Lesson #: 01
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Hope provides an inner strength to do the right thing when we are in times of difficulty. People with real hope can overcome tremendous trials. God designed it that way. He is the author of real hope. It is part of God’s plan for His children. When we embrace the hope that God designed for us, then that hope that will be fulfilled by God. Real hope comes from us believing the promises of God. Hope in anything else is false hope.
These promises of God fall into two categories, First those promises that are not conditional. We do not have to do anything for them to happen. The promise of God’s love for us is not conditional. God loves each and every one of us, regardless of where we are or what we have done.
Second are the conditional promises, where God says if you do this, then God will do what ever He has stated in the promise. If we do our part, God will do “all” of His part. Salvation is a conditional promise. “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” [Romans 10:9]
The Bible is full of God’s promises to us. Plus in the scriptures He has told us what works in life and what will cause us problems. He should know, for He is God and He has designed us and life both in intricate detail.
These promises keep us on the path of life. They give us the hope and encouragement to keep us doing the right thing when we would otherwise give up.
Obviously we have to know about these promises in order to be able to believe them.
We do believe and expect that our faith in the promises of God will positively affect us and those things around us. The affect of our faith is sometimes immediate and sometimes it is delayed. If delayed there are other people or things that need to come into alignment with God's will in order for us to see the fulfillment of our faith. We need a genuine hope in order to be encouraged and to sustain our faith through these delays. And we are expecting God to fulfill that hope according to His promises.
However we recognize a delayed fulfillment with God fulfilling His promise is so much better than an instant gratification where God is not involved. What God does is eternal.
Because God interacts with us intimately according to His already established plan, when someone says "I don't see God doing anything in my life" isn't it logical that the person is likely unaware of how God's plan actually works? If they are unaware of God's plan, how could they tell if He is doing anything? They are still walking in darkness. God illuminates how real life works and He has given us a very precise description in the scriptures of how to obtain it. He has designed and given us hope to encourage us as we transition from a life of unbelief to a life believing in His word.
God is the only trustworthy source of genuine hope. No one else knows exactly how life or humans are put together. He calls that hope in the scriptures, " blessed hope" (hope that has been blessed). When our hope is in these promises of God, rather than in our own strength or dreams, then our hope will be blessed by the God that promised the promises. If one chooses to believe the promises, yet will not forsake the destructive behavior God instructs us to forsake, how can we expect God to bless His promises? Yes, God can and does break bondages, but God is calling us to forfeit destructive behavior so we will not again become captive to sin. God's promises are designed to lead us on the right path of life. But more than that, God honors His word, and He blesses our hope. The instructions for the path of life, some might call restrictive, yet the logic of these instructions is really no different than telling our children to not play in the street. God wants us to have life and that life more abundantly. God's promises bring hope and His instructions provide a path to where that hope can become realized.
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:" [Ephesians 2:12]
Everywhere we observe people, who are without God, their common characteristic is that they lack genuine hope.
Why would people lack hope when God has already given us hope?
It is because either we are not aware of what God has given us, or it is because we have rejected it.
Before salvation we were all without Christ. We were with out any understanding of the will of God. If one is a stranger to God's covenants of promise, then they are not going to be living them out. We may even have been religious, or just unbelieving, but without an understanding of the word of God, this Jesus Christ, we are alien to the real church, and to God's people. We were also strangers to God's covenants of promise. Covenants of promise are where God made agreements or covenants (actually a covenant is stronger than an agreement) with mankind and these covenants contain wonderful promises. God had promised these promises and they deal with life, protection, provision, and transformation. If believed these promises provide a hope for our lives. We were strangers to these promises. Often we did not know that these promises even existed, or what they were. These promises do affect our lives. If God promised a promise where if we did something against His will, then there would be consequences for our actions and those consequences would come upon us, whether or not we knew about the promise.
If we trust God and by faith do it God's way, then we will receive the benefits of the promises we trusted. Genuine hope, that God will honor, is one of those promises. One cannot be an alien to God's people and His word and expect to receive.
Here is an interesting point, if we live without God, the positive promises of God are not ours, and however once a person turns to God, at that moment, they may now claim them as their own. The problem arises, as one is often not aware of God's promises after salvation. God has provided them for us, but we need to learn of them. God has set this hope before his people. When we learn of it, we need to take hold of it by faith and make it our own.
The scriptures describe in explicit detail, both the results of trusting God and the results of living contrary to the scriptures. These promises are often referred to as blessings and curses.
