This is the only hope left and contains all hopes. In Him is all the healing we need. He is the fulfiller of His promises and He has promised to hear all who call on Him. While others call out to whatever their idol is, we cry to God and we do so earnestly.
This is what we find in the very first chapter of Joel – prayer. Prayer is the only balm that relieves sorrow and that removes sin. However, it is also the place where God can speak into our lives to show us why the conditions and circumstances exist and what our hopes are to ameliorate them.
It is the genuine mourning and heartfelt prayer that draws us close to God whose love never ends. It may look like our face down on the ground – but that is where real hope can be found. This is where, for our sake, God meets us in our suffering and leads us through whatever we need to get past so that we may receive the joy that lies ahead.
When it comes to sin and judgment, our only hope is to turn away from our sins and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. He will save us when we ask with humble, repentant hearts, and He’s the only One who can.
What hope is given to those who “wake-up” and “cry out”? Give the phrases from Joel 2:18-27; 2 Chronicles 7:13-14; Hosea 14:1-2.
To you, O Lord, I cry.
For fire has devoured
the pastures of the wilderness,
and flames have burned
all the trees of the field. – Joel 1:19
The Greek word for gospel is euangélion – good tidings, good news, a positive message that genders hope. In the Old Testament, ‘good news’ is always used by the prophets as a reference to God’s salvation.
The good news of salvation is in the forgiveness and hope that Christ offers us when we believe that He came, died on the cross, was buried and resurrected.
The gospel defines us and is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes. It is our calling into God’s plan of salvation and hope we share with others.
And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation – Mark 16:15
When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple, separating the Holy of Holies from the common area the priests served in, was torn in two.
While we have no context of what that means here in the Gospel of Mark, the book of Hebrews gives us a little bit more insight.
We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:19-20
The tearing of the curtain gave us direct access to God, through Christ. By His death, Jesus now serves as our High Priest. There are no barriers to having a relationship with God.
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. – Mark 15:33-38
Waiting on God is a powerful thing to do. It looks like private prayer, worship, following God’s plan for our life and keeping a hope in us that you will be meeting with Him, and enjoying His presence. It is in everything we do – waiting for the Messiah, our salvation by Him – waiting for Him – before He comes until He comes.
How do we do this?
The Hebrew translation helps us out a bit here. Hosea 12:6 is actually Hosea 12:7 in the Jewish Bible and the literal translation goes like this —
And you shall return by your God: keep loving-kindness and justice, and hope to your God always.
So what are we really waiting for?
If we reflect on our lives and on God – maybe its a good time to start thinking how we can commit ourselves to Him even more so. While our answers could be the traditional – redemption of our bodies or waiting for His return or the driving away of our enemies – maybe we are waiting for the hope of righteousness to consume us and make us new. Let’s expect God to bring us back into that amazing relationship that He has always wanted to have with us.
But as for you, return to your God,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God. – Hosea 12:6
When God promises to do something for ever, all of eternity is being shaped. That is why our covenant with Him is so central.
Our hope is not in our ability – our hope is in His ability to hold us. Our trust is not in ourselves – it is in what Jesus Christ has done. Our faith is not in our good works – it is in His good work for us – that is why we say…”Lord, there is no God like you!”
This is the story with Solomon dedicating the temple – it is also a story of God’s unrelenting commitment to God’s people through divine words of hope, judgment, summons and warning – all because God is seeking to maintain this covenantal relationship with His people. A patient and merciful God awaits our response and listens to our prayers.
The promises of God – what we hope for tomorrow – changes who we are today. These promises are foundational doctrines that colour all of lives as believers, both in times of temptation and in our trials. These promises of God motivate holiness and awaken expectation and confidence in our pursuit of the Lord.
O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart – 1 Kings 8:23
My wife reminded my son and by being in earshot of the comment, she reminded me too, that all of us have been chosen by God – we did not choose Him.
So when we talk about the coming of Jesus, for the second time, and not as a babe but as a King with power, He is coming for only one reason – to bring home those whom He has called.
He gave us a bit of a heads up in Mark on what that day may look like, even sound like. It is a rather emotionally strong convicted passage that really describes just how we cannot survive, even the best of us with the strongest faith, and keep the hope that we have in Him as a burning light within our souls.
While I am thinking of Christmas with my family, I am praying for peace. I pray that when we face the reality of death, that we will be rejoicing in the hope we have of eternal life because of Christ’s death and resurrection and His promise to come again and take us home.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. – Mark 13:26-27
O Almighty God, please give me the courage to speak up for Jesus with grace and boldness trusting that your Spirit will give me the right words and attitude to share my hope with those who do not yet know your grace given in Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Do you really believe that you are speaking the truth? Do you really believe that this is the word of God? Do you really have the hope of life in Christ?
As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them. And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations. When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.– Mark 13:9-11
Having just completed two months of small group study on Kevin DeYoung’s book – Taking God at His word – having the right knowledge of Scripture is the fountain from where our faith is built and the surest way to step away from error. When we confuse ourselves with matters of the world of spirits like the Sadducees when they confronted Jesus on the resurrection, we do so with a world sense. Abraham’s soul does exist even though it is currently separated from his body. As my pastor shared this past Sunday – this is a dying world – let’s pass through it with a joyful hope of a glorious resurrection and eternal life.
You will notice in life those who do not believe in the resurrection. They put their hope in this world. Their “let’s party” mentality puts their rather tall building on shaky ground and they become slaves to their fear of death and unfortunately, live their life without purpose and meaning.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live – John 11:25
For this, Jesus died and lived again. Praise the Lord!
Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.” – Mark 12:24-27
When people start complaining more about their sin in their life as opposed to what ails them, there is the beginning of hope for them, for they will start to seek God. As they seek God in earnest and with sincerity, they will find Him and He will be a refuge. With God, there is redemption for everyone who calls on His name – these is peace only where God is.
Hosea tries to lay that out for us in verse fifteen of chapter five reminding us of the hope made available for us but it is conditional. There has to be an acknowledging of guilt and there has to be a seeking of God.
Even in the very middle of a promise of impending judgment there is a note of hope. The hope of mercy for those who will turn from their “idols” to the Lord. It is the same God who made the promise of judgment as the one who offers hope through His mercy and grace. There is a cost for this all and Jesus Himself would offer Himself in our place to be judged for our sin.
I will return again to my place
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.
In their distress they will beg my favor – Hosea 5:15
The word hosanna comes from a Hebrew word meaning “save now” or “save us, we pray.” By saying “hosanna” as Jesus passed through the gates of Jerusalem, the Jews were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah. The Jews had been waiting a long time and their shouts of “hosanna in the highest” indicated the hope that their Messiah had finally come to set up God’s kingdom then and there.
The hope of the people have been in a state of expectation.
Another group of pilgrims was arriving in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, and those already there were shouting the traditional welcome: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The words are from Psalm 118:26 – a Psalm which is often heard at the Feast of Tabernacles. It was a festive hope that perhaps ‘this year’ the ‘Son of David’ would arrive to conquer Israel’s enemies.
All the people shouting recalled all the good things Jesus had done: healing their sicknesses, planting the word of life and hope in them, raising the dead, and giving sight to the blind Genuine thanksgiving and love and worship began to rise up in their hearts. They broke into a chorus of praise
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!” – Mark 11:9-10