Living in Hope
This week made life on earth a little more hopeless. You may have read the transcript of the testimony that was taken at the US Senate.
The May edition of Jane's Missiles and Rockets reports that recent missile tests by Iran may have been part of the development of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warhead.
Jane's cites testimony from the Senate Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security from March 8, 2005, by Peter Pry and Lowell Wood. Wood is a member of the Congressional EMP Commission, which released a report on the EMP threat in July 2004. Iran has practiced detonating its Shahab-3 missiles while in mid-air, which has lead some intelligence officials to suspect that Iran is practicing the execution of an EMP attack.
Senator Jon Kyl (a Republican Senator from Arizona), who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, wrote the following about the EMP threat in the April 15 edition of the Washington Post:
"An electromagnetic pulse attack on the American homeland is one of only a few ways that the United States could be defeated by its enemies - terrorist or otherwise. And it is probably the easiest. A single Scud missile, carrying a single nuclear weapon, detonated at the appropriate altitude, would interact with the Earth's atmosphere, producing an electromagnetic pulse radiating down to the surface at the speed of light. Depending on the location and size of the blast, the effect would be to knock out already stressed power grids and other electrical systems across much or even all of the continental United States, for months if not years.
Few if any people would die right away. But the loss of power would have a cascading effect on all aspects of US society. Communication would be largely impossible. Lack of refrigeration would leave food rotting in warehouses, exacerbated by a lack of transportation as those vehicles still working simply ran out of gas (which is pumped with electricity). The inability to sanitize and distribute water would quickly threaten public health, not to mention the safety of anyone in the path of the inevitable fires, which would rage unchecked. And as we have seen in areas of natural and other disasters, such circumstances often result in a fairly rapid breakdown of social order...
American society has grown so dependent on computer and other electrical systems that we have created our own Achilles' heel of vulnerability..." Senator Kyl summed up the situation best when he said, "This threat may sound straight out of Hollywood, but it is very real."
Humans can live 40 days without food, 3 days without water, 8 minutes without air, But only 1 second without hope!
- Matthew 24:21-22 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
The more I study God's Word, the more I believe that the world is now set up for this final chapter of human history. It appears that the next big event on God’s prophetic map for the earth is the Messiah coming and destroying this present world order and setting up God’s Kingdom.
The real issue is only believers are spared the horrors--are you ready?
The first time Jerusalem was destroyed we find what happens to those who keep their eyes on the God of Jerusalem. Even when there seems to be no reason to go on, no reason to hope--Jeremiah had his eyes on the Lord.
- Lamentations 3:21-25 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
HOPE is what God to those who keep their eyes on the God who has chosen Jerusalem.
Hope in the Lord who alone can give you a future and a hope! Humans can live 40 days with no food, 3 days with no water, 8 minutes with no air—but humans can’t live a second without hope!
The Hebrew language of the Old Testament is a rich storehouse of words which define hope. There are four Hebrew words that give us valuable insights into the many way God can make us live in hope. Let's examine these words and see how words written thousands of years ago leap right into the twenty-first century and our lives.
The first Hebrew word that God gives us is describing WAITING HOPE—the word is QAVAH (6960): HOPE THAT RENEWS EXHAUSTED STRENGTH. Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Isaiah 40:31.
The original idea of this verb was to twist or to stretch something. It was associated with the twisting and stretching of weak strands into a strong rope. From this the word metaphorically developed into the idea of enduring under tension. This concept sprung from the fact that even a weak thread twisted together with a rope became strong. The belief grew that as we hope in the Lord's promises we are woven into His strength and strengthened to withstand the stresses of life.
A great promise given by Isaiah illustrates this word:
- Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
The word translated wait in Isaiah is qavah. The major shade of meaning in this is “waiting in the expectant HOPE and being strengthened thereby.” The margin note renders it “who HOPE in the Lord,” which is more accurate. A sure hope in the future enables a person to have superhuman strength:
- Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who [HOPE in] the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
This is exactly the same word and hope that the patriarch Jacob testified about at the end of his 147 year long life of troubles, stress, and disasters. Genesis 49:18 I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!
