Pastor Jim Mann
I saw a political bumper sticker the other day that actually made me laugh. Picture a typical political endorsement, but instead of the politician’s name it read “Giant Meteor 2016.” Underneath it said “Just end it already.” When you prefer a meteor instead of the two presidential candidates in the race, you might say you’ve lost all hope.
Hope. What is it?
Most of us can’t really define the term. We might use the words “wish” or “desire” as synonyms. Used in a sentence we might say, “I hope Tony Romo can stay healthy this season.”
The Bible uses this term constantly – but with a very different understanding of hope than ours. In biblical terms, “hope” describes an expectation. Let me give you an example.
In Joshua, chapter two, we meet a lady named Rahab who lives in the great walled city of Jericho. The Israelites plan on attacking the city in a matter of days. So they sent in some spies to get the lay of the land. These spies were discovered and would have been executed, except Rahab hid them from the soldiers.
As she helped them escape, they made a deal with her. Since you saved us, we will return the favor. Hang a scarlet cord out your window, and when we attack we will see it and spare everyone in your house.
So Rahab hung a red cord out her window.
Here’s where the story is interesting. The words “cord” and “hope” in Hebrew are the same word, tikvah. This cord was her hope. In a real sense this cord was her bond…her promise…her expectation that when the Hebrews saw the red rope they would spare her family.
Rahab was not wishing or desiring to be spared when Jericho fell…she wasn’t optimistic the Hebrews would let her live; no, she expected it. She expected to be spared because she spared the lives of the two spies. They made her a promise, and the cord proved it. That, my friends, is biblical hope.
This is the idea the Psalmist brings out, “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:114, NIV). When our hope is in God and his promises, we can expect them to be carried out. If He says it, we can count on it.
So hang that scarlet cord out your window. Put your hope in Him!
I’ll see you in church!
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website: www.NewLifeDenton.org for more information.