Thought for Today
“A heart without hope
is like a sail without wind”
“A heart without hope
is like a sail without wind”
“And thou shalt be secure,
because there is hope”
Hope is the anchor and the security of our life in God. It is the assurance of God at work in the human heart. It takes no confidence in the things seen for it is the temperament of a heart who is dependent upon God Himself. It is a strength when all outward help disappoints. It is a refuge from the storms of life. It holds us fast within the embrace of our Father’s love, it steadies us in the shifting sands of life and it keeps us moving forward in the path of faith. Hope brings to the faithful heart the great promise of God…
“Hope maketh not ashamed”
“They looked unto him, and were lightened:
and their faces were not ashamed”
There is light in none other. It is the Light of God shining forth in the face of Jesus Christ whereby men and women are enlightened. The light of His life is what causes His people to arise out of the clutches of this world; its darkness, its ways, its offerings and temptations. In seeing Him, in beholding His countenance, we are lifted into heavenly places; the veil is parted and we behold His Glory.
“…unto them that look for him shall he appear”
Looking implies dependence; the eyes are guided by that which one desires. We look for Him for He is our salvation. He is our comforter. He is the hope which makes us not ashamed to declare Him to the world and more importantly to one another. In the seeing of Him the offenses and rejection of friends and foes are dissipated. “Their faces were not ashamed”; their hopes of life and godliness renewed. The ability to rise up from every circumstance and every failure is invigorated by His light of pure wonder. Let us not shrink back because of disappointments in life. Let us ever be renewed in the beauty and power of the light that beckons us to higher and deeper things.
“Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God”
The cry for such a heart arises from those with a passion for God. It ascends from the discovery of our true condition. Those who live by doctrines and positional truths can pacify their need for change; for those who truly desire Him the necessity of a clean heart cannot be ignored.
David’s actions brought him to a place of devastation and helplessness. Deep within his heart he knew that offering the blood of the sin offering was not sufficient for his condition. He recognized that his need was far beyond forgiveness. He needed a new heart, a clean heart; one that would not wander into the abyss of lust and murder. There is something more than forgiveness. There is something beyond the cycle of sin and its wages. It is a clean and right heart incapable of repeating the former things! It is called change and transformation which is only possible by the power of God working within.
The Hebrew word “create” is a word used only in reference to God. It literally means to make something out of nothing. It is used of God when He “created” the world (though in a different tense with divine purpose). It is used here in the imperfect tense signifying an ongoing and uncompleted work. The depths and the mystery of the human heart, the very spring from which all our actions flow, needs the continual and ever-present influence of God Himself. It requires an abiding in Him, a leaning upon Him and a moment-by-moment reliance upon Him. There is no point of arrival for even perfection is dimmed in the presence of God. Abiding in Him brings us to new vistas of His glory, His purposes and the continual unveiling of deeper truths. These new truths require a deeper dependency upon Him to walk in the wonder and reality of them.
What a privilege we have to know the only One who can and will create in us a clean and right heart! Every disappointment, every fresh recognition of our inability to walk with Him, can bring us to the ardent pursuit and hope of His creating within us a clean heart. They who are content with forgiveness only miss out on the creative wonder of His work! He came not only to bring forgiveness but to change us from “glory to glory” even to the extent that we bear His image in our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18). The New Covenant is about much more than just forgiveness for repeatedly sinning and falling. It is about His power creating within us a clean heart that overcomes sin and wickedness by the power of His life within.
David’s cry for this creative work of God and his use of this powerful word comes from a thorough knowledge of his own depravity of being. He knows the need for the “creating” work of God to bring forth a clean heart out of his own nothingness. He is not interested in a mending or a fixing of his heart; he is crying out for the New Creation work of God.
God is willing and able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask.
“A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you…”
It takes a new heart to receive and abide within the newness of His Spirit.
“The deepest need of humans is not food and clothing and shelter, important as they are. It is God. We have mistaken the nature of poverty, and thought it was economic poverty. No, it is poverty of the soul, deprivation of God’s recreating, loving peace”
“He restoreth my soul”
“I am the resurrection”
Wherever and whenever the heart of a wandering soul, a lost soul or a dying soul meets the wonder of Him, resurrection and life are the immediate result. He is not only the Resurrected One, He is the ever resurrecting one. Regardless of age, status in life or circumstances, He is our resurrection. Newness of life, joy, worship and praise are the on-going expressions of any life beholding Him. Death, sorrow, fear, discouragement and despair flee from His presence as shadows disappear from radiant light.