King David in writing the Psalms uses this word more frequently than any other biblical writer. This word actually was one of the keys to David's life. He recognized that his human strength was never enough to meet the stresses of life.
- Psalm 25:3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
- Psalm 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.
- Psalm 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.
- Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
- Psalm 37:9, 34 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. 34 Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
- Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.
- Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.
- Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope (yachal #3176).
- Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
The second Hebrew word that God gives us is describing TRUSTING HOPE--the word is YACHAL (3176): HOPE THAT PRODUCES GREAT ENDURANCE. Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Job 13:15.
The root idea of this word is to wait for something. It came to mean an expectant waiting under extreme pressure. The scholar R. B. Girdlestone says, "Yachal occurs several times in the Book of Job and signifies a long patient waiting." A study of the usage of this word in the Book of Job gives the most accurate connotations. Job was a man going through extreme trial: he lost his great wealth, all his children, and his health-in rapid succession. He was suffering incredible and constant physical and mental pain. Yet as he thought of why God had permitted all this he says,
- Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. [Here the word yachal means to keep on hoping with endurance under extreme pressure. Job's hope in the Lord enabled him to endure and be stabilized even under adverse conditions. ]
- Job 14:14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes.
- Genesis 8:12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
- Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.
- Psalm 33:18, 22 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, 22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.
- Psalm 38:15 For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.
- Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. 11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
- Psalm 71:14 But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.
- Psalm 119:43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances. 49 Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope.
- Psalm 119:74 Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word. 81 My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word. 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. 147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.
- Lamentations 3:21, 24 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
The third Hebrew word that God gives us is describing CLINGING HOPE--the word is BATACH (982): HOPE THAT INSPIRES DEEPER TRUST. Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Proverbs 3:5.
- Proverbs 3:5 Trust [literally cling to] the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
Here batach is used in the sense of hope that comes from casting one's total future upon God as a little child and trusting Him for everything. This word is most often translated to trust or to have confidence in someone-usually God. But in some contexts it is definitely used to mean hope, as in the great prophetic Twenty-second Psalm. The Messiah's thoughts while suffering on the cross are predicted here:
"But thou [God] art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me HOPE [batach] when I was upon my mother's breasts" (Psalms 22:9 KJV).
- Psalm 37:3-5 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
- Psalm 40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust [cling to] the Lord.
- Psalm 56:3-4, 11Whenever I am afraid, I will trust [cling to] You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me. 11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
- Psalm 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting [clinging to] the Lord.
The final of the four Hebrew words for hope that God gives us is describing SHELTERING HOPE--the word is CHASAH (2620): HOPE THAT OFFERS SECURE REFUGE. Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Ruth 2:12.
- Ruth 2:12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
This is a beautiful word for hope. Its root meaning is "to seek shelter, refuge or protection in something or someone." It is used frequently to portray little animals taking refuge in the cleft of a rock as in Psalm 104:18 The high hills are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.
Figuratively it came to be used of man's taking refuge in God from the spiritual, emotional, and physical dangers of life. On a few occasions this concept is translated HOPE. In Proverbs 14:32 this is used in a unique way: "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death" ( KJV ).When the one who has been declared righteous by believing in Jesus as his Savior faces death, he will have a hope that is a refuge from the uncertainty and fear presented by his own death.
- 2 Samuel 22:3, 31 The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. 31 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
- Psalm 7:1 O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me,
- Psalm 11:1 In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”?
- Psalm 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
- Psalm 31:1 In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
- Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.
- Psalm 71:1 In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame.
- Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
- Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 92-93.
Robert Baker Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1948), p. 104.
Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 92-93.
Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 95.
Brown, Driver, and Briggs, p. 875.
Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 97-98.
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