Nov 23, 2014 |MSU

Hope

11.23.14 | MSU

Hope

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Hope: “A longing or expectation. To look forward to with desire and strong confidence.”

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15)

To find an expert in hope, look to those who seek God when circumstances are bad.

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven me and brought me
into darkness without any light …

He has made my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged me and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has made my chains heavy …

He has tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate …

I have become a laughingstock of all peoples,
the object of their taunts all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood …

My soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is …

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall! (Lamentations 3:1-19)

Our natural [sinful] tendency in tough times is to forget God, forsake God, and then pursue alternatives that are not of God.

Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:11-13)

Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)

Thus says the Lord, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Jeremiah saw the Character of God expressed in 4 ways:

PRESENCE OF GOD

PROMISE OF GOD

PLAN OF GOD

PROVISION OF GOD

God is sovereign; He will never leave us or forsake us.

“Do not say, I am only a youth; for to all whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:7-8)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Hope has the big picture: Eternity.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39)

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven me and brought me
into darkness without any light …

He has made my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged me and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has made my chains heavy …

He has tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate …

I have become a laughingstock of all peoples,
the object of their taunts all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood …

My soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is …

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall! (Lamentations 3:1-19)

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pain; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

C.S. Lewis

God is sufficient for us in all of our circumstances.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)

Youth