Hope (Advent Week 1)

Alissa Morrisson

Hope (Advent Week 1)


Hope. What exactly is it? Why is it something our souls crave? Everyone feels that life can be more, that life can be better, that we can be better. However, not everyone knows how to attain that. We, as humans, are constantly trying to place hope in whatever seems most sustainable or sturdy at that given time. We do it with our finances, relationships, attitudes, futures, careers, etc. We want to know there is good in the future even if our present circumstances say otherwise. 

One of the benefits of being on this side of Jesus coming to earth is that we get to look back at the whole story of scripture and get to see the dealings of God with his people. We get to see their disobedience and idolatry. We get to see God frequently pointing them back to Him. We get to see his people walking away again, and again, and again. We also get to see the promises, and the fulfillment of the promises, and how God saved and continues to save today. 

As a society we have turned our backs on God, while we have sacrificed everything we are and everything we have on the altar of success and fame.

 

Jeremiah 33:14-16 says, “14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: The Lord is our righteousness.

A message of hope where there seems to be no hope at all.

 

Jeremiah was writing to a nation under siege, with ruthless enemies closing in. Jeremiah describes the name of the Savior in verse 15 (a righteous branch), and verse 16 (the Lord our righteousness). This is a word play directly in contrast to King Zedekiah, whose name means, “the Lord is righteous.” With the presence of this righteous branch, sprouting from David’s line, Israel will finally experience God’s righteousness in a way that King Zedekiah never was able to provide. 

We see later on in scripture that Jesus did in fact come from the lineage of David, as was prophesied. Jesus had a message about the fulfillment of all these prophecies in Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The Kingdom has come, but we don’t see all justice and righteousness executed in the land. The Kingdom has come and we are in this season of waiting for the Kingdom to fully come. It is both.

Before Jesus was arrested in John 14-17, He describes how He will be preparing a place for us, and He warns us of trials and tribulations that are coming. He tells us to wait. He tells us to wait for the promised Holy Spirit to come and that He will be the one who will continue to lead us, teach us, comfort us, and guide us.

The kingdom of God has come, and the Kingdom of God is yet to fully come.

 

This is called the “already, but not yet.” So what do we do in the meantime? We wait.

Waiting. It’s a concept we all know and understand, but at the same time can’t fully wrap our minds around. No one actually chooses to wait. Waiting is a visible sign that we live in a fallen world, that not all is as it should be. Because if everything were as we desired them, we wouldn’t have to wait. 

We wait for His return. What do we do in the meantime? We revel in his presence. It is in the waiting that people forget and lose hope. In the waiting is where we can grow bitter and resentful. In the waiting we can become paralyzed with fear. In the waiting we find the excuse to do nothing. We live in a world right now where anxiety, depression, laziness, and loneliness is at an all time high. Why? Because people have lost hope.

What would it look like if we were a people who lived in expectant anticipation that God will do what He said He would do, daily seeking His presence, and joining with Him in advancing the kingdom of God?

 

What if, in the midst of waiting, there is hope and what if this hope is for you today. Not just this far off hope of Jesus coming back, but His Kingdom is here, His church is here, living, breathing, and alive. This kind of hope is doing what God has asked us to do with full confidence that He is sovereign over all. This is the hope that the God of the bible offers. 

Biblical hope is not optimism because it is based on a person. Optimism is about choosing to see in any situation how circumstances could work out for the best, but biblical hope is not focused on circumstance.

Hope, in the context of the bible, is not the expectation of improved circumstance, but a grasp on who Jesus is.

 

Hosea is an example of this because he lived in a dark time when Israel was being oppressed by foreign empires. He chose hope when he said, “God could turn this valley of trouble into a door of hope.” This kind of waiting is an act of hope. 

So, I want you to ask yourself the following questions: 

(1) What are you doing in the waiting?

(2) If you have lost hope, where do you think your hope was in the first place?