When bad things happen, we may blame God for cursing us. Its silly to think that God would just curse our life. Our lives are cursed when we don't live as we were designed. It makes no difference whether we acted in ignorance or in rebellion. Those that trust God and followed His plan are more likely to be in a position to be blessed. If you did not trust God and acted against God's plan you would be more likely to have experienced the curses God talks about in the scriptures. The blessings were not just words, but were meant to affect the productivity of our lives, our crops, livestock, family, etc. And likewise if cursed, they would all be subject to suffer. Logically it makes sense to live as God designed us. Without God having an affect on our lives, we have no real hope. So God, in His love, gives us all these precious promises.
Our next scripture is in the book of Romans, chapter 8, verses 24 and 25, there it says:
“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” [Romans 8:24-25]
This scripture is not talking about our salvation. It is talking about our hope in the promises of God. As we wait in faith for the promises of God, in God’s timing God will bless His promises and God’s answer will solve or save whatever situation we trusted God’s promises for.
So why does God give us promises and ask us to wait in hope for the answer? Some prayers and promises God answers immediately, and some take a significant amount of time. We will discuss two possibilities, there are likely many more. First, as we discussed earlier, God works by His Spirit and other people or things may need to come in line with God’s will. This all takes time. Sometimes it takes a significant amount of time. The second reason is mankind often tries to take credit for work that God has done. If God waits until there is no way you or I could accomplish something, them it is blatantly obvious that God did it.
Additionally hope and patience are fruits of the Spirit. If all prayers and promises were answered immediately, our old fleshly nature would be strengthened, instead of our new creation in Christ. The work God is doing is working to build up our spirit man.
Our next scripture is from the book of Hebrews, chapter 6, verses 18 through 20, and it says:
“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” [Hebrews 6:18-20]
This verse has tremendous depth. It is well translated in the KJV but because it has so much packed into it, it can be quite confusing. Unless you have already seriously studied this scripture, we ask that you take the time to carefully digest its meaning rather than just assume you know it or blindly take our explanation of it. We desire that people would know their Bible, rather than just accept our explanations. To be able to know the scriptures, those studying the lessons need to see the truth of the scriptures for themselves. Our lessons are hopefully an effective aid in that understanding. If our readers blindly accept our explanations rather that grasp the truth of the scriptures, then we have failed. If we explain a scripture and our reader's understanding is opened to what the scriptures actually say then we have received the greatest success!
Some Bible verses, like this one, are a masterpiece of precise detail, that only God could inspire. God wants us to understand His words. Our taking it slow in order to grasp the truth, is how we prove we are focused on God rather than on prideful head knowledge. We will break down each part to an understandable concept, then put them back together again in the same order to be able understand what God is truly saying.
"That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,"
That by two immutable things . . . immutable means unchangeable" Some would assume that one of those immutable things spoken of here, is that it is impossible for God to lie. While it is true, it is impossible for God to lie, as we study further, we realize that, this is not one of the two immutable things specified here, even though it is an immutable point that God does not lie. The first point here is the hope that God has set before us to strengthen us, it is immutable. Its unchangeable. It will not change because of our circumstances or feelings. Our hope has to come from what God has actually promised in the scriptures. This is not talking about hope that does not come from God. God's hope is steadfast and sure and provides us a strong consolation. The second immutable point is that our hope "entereth into that within the veil". It enters into the presence of God, in the Holy of Holies. Jesus is the forerunner of entering into that within the veil and has shown us how this is done. This is a very deep point and we need to take some time with it to try and wrap our mind around what God is saying here.
The scriptures say: "That by two immutable things, . . . , we might have a strong consolation" By these two points or things, we receive a strong consolation or encouragement. In other words God intentionally desires to console or encourage us in the trials of life, much like a parent would console or encourage their children. The intensity of this consoling or consolation is more than strong enough to strengthen God's children in whatever situation they are in. It needs to be, as we face many varied challenges throughout life. This hope, that comes out of believing in the promises that God has set before us is for those "who have fled for refuge". The picture is of one running from trying to fight life's battles in our natural strength. We flee to our refuge of safety which is in God alone. We are stronger with God than we ever were by ourselves.
There is a huge difference in fighting life's battles in the strength of our flesh vs God fighting them for us. When God does the fighting for us we are not passive. We are submitted to God. In other words God may work through our hands and feet, or He may have us stand aside and watch Him fight for us. Our natural mind set from our old nature says "I can handle it". The mind set for the child of God is not focused on what I can accomplish with my own strength or ability. But it is God fighting for us or through us. The mind set for those trusting in God is: "God, Your truth, love and power can handle this for me or through me." When a challenge is faced, we may not be as close to God as we should be, so we flee to God for refuge. God sees our turning to Him and He sets hope before us so we can take a hold of it. This is usually by our turning to the promises of God in the scriptures. There is no question, this hope is set before us, by God. It is our choice of whether or not we choose to take it. It is not far away nor impossible to find, it is set before us.