Linger not in the shadows of human reasoning or the stains of sin or unbelief. Come to the fountain which will never fail; whose waters are filled with the abundance of His Life, cleansing, refreshing and replenishing us with the vigor of His eternal life.
“Come ye saints, look here and wonder,
See the place where Jesus lay;
He has burst His bands asunder;
He has borne our sins away;
Yes, the Lord has risen to-day”
“To him that overcometh will I give…”
Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26-28, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21
His table is set for us in the midst of our perplexities and adversaries (Psalm 23:5). His bread is rich in the spiritual nutrients of grace and the fruits of His Spirit. It is not in the absence of trouble that we grow and develop; rather it is in the midst of the very things which seek to undermine us. It is in the very face of our adversities that we are outfitted to walk and apprehend his call.
Little did Joseph’s brothers know that in their treatment of Joseph they were in fact unwitting vessels setting in motion the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Saul did not comprehend that his pursuit and envy of David were the means through which God raised a man after His own heart. Whether it is apathy, envy or distrust of our brothers and sisters, the forgetful butler (Gen. 40:23) or the unfeeling jailers of God’s people, the vision stands sure. God will accomplish His ends if we hold fast to the faith He has placed within our hearts.
It is not simply those who have vision who will receive of God’s gracious hand. It is those who overcome through hope in God’s vision who receive the prize of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Doctrinal visions fade with the passing of time. However, a vision received in the heart, held by hope in the ONE who cannot lie, is an unassailable power which will persevere until the day dawns and His purpose is fulfilled.
Overcoming is simply the result of His Life beating within our breast. His Life is the resurrection from death itself. No grave or disappointment can withstand Him. So not only do we hold to His promises but with the passage of time is the realization that we are held by Him! Through the mountains and valleys of our journey the flame of hope lights our way even in the darkest of nights. The flicker of the eternal keeps us bound to the vision He has birthed. As Paul stood before Agrippa bound in chains, held fast within the Roman penal system, he declared with all boldness…
“Whereupon, O king Agrippa,
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
True vision holds one to a life of obedience regardless of the circumstances. This was not a personal vision which held Paul; it was a “heavenly” one and as such it could not fade because of earthly circumstances. This vision supplies to the beholder faith, obedience and the wonder of Hope as an anchor to our soul. Those who let the vision fade become weary, pragmatic and compromised in a world which seeks to undermine the intense fire of all true pilgrims.
Overcomers are those who keep their feet moving forward, their hearts beating with the fervor of a love which cannot be quenched. In their times of discouragement and failure they rise because of a Hope that cannot be denied. True overcomers are those who follow the “heavenly vision”.
“So often we have a kind of vague,
wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true.
The only way really to enter into them
is to believe them with the clutching intensity
of a drowning man”
“Now unto him that is able to do
exceeding abundantly above all
that we ask or think”
The valleys of the Christian walk are difficult but necessary. It is in the valleys that our vision of Him is narrowed and our world seems black and white. Life becomes a series of endless, relentless steps seemingly without purpose. The sun rises late and sets early. Friendships become distant and the way is solitary. It is here fellow sojourner where hope becomes the anchor of our heart. This hope does not rely on external things, for the visible betrays the truth and the feelings within offer no encouragement. It is here where we need to be reminded “that (He) is able to do…” His word is not only shrouded in promises but He Himself is the promise. He is the One who accomplishes His Word in and through the context of our journey.
Not at some distant future moment in time but “now” brings our praise to Him in the moment; in the valley, in the heart ache of a circumstance, a loved one, or a broken relationship. Now is God’s Word to us that in the valley He is “doing” in us the very thing that He has promised. The length of the valley is shortened when we with faith and hope cling to Him who is invisible. Faith sees Him. It recognizes the unseen hand even in the face of our enemies and the hard things we must endure. Moses “endured” because he saw Him who is invisible. The enduring graces of faith, hope and love working within His own are in themselves the very fulfillment of His Word to us; to be people of substance in a world void of light and life.
“And now, Lord, what wait I for?
my hope is in thee”
The valleys bring us to new places of trust in Him. We are no longer looking for an event or some external hand of help. We are reduced to a hope centered upon God Himself. It is here that character and trust in God alone becomes woven into the very fabric of our lives.
