“Faith and hope are not merely casual or theoretical matters. Faith requires a steadfast soul, while hope needs a firm will and an honest heart. How without grace can one readily believe in things unseen? How can a man have hope concerning the hidden things held in store unless through his own integrity he has gained some experience of the Lord’s gifts? These gifts of grace are a gage of the blessings held in store, which they manifest as present realities. Faith and hope, then, require both virtue on our part and God’s inspiration and help. Unless both are present we labour in vain.”
– St. Theognostos
“Trust always operates in the present tense. Hope looks toward the future. Trust looks to the present. Hope expects. Trust possesses. Trust receives what prayer acquires. So, what prayer needs, at all times, is abiding and abundant trust”
– E.M. Bounds
In every awakening, there is someone who prepares their heart and desires that others do the same. The element of heart preparation is crucial to any move of God.
A mid-century example is found in the Awakening which took place on the Ile of Lewis in 1949.
When Christine and Peggy (elderly Presbyterians in the 1950’s) began praying for a sovereign move of God over their town of Barvis, on the Ile of Lewis, in Scotland, they sanctified themselves and pledged to pray every evening from 9pm to 3am. Soon, a group of men, led by her pastor, began a prayer meeting at the same times in a Barn. Several months went by while the purging of all spiritual dross was taking place. Finally, one young man stood and cried out to God saying, “My heart is pure, my hands are clean, it is time for you Lord to keep your promise and answer our prayers.” When they opened the barn doors, approximately 300 souls were prostrate in the adjacent field, under conviction of their sins. No preacher had preached, no music had been sung, no appeal had been given—just the power of the Holy Ghost brought conviction and conversion.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”
Hope is the ability to see through the darkness and to know that beyond the thin veil of this present world (which is passing away) there is an eternal city shining with the Glory of our God. Its citizens have already passed through great trial and temptation and are watching our progress with great anticipation for us to complete that which God began with them* (Hebrews 11:39-12:1). We read of Abraham who lived in a strange country sustained by hope; “for he LOOKED for a City whose builder and maker is God”. We see Moses who endured great trials for 40 years because he saw Him who is invisible! We read of the lives of those who made a difference in their day not because they were strong but because their God was strong on their behalf. This present day of small things will and must give way to the dawning of His Life within His own who feel the pulse of His Hope and His purposes. It is in such a time as this that those who long for more of God, who thirst for more than just another Sunday sermon, will know within their hearts that God has something greater than what we see today.
“And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope”
“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…
“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”
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”
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; Joyful tidings, Yes, the Lord has risen to-day”