"we . . . , who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast"
This hope came from God and God will bless it. It is hope brought about by trusting in the promises of God. Just common sense or wisdom alone would tell us to take hold of the hope God has set before us. God has set this hope before us so that we could be strengthened in our time of difficulty. This cannot be changed. This is immutable. This is how God works. We take a hold of this hope by faith. This hope serves as an anchor to our soul; our thoughts, our emotions and our will. When trouble comes each of these, our thoughts, our emotions and our will, need a refuge. An anchor is a great illustration. First when we are using an anchor, it is out of sight on the ocean floor. Once we choose to use it, it is designed to "set" itself so that it holds us in a safe place. We have freedom to move in the area that is safe. However the anchor keeps us from being blown on to the beach, or on the rocks or adrift out to sea by the storms of life. Scriptures are very clear, this anchor, Jesus Christ, is steadfast and sure. Sure means in this case solid, unmoving, will not let go.
"the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;"
This scripture may seem obscure for some people, especially if one is new to the Bible. Its talking about our hope "entereth into that within the veil" Many assume here that it is talking about us entering into that within the veil. That is not what it says. It is saying that it is our hope which enters into that within the veil. The second part of this verse is that it is not just entering into the Holy of Holies or past the veil, it is talking about entering into "that within the veil" What is within the veil? It is God's presence. We study the temple in other lessons and some of this may not be clear until we gain a fuller understanding of the temple and what it represents. (There are also some good books on the temple including one by James Strong which can be downloaded free as an ebook supplement to the free Bible software Bible Explorer. Bible Explorer is an excellent resource.) To have our hope enter the actual presence of God is what we all desire. Many think it is impossible, yet God, through the author of the scriptures, says that this is one of the immutable things that cannot be changed. Our hope can through faith enter into the actual presence of God, if we follow God's instructions. God's expects us to believe the promises of God. These promises, provide hope. That hope is steadfast and sure and therefore provides a very strong consolation. That is our hope actually entering into God's presence. This is the God that spoke the universe into existence!
This is really good news! This is real encouragement!
When studying the scriptures, we exercise caution in taking an obscure scripture or part of a scripture and building a doctrine upon it. This is very important because if we got it wrong, since it is obscure we have nothing to confirm our error. God knows this and has confirmations already in the Bible to safeguard us and keep our doctrine clean. This discussion in Chapter 6 continues well into Chapter 7. The scriptures between what we just discussed in chapter 6 and the scripture in chapter 7 which confirms our point, these scriptures mostly talk about the priest "Melchisedec", so for this discussion we will skip over them. God has placed a wonderful scripture in chapter 7 that confirms what God means when He says hope that “entereth into that within the veil". This is in Chapter 7 verse 19.
"For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw near to God." [Hebrews 7:19]
God set before us a "better hope" intending for us to "draw near to God" The law does not make things right, or complete them or make them perfect. Legalism is not the answer. For those bound up in legalism, they can point to measurable results to justify living by law. From God's perspective it is just works. Without faith its impossible to please God. God wants us to draw near to Him, he wants a personal relationship with people. One of the many ways God does this is through a better hope. A real hope, that God will honor. This is part of God's fantastic plan.
To clarify lets look at an example. Lets say you are facing a terrible situation that looks totally impossible. You have been reading the scriptures and have come across the scripture that says “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” [Philippians 4:13]". What you had thought and what the Bible says are contrary to each other. You recognize that this is a promise of God, so you choose to believe the word of God over what you previously thought. You choose to believe the scriptures no matter what happens. Five years later, you are telling your children the details of how God came to your aid when everything else looked impossible.
Anytime the Bible says something this fantastic, one must exercise caution that their fleshly nature doesn't run wild with it. What the Bible says is what it says and it is true. To grasp that our hope now has the ability to enter into the presence of the Creator of the universe is hard to wrap our finite minds around. There are tremendous implications related to this scripture and others like it. However one must be VERY CAREFUL to not add or subtract from what the scriptures say. God is talking about our hope, (hope is a type of faith) entering into His presence. As before it is not just entering into the area behind the veil, but entering into that within the veil. Some softer translations really butcher this verse. But it is "entering into that within the veil". NOT "entering within the veil". More on this topic later in other lessons.
So what does a life look like that does not have the God kind of hope vs one with the God kind of hope? Very obvious is the evidence of a more short sighted view. A "Party today for tomorrow we die" mentality. Without God's hope, there is no logical reason to work for righteousness, where the fruit often comes at the end of a season. Those wanting righteousness will flee to God for hope in the difficulties of life. Those without genuine hope will take shortcuts in life. It could be a simple as cutting across the neighbor's lawn to as vile as robbing someone. It is a man centered life. This is why religion fails, it is still man centered. When one is God centered, righteousness is a virtue of God and they recognize that God's plan is to instill His virtues in us. We willfully submit to God so these virtues can be worked out in our lives. It is easy to point out a weak or a Biblically uneducated person that has failed and say God's plan doesn't work. That is just a silly justification to support one's own rejection of God.
