12.12.17 Prayer Prompt: The Meaning of Hope

PRAYER PROMPT ••• Two Sunday’s ago, my husband and I lit the first Advent candle of the season at church. 

It’s the candle that represents “hope.” 

It’s a word that God keeps putting on my heart, and for such a small word, it has some big meaning. 

If you’re a fan of the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption,” you are undoubtedly familiar with Red’s take on it: “Hope is a dangerous thing.” 

Then there was Andy’s assessment: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things…” 

Two different viewpoints, both recognizing the power of the word. 

In today’s world, it falls somewhere in the middle. 

Hope starts with optimism, but it often comes with a side-order of doubt, with maybe a hint of suspicion. 

However, the Biblical definition of hope is something else. 

The Lexham Bible Dictionary breaks down the original Hebrew text: “to wait or to look for with eager expectation.” 

This view of hope continues from the Old Testament to the New Testament, with an emphasis on Jesus as our hope. 

An example is found in 1 Timothy 1:1, which says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope…” 

But let’s go back to the Hebrew definition and look at those two words, “eager expectation.” 

It makes our modern day understanding of hope look pretty flimsy, doesn’t it? 

Expectation is looking forward to something. 

It’s not wishy-washy — will it or won’t it? 

It’s bold and definitive. 

It’s a confidence in things to come. 

When it comes to living out hope according to the Bible’s definition, we need to take a page from those who lived centuries before us: We can trust God’s goodness. 

We know He keeps His promises. 

We expect Him to hear our prayers. 

We are confident and secure in our futures because of Him. 

True hope is rooted in faith. 

In Psalm 131:3, it says, “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord — now and always.” 

This morning, replace “Israel” with your own name. 

Embrace the hopeful confidence we have in the Lord and celebrate it with eager expectation! 

Today, as you pray, thank God that real hope is solid. 

It can’t be broken because we recognize His great goodness and trustworthiness! 

Thank Jesus because of His sacrifice, our hope is secure.

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