“And I will give her…
the valley of Achor* for a door of hope”
Valleys are to become doors into new places of hope and glory. It is by walking through them (and not lingering) that they become to us a door instead of a dead end. May our feet keep moving and the fire of His love impel us to new places in Him.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised
to them that love him”
*Note: Achor – עכר
The root-verb עכר (akar) means to stir up, disturb or trouble. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament remarks that this verb “reflects the social dimension of an individual’s action”.
Jacob uses this verb to describe his position among the Canaanites when Simeon and Levi killed the men of Shechem after the rape of Dinah (Genesis 34:30).
After years of drought, king Ahab accused Elijah of being the troubler of Israel (1 Kings 18:17). King Solomon proclaimed that a cruel man brings trouble to his own flesh (Proverbs 11:17), and a man who brings trouble on his household inherits the wind (11:29).
This verb’s derivation עכור (akor) means trouble, but it occurs only as the name Achor. (Abiram Publications)
“And (the) hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”
Hope will not bring a true believer to shame for the true hope is not a whimsical wish or vain thought. The true hope is a power that holds one’s heart firm in the midst of storm and trial.
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
both sure and stedfast,
and which entereth into that within the veil”
In Hebrews the living Hope of His own is equated to an anchor for the soul. The purpose of an anchor is to hold a boat firm so it does not drift away from its position. The line to which the anchor is attached passes out of sight, a picture of faith and hope in the common course of life. The anchor has no ability to hold on its own. It must find its resting place on the terra-firma below. It is not an empty religious hope; it is a hope that “enters in within the veil”. The inner sanctum of the temple/tabernacle is called the Holy of Holies. It is the place where God dwelt and manifested Himself. “The Hope” (as rendered in the Greek) is not some imagined expectation based on hearsay. It is the power of the fruit of faith, an anchor to the very soul of man. The power of Hope brings men and women to a life of stability and authenticity. There can be no stability in those who are not authentic. Those who live and walk for appearance sake only will not withstand the storms of life. It is in those storms that we are made bare. Not only is The Hope an anchor for our soul, it is also a living power to purge us of all pretense and ignorance. It beckons us to be “…found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”. This Hope works in the lives of His own to penetrate the fog of our own thinking and the deceitfulness of our own hearts to bring us to the light and glory of the One who dwells within the veil.
“And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure”
1 John 3:3
This Hope pulsates with the very light of God and rests in the character of His being. It is an anchor through relationship with Him who is immovable. Hope brings character, for character is the revelation of a pure heart.
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”
Left to ourselves, by nature we are double minded (or as the Greek would render it (“double souled”). The religious man seeks to serve God and self but as Jesus spoke so clearly “no man can serve two masters…” Sooner or later the choice must be made and the life revealed. It is as we hold on to this living hope that a fire is set within and we know the purging and purifying power of His hope. “This hope” makes not ashamed, will not disappoint and will not leave us “barren nor unfruitful” in the things of our God.
“And hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”
The end of “the Hope” makes us not ashamed “because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost”! The true and living Hope of God working within the lives of His own must culminate in God’s Love being expressed in our lives! His hope will not allow us to be ashamed because His Love will be the surety of its own authenticity.
“He that loves not knows not God; for God is love”
1 John 4:8
“And now faith, hope, and love,
these three things remain;
but the greatest of these is love”
1 Corinthians 13:13
“I had fainted,
unless I had believed to see the goodness
of the Lord in the land of the living”
The living hope of seeing Him in this life is the source from which faithfulness draws its strength. A living hope is one that produces life within the hearts of those who are held in its grasp. While many hold to a hope after death, a living hope is found in those who are alive in Christ; from its well flows faithfulness and purity of heart (1John 3:3). We see Him in proportion to the purity in which we walk. A living hope facilitates a life of growth and stability. It speaks of holding fast, of feeding others when we are hungry, giving water to others while walking in desert places, of rising up when we are close to fainting and of worshiping Him even when “…the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.”
Our Faith is revealed in these times. We hold our course and we faint not in a “dry and weary land, where there is no water”. It is in times of loneliness and separation that we are most tempted to yield to despair. These are the times we look to our forefathers who endured great hardships and we see the faithfulness of God meeting them in the “land of the living”.
We read of Moses who endured “as seeing Him who is invisible”; Sarah “receiving strength” to conceive being well past the age of child bearing” because she judged “Him faithful who had promised”. We read of the “endurance of Job and the end of the Lord”. All these things are written for us that we may overcome as they did to the Glory of our God.
“Thou therefore endure hardness,
as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”