This "better hope" provides us an inner strength. Yes, that strength comes from our conviction, however God is actually with it. A God that one cannot see, is actually present in a hope based on the promises of God. This may not be evident to a new believer, but is very evident to a mature one, who has experienced it over and over. God has said it and its true. A wise newer believer can just accept God at His word and if their belief is genuine, in due season will see it come to pass. In times that we truly need inner strength, God sets it before us and it will be there. These promises are available to us in the scriptures right now. The wise will seek them out long before trouble comes. Yes these promises will still be there when trouble comes. If we have not strengthened out hearts before the time in which trouble besets us, then the initial setback, delays our finding the promises that apply to our struggle. This is like getting hit four or five times before you can fight back.
“My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle (very busy), and are spent without hope.” [Job 7;6]
The work required to get through life can keep us quite busy. The Bible uses the illustration of a weaver's shuttle, which has to be kept busy in order to produce anything. A weavers shuttle is moved rapidly up and down, hour after hour, working away. We like to think that our busy efforts provide us hope, but often the reality is, its just like a never ending treadmill. This busy treadmill of itself has nothing to offer more than mere existence. Yes, its a necessity of life but once the novelty is worn off, its just work. It doesn't provide hope beyond existence.
The world is so busy trying to get ahead, trying to survive, yet all this busyness does not bring any lasting hope. We get paid for a portion of work and we spend that to live. We stay busy because we must provide for our needs to survive, not because we have hope.
“ . . . return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.” [Jeremiah 18:11b-12]
God instructs us to return to the Lord, and to depart from our evil ways and work to make our path and what we do, good. Those that have not woke up to that conclusion yet, choose stuff and work to the best of their devices and evil imaginations to get it. Gain is not godliness, however godliness will often see gain as a byproduct. There is tremendous gain in living a godly life and being content in that.
“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.” [1st Timothy 6:5-6]
“For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?” [Job 27:8]
The value of a life in God is of FAR greater value than stuff. We may have opportunity to associate with those who argue and fight for every bit of gain they can get. The scriptures clearly instruct us to withdraw from these. They may even be educated, very bright, and even respected in the world, but God considers them corrupt and destitute, severely lacking of the truth. When God calls their lives into account, do you think they can win against God? No, they may have lived for excess here on earth, God will take away their soul.
What does it mean when it says "when God taketh away his soul?" A simple definition is your soul is your mind, your will and your emotion. If we posses our mind, we are thought of as normal. If we don't we are thought of as crazy or somewhat off or somewhat loony. When we no longer posses our will, some other force is controlling our will. Sometimes you will hear statements like: "when it comes to chocolate (or alcohol, or drugs, or men or women, or shopping, etc) they have no willpower. There is another force stronger than themselves at that moment, that is in control. It may be an addiction, lust, hate, fear, pride, etc. In other words, another force, other than themselves has control of part of their will. God desires that they themselves should have control over all of their will. There are similar issues with possessing our emotions and our thought life.
So the question is; what hope is there when other forces control us or parts of us. These other forces are destructive. They will steal from us, they will destroy homes, families and businesses. And if not addressed can ultimately kill us. Its our choices about life and God that keeps us safe from or gives us over to these other forces that can take over and destroy our lives. If our focus is the greatest gain at expense of others are we not living hypocritical. We want the best, yet we only want it for ourselves.
“But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.” [Job 11:20]
From God's perspective we all should leave off our evil ways and spend the effort to make our ways and doings good. How is that done?
Unsaved, we go our own way, we do what we dream up or imagine. Our efforts are self motivated, and often causes suffering and pain. We know we should change our ways and do good. Without knowledge of or hope in God's promises, what motivation is there to do the right thing? Anyone without Christ, has limited, or no lasting hope. We often don't realize our limited hope. Hope is a part of God's plan. God has promised a hope that will come to fulfillment, a hope that will be blessed. It is conditional on our trusting in the God of creation. When one does not know or understand the promises God has promised to mankind, how can they have real hope. One is then without a relationship to the God who is the source of real hope, real life and that life more abundantly.
