HOPE. It's a word we use often & has some different layers of meaning. "I hope you have a good day." "Our hope is that this vaccine is safe & effective." And the Bible uses the word in these ways. But there is an even deeper meaning of hope. A really great resource on this topic is this post from John Piper. He defines biblical hope as "a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future."
Last week, I published a post listing some Bible verses about trust. This week, I want to do the same with hope. As we've already seen, hope is a many-layered word, so we'll just take each verse & try to take a mini dive into the context & meaning.
I pray this is a blessing to you & a resource you come back to often when your heart needs a reminder of the hope we have in God. I'm sure I'll come back & add to it because this is only a small portion of the references to HOPE in the Bible.
Job 13:15 - "Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face."
Job is dealing with unimaginable loss. His friends come to sit with him. They might've had good intentions, but they assume that the trials he is going through are because of some sin. Here, Job boldly proclaims that his faith in God isn't self-serving & he is innocent before God. Even if God took his life from him, his hope in God would not waver. And he could prove his innocence, too.
Psalm 33:18-19, 22 - "Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you."
The favor of God rests on the righteous, those who depend on Him & not on anything else. His steadfast, faithful love is ever resting on us as we look in hopefulness to Him.
Psalm 39:7 - "And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you."
This psalm is a lament about the sinfulness & brevity of life. But in the midst of his lament, David reaffirms where his true hope is. Not in his own ability to control his sinfulness. Not in extending his life. His hope is in God alone.
Psalm 42:5,11 (also 43:5) - "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are in turmoil within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall again praise Him, my Salvation, and my God."
Another lament from David. He is going through a time of spiritual drought. Ever been there? Me too. In these verses, David starts talking to himself, turning his focus from his circumstances to his God. Hope seems to be an upward-looking concept.
Psalm 62:5 - "For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him."
David is dealing with betrayal & he addresses that prior to this verse. Hope doesn't ignore the problem. It simply & purposefully looks to God for the solution.
Psalm 71:5 - "For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth."
Again, David isn't ignoring his problem. He is just confident that God will address it in a way that is for his good. I also like the idea that David can look back over his life & see various instances of hoping in & depending on God. Even if you haven't been a believer since a young age, you can still look back & be encouraged by these times when you've seen God's faithfulness as you've placed your hope in Him.
Psalm 119:49 - "Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope."
If you've read any portion of Psalm 119, then you know that it is a praise song all about God's Word. About how it guides us in the way we should go. About how it corrects us, nourishes us, teaches us. And because the Word comes from the steadfast Source of our God, we can find sure hope in its pages, in the truth it holds.
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
This is a message to the exiled people of Israel, reminding them of the covenant God has with them. He reassures them that, although they were carried away from their homes & have lived as slaves & captives, He will keep His promise. It will be fulfilled. What a beautiful promise it is!
Lamentations 3:21-24 - "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I hope in Him.'"
Jeremiah is often called the "weeping prophet" & he is also traditionally placed as the author of this sorrowful book. The Kingdom of Judah is no more, having finally received the judgement God promised on their sins. The once grand city of Jerusalem is laid waste. When he looks around at the destruction, all hope seems gone. Yet, even this book of "loud cries" is not without hope. That hope is rightly placed in God & in His steadfast love & in His ever-new mercies.
Matthew 12:21 - "And in His name the Gentiles will hope."
This is quoting from Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah. Jesus didn't come for political purposes or to blast His message with lots of shouting. He came with a gentleness unlike what many of the religious leaders were looking for. And He didn't just preach to the Jewish people, He brought His message to all. And that gives hope to all peoples.
Acts 24:15 - "Having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust."
This is part of Paul's defense before Felix. He is reminding his Jewish accusers that they both have hope in the promised resurrection.
Romans 4:18 - "In hope, he [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, 'So shall you offspring be.'"
Something that seemed impossible - a barren, elderly couple giving birth to a great nation! And yet, Abraham's hope & faith was in God! What impossible situation are you facing? Be encouraged when you remember the story of Abraham.
Romans 5:1-5 - "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Where we were once enemies of God, we are now at peace. And have access to His grace. Our hope causes rejoicing because there is no reason to be uncertain because it is placed in the only secure place to put our hope - in God! "Sufferings" is that pressing situation that will produce character or refine the quality of our faith. And having that pure faith produces hope. And our hope is sure when it is placed in God. More rejoicing!
Romans 8:24-25 - "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Here, Paul is looking ahead to the resurrection & the freedom it will bring from sin & this fallen world. There's not a shadow of uncertainty.
Romans 12:12 - "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
This verse is in the middle of a list of marks of a true Christian. A follower of Christ will be characterized by love, thinking of others, working hard, serving. And rejoicing in hope. Why? because our hope is set in a secure place!
Romans 15:4 - "For whatever was written in former days was written for our endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
Having trouble finding hope? Start reading God's Word! Paul is telling the Romans that the OT was written for their encouragement. It gives the foundation of our faith. It's full of promises fulfilled. It's full of the steadfast character of our God. Nothing more encouraging than that!
1 Corinthians 13:13 - "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
Our faith & hope will have their fulfillment when we see Jesus face to face. But love continues!
2 Corinthians 3:12 - "Since we have such a hope, we are very bold."
Paul was just talking about the New Covenant & the sufficiency we have in God. And how "the Spirit gives life." (v. 6) And how the law's glory faded as this new glory came in to surpass it. This is our hope. That New Covenant in Jesus. And by this, we can be bold in our faith.
Titus 2:13 - "Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."
The hope of the second coming of Jesus. He is coming back to make all things right for ever - what a hope!
Hebrews 6:19-20 - "We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizadek."
Oh, I love this one. The picture of that anchor, holding fast even in the stormiest seas, fills my heart with so much joy & hope. Jesus, our Hope, approached the Presence of the Father as the sacrifice on our behalf.
Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
We see here the relationship again between faith & hope. Again, this idea is a certainty beyond all certainties.
1 Peter 1:3-5 - "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
Jesus' resurrection gives us the hope of resurrection & eternal life. And the inheritance waiting for us. This "living hope" is not set on temporal things. It is set on the Eternal One.
Wow! I just love how encouraging these verses are! Hope is a difficult word to pinpoint a definition sometimes, but we can be confident in where our hope lies - God Himself.
That last passage just makes me want to listen to this song on repeat for the rest of the day.
Again, I plan to add to this list as time goes on. And I know this will be a topic that I will need to revisit often.
I pray you are encouraged to dig into these passages for yourself & see what they teach you about the God of our Hope.
Cheering you on!
P.S. - I plan continue compiling these lists of Bible verses on other topics in hopes that they can be a resource to all of us. Let me know in the comments if there are any subjects that might encourage your heart!
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