Week 5/Day 4: Hope

Day 4: The Blessing of Hope

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God…

Psalm 146:5 ESV

Carol says:

You have to understand, the concept of hope has been a mystery to me until the writing of this study. Which may sound very strange, someone living by faith, yet never recognizing the hope underlying each step of the way.

From this new perspective I see blessings of hope I wouldn’t have ever accredited to hope. There have been times I’ve acted in faith, none of it my idea (I know because I drug my heels and argued every step of the way) and ended up being rejected, turned out, or rebuked for my actions.

In those situations where I was surrendered to God in the process, I would take the person’s response to heart, bring it before Him and ask if I had misunderstood or acted disobediently to what He was calling me to do. In most cases, all I felt was peace. And sometimes a sense they had rejected God and not me, which leaves one sorrowful.

I now see these moments as a blessing of hope. My faithful steps were grounded in the hope of doing His will not mine, and when things went wrong, I was blessed with peace, knowing I had done what He called me to. It was not about me. It was about God and those with whom I interacted on His behalf.

To feel peace and not failure, that’s a blessing.

Stacy says:

We sat together as she shared her struggle, and she told me this story.

There’s this couple I’ve known a long time. They had fun together enjoying life. There was always a ton of laughter and love. They were one of my models. I wanted a relationship like theirs.

I listened and thought, Sounds like a wonderful couple. I want that kind of marriage too. Wait. Is she talking about us? She’s talking about us!

We shared for a very long time and I was determined for her to hear the truth. Marriage is hard work, and this couple she looks up to has probably experienced what most married couples have experienced.

I played mental tennis with our conversation for days wondering if what she saw was true about us. Because I’ve lived this marriage and seen us at our worst. I’ve been in the dry desert and the tropical paradises of love and relationship. My biggest concern was whether what she saw was a big show or something real.

Time revealed her view of who we were and are is real. We didn’t pretend to have a perfect relationship or some fairytale love. We simply have hope. Hope in a God who weaved two lives together, and gives strength when times get tough. Hope in a God who honors our commitment to each other regardless of how we feel. Hope is what my friend saw.

One of the blessings of hope is its ability to shine through the good and bad. It is not some glossy coat of paint making everything look shiny perfect. It is the driving force of faith God uses to bless others.

 Exercising hope in our lives, making sure it is the fuel behind our faith, has its blessings even in the darkest times.

Read Psalm 146

What does the psalmist call those whose hope is in God?

What characterizes the words in the verses flanking this truth?

Blessed is he… whose hope is in the Lord…

Those who hope in the Lord are blessed, the evidence seen in the psalmist’s words written before and after this truth. He praises God and gives numerous reasons to trust the Lord and not man.

The word translated as blessed (ESV, NASB, NIV) from the Hebrew means: blessedness or happiness (ESL). This is seen in other Bible versions where we find it written as happy (NKJV) and joyful (NLT). It is a blessedness which reveals itself in our attitude toward life. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament describes the Hebrew word used here as “a word of envious desire.”

Our verse could be written: To be envied with desire is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God…

Is this the way the blessing of hope affects your life? Are you so hope-full, people look at your life with envy?

What is it about the blessings of hope which are seen by others?

Read Proverbs 10:28

What does the hope of the righteous bring?

JOY! The root of the Hebrew word translated here is a disposition which lightens the whole being: heart, soul, and eyes (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament). Have you ever seen someone who lives life with a twinkle in their eye? Someone whose joy exudes from every part of their being? This is the kind of joy we’re talking about here. A blessing seen by others in the countenance of the hopeful.

When you see that kind of joy in someone, do you want it too?

Read Jeremiah 29:11

What do God’s plans for our lives include?

God has plans for His people. When we faithfully come on board with His plans for us, we will experience prosperity not evil. His plans bless us with a future and hope.

In the original language, where we read “welfare” or “prosperity,” the Hebrew reads shalom – peace. God’s plans include peace, but the biblical understanding of shalom is a peace in every area of life. It is a picture of wholeness: physical, spiritual, relational, and emotional contentment.

The hope found in faithfully following God’s plans for our lives leads to a peaceful life. Quite a contrast from the lives of the worldly. Turmoil, upheaval, drama, these are the consequences of living life on your own terms and not God’s.

Would a life wrapped in shalom be a way of life you desire?

Following His plans for us, knowing the hope of peace to come, leaves a mark on the lives of the faithful. Even if we have not yet experienced its full impact, the hope of shalom reveals itself as a blessing.

Read Hebrews 11:13-16

This passage is speaking of the faithful who have gone before us, and will include us too if He has not yet returned before our physical bodies die. What have they not yet received?

Do you see hope demonstrated in their lives from this description? Explain.

What is the blessing?

The faithful die without receiving the promised fulfillment of the redemption of the heavens, the earth, and our physical bodies. Yet they greeted it from afar, anticipating its coming at some point in the future. They know it is not tied to this earth, it is something God is preparing. A better country. A heavenly home.

The faithful set their hope in God and His plans, not only for themselves as individuals, but for His Kingdom to come. When we understand the hope of those in Hebrews 11, we live with openhanded generosity, joy, and peace. An attitude of hope seen even in the midst of severe persecution and seeming unkept promises at the end of life (Hebrews 11:37-40).

The hope of what is to come for the entire church when Christ returns should impact our lives in a way which others see but don’t understand.

There is another blessing of hope to consider.

Read Psalm 147:10-11

Who does the Lord take pleasure in? what delights Him?

God takes pleasure in those who fear Him and who hope in His steadfast love. Can you imagine any greater blessing than bringing joy to God? When we trust His love, put our hope in His plan for our lives and His glory, no matter what it looks like around us. He is delighted.

Consider the last time you felt simply delighted. Now imagine bringing that feeling to God. What emotions stir? Is it a blessing of hope you desire?

When we live a life of faith fueled by hope, our lives and countenance look different to others. It will be something they see and desire. And they just might ask us the reason for our hope. Which gives us a perfect set up to receive the blessing of sharing the good news of Jesus.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

1Peter 3:15 NIV

Talk It Out

Talk it over with yourself:

Do you currently experience the blessings of hope in your life? Have you in the past? List them below.

After talking about the blessings of hope, can you identify them in the life of someone you know? Was it something which made your heart say: I want that?

Talk it over with God:

Talk to God about your sense of experiencing the blessings of hope. Share your heart openly with Him about whether you feel blessed or not.

Be prepared for Him to speak truth to your heart. Be prepared to respond to what He tells you.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

And whose hope is the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:7 NKJV

Exercise Your Faith

Hope:

Consider someone in whom you’ve seen the blessing of hope. Identify the blessing. Name it.

Now tell that someone how their life of faith and hope causes you to want what they have. Tell them face to face or write them a note.

Encourage their hope and faith by telling them you see them as blessed, and as someone you want to imitate (Hebrews 6:11-12).  

Ask God to begin to move your heart to have the same faith and hope.

Reflection Scripture: Creative Journaling

Begin your reflection today by giving thanks for the blessings of hope in your life. Invite the Spirit into this time. Ask God to inspire your time together in the creative reflection process.

Read the Scripture.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13 ESV

Hope abounds. Continue your drawing, doodling, or coloring. Create abundance in some way.

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