We put our hope in our own devices, our ways, our plans, our imaginations. Yet in the end, they wear out, they fail, they show that they are flawed. There are times that we feel that we have gained from doing it our way, but have we really? When the wicked were young, they were full of their own ways. In their contrary ways was their hope. When they get old, their hope evaporates. God allows this to show us that our ways do not lead to life, we are sinners. Rather than turn to God to have life, they put their hope in their death, thinking that death is the end, but it's not. We are eternal creatures and beyond this life we will be either in Heaven forever, because we have chosen God, or in Hell forever because we have chosen to reject Jesus Christ, God's son who has the keys of life.
How much wiser it would be, to put our hope in something solid, something lasting, something real, this Jesus Christ!
“Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” [2nd Corinthians 4:14-16]
The scripture says: “Knowingthat he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus”. There comes a time where we, as a believer, we realize that some of the scriptures we have heard and believed, we now do know. Knowing and believing are not the same. We believe and think in the mind and we know in our spirit. It may be difficult to discern this difference between believing and knowing, but the difference is real. As Paul knew that Christ was raised from the dead, he states that “the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus”. This provides hope for the believer. There is not a hopelessness in death. There is hope that our efforts for righteousness here on earth are not in vain. And Paul says that he knows this Jesus will lift us up also, and we will be with God along with other believers. It is easy to say that a notable Christian will go to heaven, but what about those of us that have struggled in life and we are not a Paul? Paul is saying this to church to give them hope. To help them take their eyes off the natural realm and believe what God has promised “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
Again to Paul he knew this to be true. Paul knew that Christ had died and was truly risen from the grave. The historical account of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is very well established. Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God. And it is this same power that will raise up us by this Jesus Christ. This Jesus Christ represents the will of God, and it is the will of God that will cause us to be raised up. It would be silly to think that our works would justify us so we could go to heaven. Where would you draw the line? How many works would you have to do? I did more works than you did so I get to go and you don’t.
That’s just silly. It is our faith alone in this Jesus Christ that will justify us. And it is our faith in this Jesus Christ that will cause us to do the good works that God expects us to do. The key is our faith, not our works.
Paul was talking to the church, trying to strengthen their faith. He goes on to say: “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
In other words, this gospel is for us. God is trying to impart hope to us. It was written for our sakes. If God didn’t love us, He would have just stayed in heaven, and let mankind destroy themselves. Instead, God gave us His word, His instructions to life, so that those that would choose life, would be able to have it because of their faith. That life starts on earth and carries into heaven forever. That is our hope, and Paul knew it to be true.
As God knows mankind is made of flesh or a fleshly nature, God provided abundant grace to allow us to grow. The scriptures say “that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound (or overflow) to the glory of God”. This abundant grace is given to each of us for our mess ups in life. As we realize that God has us covered with abundant grace, the natural response to thankfulness to God. And our thankfulness to God causes an overflow of glory to God. In other words, we have room to mess up in our spiritual walk and that grace really is to the glory of God. Just like a loving parent, we allow our children to make mistakes, yet we are there with grace pointing them in the right direction.
Again Paul was talking to believers. In the church there are people at all levels of faith. The hardships of the world causes our outward man to suffer and we realize that in the end, our outward man will eventually perish. In contrast, it is this faith in God that causes us to press on and not give up. The scriptures say: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
God is doing everything He can to give us hope, without forcing us to accept Him or the hope. God is the only spiritual being that is a gentleman and everything He does is done with integrity and love. He does not manipulate us or force us in any way.
Living in this world, our outward man does slowly perish. If all we have is our outward man, then as we see this happen, we may fear the end. Why? Because we know we are spiritual eternal beings. And we realize our kingship is limited and there is nothing we can do about it. It is limited because there is greater king. If we are wise, we will make this Jesus Christ who is the King of kings, our king. That means we dethrone ourselves and make this Jesus Christ our new king. It is the most important decision we make in our entire life.
For those that have made the decision to have the King of kings as their king, there is no reason to fear. “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” The outward man is destined to die. However the new creation, the inward man gets renewed day by day, as we feed him. Yes we do need to feed our inward man. We feed our inward man by Bible study, prayer and fellowship with other believers.
Its this inward man that is being raised up by this Jesus Christ, not the outward man. How this kingdom of God works may be a challenge for new or young believers, but as one continues to study their Bible, it begins to make more and more sense. Paul is saying to take hope in God as it is God that will raise us up. God will raise up our inward man. Even if one sees their outward man perishing, don’t let that distract us from the real issue of choosing to believe the truth that God is, . . and will raise us up.
Our next scripture is from the book of Psalms, chapter 39, verses 4 through 7. There it says:
"LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you: truly every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Surely every man walks in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heaps up riches, and knows not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in you." [Psalms 39:4-7]
It is God alone that can make known to us “to know my end”. It is interesting to note that with all the religions claiming to be of God, only a believer in God and Jesus Christ has real life and gets connected so they can know real truth. And, interestingly, it is only by understanding the scriptures that saying such a statement makes logical sense.
