One of the most important messages that we can share with people today, is the message of hope. We are living in the last days and the world has never been in a more hopeless condition. We have a wonderful message of hope that we can share with the world. This message is one of the greatest keys to reach people for Christ.
Hope is so important, that we cannot live without it. We read in Proverbs 13:12 we read, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when a desire comes it is a tree of life.” If we have desires and expectations and they do not come to pass, it can make our heart sick. We can become so discouraged that we can come to the point where we do not expect anything from God anymore, and we lose our faith, because “faith is the substance of things hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1) When our hearts are sick and if we remain discouraged, it can even affect our physical health and we can become sick in our physical bodies.
Another meaning of this verse is, Displaced hope makes the heart sick… In other words if we place our hope in anything else other than God we will become discouraged and disappointed. God should be our only hope and apart from Him we have no hope.
The second part of this verse says, “That when a desire comes it is a tree of life.” There is nothing more life giving than to have fulfilled desires. It is like a “tree of life” it energizes us and encourages us. God want us to have fulfilled desires!
Definition of hope: In the dictionary, the word hope simply means, “positive expectation.” However, the Biblical definition is far more powerful than this. Firstly it means a joyful anticipation of good things to come. The devil would like to lie to us and tell us that if we are going through a negative situation, it will never change. Or, if we are experiencing something good, it will not continue. But God wants us to know, that He can change any situation and give us hope.
Secondly, hope can also mean: To have positive thoughts or imaginations about our situations and ourselves. We have the example of Abraham in Romans 4:19-21, where we read, “he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” The word, ‘consider’ means, to think about it all the time or to study in depth. He did not spend all his time thinking, “woe is me, I am so old, and Sarah is too old to have children.” He had positive thoughts about himself and his situation because he put his hope in God.
Keys to maintain and increase our hope:
Firstly, we must have the right perspective of who God is:
The most important thing in life is what we think about God. Our perspective of God will affect every area of our life. If we have the wrong perspective, it can destroy us. For example in Deuteronomy 1:27 the Children of Israel had a wrong perspective of God. They believed that God hated them and that was why they were in the wilderness. They did not see God as a good and loving God who had their best interests at heart. As a result of this they were not able to enter into the Promised Land. In Matthew 25 we read about the parable of the talents. The servant who hid his talent and bore no fruit, saw his master as a “hard and unfair man” In the same way, our image of God will determine whether or not we will be effective and fruitful in the Kingdom of God.
God has many wonderful. He is gracious, compassionate, abundant in mercy and forgiveness. He is a God who is patient and abundant in kindness. He is a loving, caring and a tenderhearted Father. He abounds in goodness and truth. He is faithful, wise and understanding. As we meditate on His wonderful attributes, hope will grow in our hearts.
We read in Romans 15:13. “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.” God is a God of hope, it is in His very nature to give us hope and fulfill the desires of our hearts. He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we believe in Him, we will not be disappointed or ashamed. (Romans 9:33) As we believe in who He is, He will fill us with joy and peace. One of the greatest keys to joy and peace is to know God, as a God of hope!
Furthermore, we read in Romans 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” When we really know that God loves us, we will have hope. Even if we may not understand what we are going through, we know that there is something good waiting for us in the future. We read in Jeremiah 29:11 “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.” God’s thoughts towards us are always good, He loves us with an everlasting love and His intention is always to do something good for us. Even if we feel that life has passed us by, God wants us to know that we do have a future and a hope, because He is the God of hope!
Secondly: Hope comes as we read and meditate on God’s promises in His word:
We read in Romans 15:4, “… that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” For every hopeless situation, there is a promise in the Bible. In Jeremiah 15:16 we read, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart…” When we receive a personal word from the Lord, it gives us hope and will release joy and rejoicing in our hearts. We need to read and meditate in His word until it gives us hope. Our hope is not found in what we observe or feel, but in what God says, because “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
Thirdly: Hope comes through the words that we speak:
The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Our words will affect our lives. If we want to have hope, we must speak words of hope! It says in Job 22:28, “You will also declare a thing and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways.” Words of hope can bring light into our dark hopeless situations.
In the book of Ezekiel 37, God shows Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. The Bible says that they were “very dry,” a very hopeless situation. God then asks him, whether these bones can live again. Ezekiel answers and says, “Lord, only You know.” He probably thought that the bones are so dry and have been lying in the scorching sun so long, that there is no way that they could live again. In the same way, it is possible that our negative situations and circumstances have continued for such a long time that we have given up hope and just decided to live with it. We can become so used to our problems, that we do not expect anything to change!
In verse 4 God says to him, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.” In other words, say to these bones, ‘this is what God says, “you shall live!” We read about how he spoke to these bones and in verse 7, these bones began to move. He speaks again to these bones in verse 9, and these bones stood up and became a great army. In the same way, we can speak words of hope into the hopeless situations of our lives. As we do so and continue to do so, we will be able to bring new hope into hopeless situations.
We read in Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” We must, “hold fast without wavering.” In other words, “do not give up speaking words of hope even if things do not change immediately!” Derek Prince once said, “If you do not believe in your heart, confess it over and over until you have faith in your heart.” That is why, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
Fourthly: Hope comes when we remember the good things that God has done for us in the past.
In Lamentations 3:21 we read, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.” It is important that we remember the wonderful things that God has done for us in the past. For example, the miracles, the healings, the answers to prayer, our salvation and many wonderful things that God has done for us in the past. If God has done wonderful things in the past, He can do it again in the future, He wants to give us “a future and a hope.”
In Psalm 77:7 the Psalmist says, “Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more?” He had lost his hope! We then read in verse 11, “I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.” As he did so, his hope was restored.
The problem with the children of Israel was is that they failed to remember the good things that God had done for them in the past when they went through the wilderness. Instead of thanking God the wonderful miracles of the past, they complained about the present and eventually they perished in the wilderness without hope. If we think up the wonderful things that God has done for us in the past and continually thank Him for it, we will have hope for the future,
Fifthly, we will have hope when we see things in the light of eternity.
Our greatest hope is that one day we will be with Jesus for all eternity. We read in Colossians 1:27: “Christ is in you, the hope of glory.” Therefore, no matter what happens to us on earth, we have a wonderful eternal destiny ahead of us. In 1 Corinthians 15:19 Paul writes and says, “If in this life we only have hope, then we are of all men the most miserable.” In other words, the hope we have on earth is nothing compared to the hope we will one day have in eternity! We read in Hebrews 6:18-19 that our hope is “anchor for our soul that goes behind the veil (in eternity).” In Hebrew another definition for the word hope is: “a cord.” When we have hope, we connect ourselves with eternity, and the joy of eternal life becomes increasingly real to us.
As we approach the return of Jesus, things on earth will get worse and worse. That is why Jesus said to us in Luke 21:28: “When these things begin to happen, look up for your redemption draws near.” In other words, do not let the natural things on earth distract you from the great hope that awaits you in eternity.
Finally: We read in Zechariah 9:12, “Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” The stronghold mentioned here, is the stronghold of hope. It is important that we are always in a place where we never lose our hope. Our churches, our homes and even our personal lives should always be a source of hope to others. It says here, “I will restore double to you.” God wants to do even greater things for us in the future! Hope will open us up to live in God’s abundant blessing. Therefore, “... 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.” Amen