought, and I find it to be so encouraging as we consider this. 1 Peter 1:3. Peter was inspired to write, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” so, we don't serve a dead Savior. Our Savior is alive and is at the right hand of God in His very heavenly throne room. And so, we've been called to have this living hope. And if it's living, it is living and growing and increasing and we can have that kind of hope. And that kind of hope is a motivating… it's a hope that brings us to act upon that hope. And so, when we look a little farther down in verse 13, yeah, we're moved to action. So, in verse 13, it says “gird up the loins of your mind,” which sounds really weird. Girding your mind, what in the world does that... In other words, be ready for action. Be ready to act, be motivated to be a doer, not just a hearer, be a doer. Get ready, get ready for action, “be sober,” notice what it says, “and rest your hope” your elpis, “fully upon the grace that's to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So, we see another promise. The promise of eternal life is coming and we can count on it because Christ will be revealed. Jesus Christ is returning. Another one of God's promises that can increase our hope. Christ is going to return and we are nearer than ever to that very return. And so, we can count on it and we can increase in our hopefulness and have that kind of confidence because God says it will come about. So rest our hope fully on that. In fact, Paul was trying to inspire and encourage and in a way, teach a young minister about that hopefulness that we can have that is ever increasing. That young man was Titus. And in Titus 2, he reminded Titus of that very fact, Christ is going to return. And it's not a what-if, it's an absolute, we can count on it. We are assured of it. We can have confidence, it is fact and Christ is coming back. And so, he reminded Titus of this in chapter 2, notice verse 11, notice verse 11. He says “the grace of God brings salvation” we don't earn it, we know we are given eternal life, and it's “appeared to all men.” Of course, Emmanuel, Christ came God with us. He was the one who appeared.

And we were taught that denying ungodliness and worldly loss, yes, we've got to live righteously, live soberly and godly in the present age.

But this life isn't what it's all about and the challenges that we face, they're just a blip on the radar screen. It's temporary. What's permanent? What's absolute? What's something that we can be absolutely assured of? Christ will return with our salvation. And so, he says in verse 13, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. And so, we can have ever-growing hope that God said it, it's absolute and Christ is returning. He will return and He's bringing His gift of eternal life with Him. And so, we can have that confidence and hope that no doubt these things will happen. And if you wanted to make a study of it, just start listing these amazing hopeful promises because it goes on and on and on and on. And we recognize there is one thing behind each one of these examples and that's God Himself, God Himself. He is the foundation. He is our basis for hope and really, the only reason we can have confidence. And so, we can base our life on it. We can base that perspective and our focus on that and what we do today and what we think and how we feel should really flow from that hopefulness that God's given to us because you start to get down to it.

If our life flows from this, what am I doing here today? Well, I'm looking to God because I trust Him and I love Him and I care about Him and I want to obey Him and follow Him and He's given us hopeful promises. Why do we pray? I want a closer relationship with God and it is an amazing blessing, what He has in store for us. And when you look at so many examples of going through difficulties, going through hardships and trials, or you look at the examples in the Bible of those who suffered persecution and those that still sacrificed and they gave, and they even died in faith. And if you boil all of those things down to why, I think it comes down to that word, hope. They trusted God. And after all, it is one of God's names, hope is one of God's names. And we see that in Romans 15:13. Notice how we're reminded of this very fact, and I think this is so cool that God not only says it, but He reminds us, "This is who I Am. This is who I Am. This is part of Me.” We can see one facet of the character of God is hope. And so like, Yahweh Yireh, you know, the God that Provides whether it's our healing Lord, here we see He's also the God of hope. So Romans 15:13 reminds us of that.

Paul, as he's concluding, kind of gives this encouraging statement to kind of a benediction, you might say, of the wonderful blessings we find in God. And so, he says, "Now may the God of hope," and that's not just that He is a God of hope, this is like a name, like the God who provides, "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." And so, we recognize that it's the God of hope that we place our trust. And we recognize because of His gift, that's not something I can earn, that's not anything I can achieve on my own, that this is such a great reminder. This is by the power of God's Holy Spirit. He's given me the gift of His Spirit. And so, it's by His power, by His authority, by His command that He gives us the ability to be hopeful. And so, what an amazing thing this is. And when we do that, do you know God reacts to what we do when it comes to fulfilling His command? And it ties back to hope once again.

If you've still got a place held there in Psalms, go back to Psalm 147:11. Psalm 147:11 talks about God's perspective. You know, when you think about how does God react when I'm pleasing Him and I put my trust, my confidence, my hope in Him, Psalm 147 tells us what God thinks. 147:11. Notice what it says. “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.” God loves it. Some translations say it's the Lord's delight in those. God loves us and is so excited and joyful over the fact that we put our confidence in His unfailing promise, in His unfailing love. And so, what a blessing, what a blessing we have. And so, we should make it our goal. We should determine to submit our lives to the power of God's Holy Spirit. And we focus on Him today. Never look the other way. Look to Him knowing that He's always there no matter what, no matter what. We know that He will do what He said He will do and He will promise as He increases our hope. And so we can be expectant and we can be confident that good will come to pass because that's His nature. That's what He said will happen and He is going to come through for us. And so, we can have that expectation with certainty. We can have that confidence and assurance because, in our great God, we place our full hope.