God’s meaning for the words “life” and “knowing” are different enough from our normal meanings that it is easy to reject the scriptures. Yet when we get serious, we realize that God’s meaning for these words is by far the more accurate definition or meaning.
God wants us to know our end. Both, the end to the outward man, and the end, to our inward man. This scripture in the book of Psalms is discussing primarily the outward man, how frail it truly is. We may think we are invincible, but we are not. When we consider that eternity means forever without end, our time on this earth is as nothing. Even in our most advanced state, we are vain and self centered. Where it says “his best state” the meaning in the Hebrew is like an officer standing erect. Where everything is as man thinks it should be. Our best cloths, grooming and training. When we are at our best, we are self exulted or vain.
Truly our hope should not be in ourselves or our vanity.
Where is says: “Surely every man walks in a vain show”. The Hebrew meaning is that we are walking in an illusion. We are fooling ourselves living in our polished natural man centered existence.
The scriptures say “surely they are disquieted in vain.” We make quite a show, quite an uproar, but it doesn’t do any lasting good.
“he heaps up riches” The focus of our natural man centered life is on our self indulgence and piling up “things” for another day. Yet we do not know who shall actually end up with them. There is a balance here as other scriptures talk about a parent having an inheritance for their children. While realistic gathering is considered prudent, heaping up riches at the expense of everyone else isn’t God’s plan. In reality God owns all things and God expects us to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us.
The psalmist is realizing the vanity of living as the world teaches. He says “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in you.” In other words, I have made a choice to wait on God and even though I do not know all the reasons of why I am waiting, I do know that it is God’s will and it is the best choice! And because it is the best choice, I will stick by my decision to trust you and put my hope in God
God has placed us in a real world with real problems that arise from people not living as God has designed mankind to live. God has given us instructions on how to live, and these instructions are contrary to our man centered nature. Living according to God’s plan is a learned response.
The scriptures say “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in you.” So the issue here is, how long do we wait?
There are a number of factors that affect the fulfillment of God’s promises. We listed 6 here, they are:
- Our correctly understanding God’s promise in context
- Our choosing to believe and trust the promise
- The maintaining of our faith in God’s promise over time until fulfillment
- Other people, situations, etc that God needs to bring in line, by His Spirit in order to fulfill the promise
- Forces of darkness opposing the fulfillment of God’s promise
- Un-confessed sins we know about and have not dealt with
These 6 issues, and there may be others, if we have done all to bring them into alignment with God’s will as best we can, then we are in a waiting mode for God to fulfill His promise.
We want to make sure we understand and are believing the promise in context. Honesty and care should take care of this one.
Are we choosing to believe and trust what God said? This we do initially and then we continue to believe the promise of God. The trials of the world and Satan will work to get our trust off of the promise of God and onto other things. This happens often slowly or by our exciting our emotions or thought patterns we justify outside of the scriptures. Again, honesty and being careful with details should also take care of this one.
Then there are times where other things or people are involved, in which God is also working by His Spirit to bring them into alignment with His will so He can fulfill His promise to us and to them. We work to bring things into God’s will by faith, prayer, and the word of God.
If we blunder ahead trying to accomplish God’s promise by our own strength then we can actually make the situation worse. The wise will trust God in their prayers.
Additionally we recognize that there are forces of darkness that work to oppose God’s will. These are not equal opposing powers to God. While Satan is more powerful than us a humans, he is miniscule in size compared to God. God is far more powerful than Satan will ever be. We fight these powers of darkness by our faith in God and through prayer.
Many believers have unresolved issues, which God has previously brought to light. We know what they are, but have been unwilling to deal with them. If God has shown us areas we need to give over to Him and we have refused, why should God answer prayer or fulfill His promises? If we deal with what God has brought to light, then we are clean before God and ready to continue on with God. And we are ready to believe God’s promises and look for the fulfillment of those promises. If we haven’t, then it is time we deal with what ever issue God has illuminated. If we continue to refuse, God can expose it even more. Each time we refuse to deal with what God desires to deal with, our hearts get harder and harder. In the natural realm, things that get harder, get more brittle. Generally the harder they are the more brittle they are. So it also is in the kingdom of God. As we get harder and harder, we also get more and more brittle. If our lives get hit just right everything can shatter.
We can often hide these sins from other people, but, we cannot hide them from God.
The wise will confess their sins to God and trust God to give them the strength to overcome, so their hearts can be clean. Then we can have hope.
