In this article, I discuss the results of my analysis of the passages identified from the Logos 9 search of the NASB exhaustive concordance (Thomas, R. L., The Lockman Foundation. (1998). New American Standard exhaustive concordance of the Bible: updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.).
My focus was on passages that encourage people who, due to their circumstances, lack hope. Encouragement comes from the fact that salvation creates a present-day benefit as well as an eternal benefit.
RELEVANT PASSAGES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
Many times people place their hope in the things of the world rather than the things of God. This is understandable in a secular sense because a person can see the things of the world in contrast to the things of God, which are unseen. In Psalm 33:17–18 (HCSB), God counsels that tangible power, wealth, and the like do not provide safety, but only God does:
17 The horse is a false hope for safety; it provides no escape by its great power. 18 Now the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him— those who depend on His faithful love
A reoccurring theme throughout Psalms is that God protects His people, i.e., saved people. One example is Psalm 31:23–24 (HCSB), which reads:
23 Love the Lord, all His faithful ones. The Lord protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant. 24 Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord.
Another passage that teaches about God’s protection of His people is Psalm 37:27–28 (NASB95), which reads:
27 Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice And does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
Placing one’s hope in the world, which corresponds to an absence of hope in God, creates depression and turmoil. Twice, the Psalmist reinforces this principle in Psalm 42:5, 11 (HCSB) reads:
5 Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. … 11 Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.
Rest and peace in this life come only from God according to Psalm 62:1–2 (HCSB), which reads:
1 I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.
Even after disobedience, God’s grace is available through repentance and faith, as demonstrated by the events reported in Ezra 10:1–5 (HCSB), which reads:
1 While Ezra prayed and confessed, weeping and falling facedown before the house of God, an extremely large assembly of Israelite men, women, and children gathered around him. The people also wept bitterly. 2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, an Elamite, responded to Ezra: “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the surrounding peoples, but there is still hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 Let us therefore make a covenant before our God to send away all the foreign wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the command of our God. Let it be done according to the law. 4 Get up, for this matter is your responsibility, and we support you. Be strong and take action!” 5 Then Ezra got up and made the leading priests, Levites, and all Israel take an oath to do what had been said; so they took the oath.
These passages from the Old Testament teach us that placing our hope in the things of the world leads to failure and disappointment. Preservation, peace, strength, and courage come only by putting our hope in God. The great news is that even after placing our hope in the wrong objects, God’s grace remains available when we place our hope in Him.
RELEVANT PASSAGES FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT
According to 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (HCSB), Paul taught that it is futile to place one’s hope in riches, but instead, one must place their hope on God:
17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good reserve for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real.
Without hope in God, there is separation from God. Paul taught this truth when he wrote Ephesians 2:11–12 (HCSB), which reads:
11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. 12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
In Colossians 1:21–23 (HCSB), Paul taught the best news ever that salvation bridges this separation:
21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions. 22 But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him — 23 if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.
The absence of hope in God leads to grief according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (HCSB):
13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
In contrast, the God of hope gives good things per Romans 15:13 (HCSB), which reads:
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our hope in God allows us to lead a godly life eager to do good works per what Paul taught in Titus 2:11–14 (HCSB):
11 For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.
Our hope in God is an anchor for our lives according to Hebrews 6:18–19 (HCSB):
18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
New Testament Scripture teaches that what we see in the world is uncertain. Therefore, placing our hope in things of the world leads to separation and alienation from God. However, by putting our hope in God, we receive joy and peace. The great news is that even after placing our hope in the wrong objects, God’s grace remains available when we put our hope in Him.
Salvation impacts more than our “sweet bye and bye.” Salvation, i.e., hope in Jesus Christ, dramatically changes our current life on earth. Thus, salvation has a long-term impact on eternities and a short-term impact on our temporal physical life.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change.
Today can be the day of your salvation! Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved. You can also go to another article at my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
Please send me any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comments feature of the blog.
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