Our next scripture is from the book of Lamentations, chapter 3, verses 21 through 26 and there it says:
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” [Lamentations 3:21-26]
By remembering the character of the Lord, in that we have hope. God’s character is love, mercy and compassion. God’s mercy to us flows out of His compassion for us. Each day is a new start and God is faithful. To have the life God intended, we make God part of our life. In reality we make him our foundation. In doing so, God is our portion and we have our hope in Him.
The abundant grace and mercy that God has provide to us, allows us room to grow to get right with God. In God's love He provides an abundant amount of mercy and grace.
The leniency that God provides in His love to us,
for things we have done wrong in the past.
The mercy God extends now for the wrongs we have not yet done,
but will do in the future, as we try to grow in Him.
If, there is no allowance for our human side to make mistakes, we would not have an environment in which we can properly grow. Since we have been provided abundance of grace and mercy, should we just sin and not worry about it? That would be devastating, as it would be dishonest conduct and God's may remove or reduce our allotment of mercy and grace. We need God's mercy and grace as a necessary provision in our growth. The event, where we choose to get in right relationship with God, and to do things God's way, is called salvation. It is God's saving grace that brings us to salvation. Down deep, we most likely already know, that we should not act ungodly and should not follow worldly lusts. Just because we knew this was true, does not mean that we chose God. While we may not know all the meaning that makes up the word "godly" or even the word "lusts", we do know that we have followed our own thoughts and desires, which have been ungodly. Lust includes far more than physical or sexual lust. There are lusts for power, pride, money, gain, things, etc. The grace that God provides to overcome the controlling power of our sins, strengthens our hope. Many churches will not preach on overcoming lust as they do not want to offend anyone. When a person sees how they can overcome their lusts in Jesus Christ, their hope is strengthened. There is a significant difference between love and lust. We will discuss those in their respective lessons.
While other scriptures talk about our hope being blessed, here is says that “The LORD is good to them that wait for him”. And it goes on to qualify that as the soul or person that “seeks him” is the one God is good to.
This is something we can do. We can seek God.
Our next scripture strengthens this concept. “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” It is the right thing to do. This is how we were designed by God. This is a necessary part of the life God as desires us to live. To just think we can live by truth without a relationship with God, is gross ignorance to how we are designed and made.
We respect others as we see genuine hope and quiet assurance by faith, reflected from their lives. God desires each of us to live this way.
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" [Titus 2:11-13]
"Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." [1 Peter 1:21]
So how should we live, to have this life that God promises?
We know that we should "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts". Down deep we also know that it would be prudent to live soberly, not drunken, live righteously, seeking what is right, and live godly, living by faith in God and the concepts of the Bible. Even though in this present world there is much evil, we can still live soberly, righteously, and godly. It is easy to get discouraged trying to live a righteous life, by just trying to do good. That is not God's plan. God's plan is that each of us, follow God by following God's instructions by faith. Our goal is to follow God and in doing so we are good. If we do things to be good, then God is left out and we are the focus. Our focus is self or man centered, By then following God, our hope is kindled as we look for God's answer that will be answered in line with the Bible. That is completely different than doing or being good, so we can be accepted by God. Huge difference. When we embrace God's word, by faith, we will realize that our efforts are much more than just works. More than us just trying to do the right thing, and getting God's approval. Yes, our faith in God, coupled with our doing God's will by faith, brings the power of God gently into the situation. This is why the Bible calls it "blessed hope". Our hope is blessed. God actually blesses it, if we put our hope, in what, the Bible instructs us to. As we study the Bible, we understand that God honors His Word. He does what He says. All of this is part of real life and this hope, when fulfilled, makes us not ashamed to trust the God of creation.
LORD, make me to know mine end . . . This scripture shows how easy it is to push aside eternity. The author of the Psalm was asking God to remind him about his end, of how frail this life is. We all face eternity. This is why it is important that we consider that our life here is but a vapor. We are here for such a short time. We need to consider our end, what happens once our present life is over. Our hope here on earth, for both, during this present life and for the here after, should be in God. For us to face eternity without God, is so fearful. God made it this way so that for those that seek the truth, could face eternity with genuine hope and joyful anticipation. But for those that reject God, there is no hope and eternity is a fulfillment of their greatest dread. All people have been programmed this way to help lead them to salvation and ultimately Heaven. If our life on this earth, is just man focused, focused on ourselves, we have wasted it and God calls it vain. We get upset over things that really have no eternal value. Such also is vain. We hope in riches and others spend them. How much wiser to make our life "God centered", to put our trust in the living God where there is real hope.
By this Jesus Christ, the Word of God expressed in human flesh, do we believe in God. So that our faith and hope might be in God, God raised this Jesus Christ from the dead and gave Him glory. This glory is shown when the pure love, genuine righteousness, and truth of God is lived out in our lives.
So what are the promises of God that provide a blessed hope?
Our next scripture today is from The book of Matthew, chapter 11, verses 28 – 30:
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I (God) will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." [Matthew 11:28-30]
God is saying “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I (God) will give you rest”.
Come to God those of you, that struggle and your burdens in life are heavy. What an offer! God will give you rest. He will take the bulk of the burden. He desires us to put His yoke on us. His yoke is light. The world’s burden over time becomes heavy. Between what burden we in ignorance put upon ourselves and the burden that world tries to put on us, it definitely is a heavy burden. As we follow God and let go of the temptations the world tries to entice us with, our burden is lightened. God does not desire us bear the heavy burden of the world. If we live according to the world's system, we will do it's bidding. It can become a very heavy yoke. When there are problems, the heavy burden gets heavier. There is no rest. If we become a servant of God we will find the yoke is actually easy to accommodate and the burden is light and there also will be times of rest.
So what are these burdens? It may be the stress of raising a child born out of wedlock, it might be financial obligations where we got in over our heads, it might be fears from a past event, it might be bitterness, it might be a lifestyle that has brought disgrace, it might be our living in legalism that we learned in some dead religion, and the list goes on.
God has the answer to all of these problems. He really does. He makes us a new creation and he gives us life and the instructions of how to live it. The yoke of truth, life and love is indeed an easy yoke. God is “meek and lowly in heart.” God is not an oppressive taskmaster. He does not drive us, He leads us.
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,” [John 1:11-12]
When Jesus Christ came to this earth, He came to His own people. He came to those people that had been given the oracles of God. Those that had been given the true prophets and the true words of God.
If any should have welcomed Him it should have been this group of people. But like so many things that are contrary to how we expect that they should be, God’s chosen people “received him not”. No not every one of God’s people rejected Him, but as a group they did.
When someone is rejected by their very own people it is cause for severe humiliation and hurt. Can you imagine, never having done anything wrong to your own family and they reject you. Even the leaders in your own family reject you. And all you have done for them, is good.
These scriptures say: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”
It is interesting to note that here is that those that would receive this Jesus Christ that would have the power to become sons and daughters of almighty God, yes God!
The word “receive” here means to:
“to actively or aggressively lay hold of, or to aggressively take or receive properly, willfully accepting what is offered or available. The emphasize is on the assertiveness of the one receiving”
In other words becoming a child of God is conditional upon our actively taking a hold of the will of God, this Jesus Christ. If we do, . . we have the power to become a child of Almighty God!
What a promise. What hope!
The word “power” as used here means the “right” or the “privilege”. So by actively receiving as God instructs, then we have this right or privilege to become a son or daughter of God.
However there is another step, the scriptures say “even to them that believe on his name”. To actively go after something is not enough. Those that become a child of God, are those that also “believe on his name”.
The word “name” as used here is interesting! According to Biblos.com, a wonderful Bible reference website which is not affiliated with 4BibleStudy.com, the word name means:
“the manifestation or revelation of someone's character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others. Thus "praying in the name of Christ" means to pray as directed (or authorized) by Christ, bringing revelation that flows out of being in His presence. "Praying in Jesus' name" therefore is not a "religious formula" just to end prayers or get what we want!”
It would be very easy, if we are not paying close attention, to get the meaning of the word “name” out of context when using the Biblos.com definition. It is NOT saying that we should NOT pray in Jesus name. What it IS saying, is that praying in Jesus name is NOT a religious formula.
The question is whether our faith is in the character and will of God, or is our faith in the words “in Jesus name” added to our prayers.
This is a huge issue. It divides those that are just religious from those that truly believe. However we should not use it as a club against young or misinformed believers.
We should use it in examining our own hearts for where we are at in our own faith. Doing so will likely bring up areas of growth in our lives that we would be wise to give over to God.
When we choose to actively receive God at His word, and to believe on the name of this Jesus Christ, then is when we become a child of God.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:19]
God will supply all our need. This we need to think through as not only is it conditional, but we need to understand it in context. First there is a difference between a "need" and a "want". A need is things like food and clothes. A want is things like jewelry, furniture etc. Some translations translate this need and some translate it needs. The dominate view is that it means that God will supply your present need. In other words we need to trust God now for our need that we have right now. Then on tomorrow, the now will be, tomorrow. It is all present tense. In other words God will supply your present need, however He may not supply tomorrow's need today. But if He did not already supply tomorrows need, then tomorrow He will supply tomorrows need. He may or may not supply today’s or tomorrows wants.
The conflict here is we often confuse a need that is not a present need, as a present need. This can be an excuse for our natural man to rise up, discard faith in what God says and try to do ourselves "what God should have done". This is just the carnal nature that is trying to dethrone God from your life. We would be far better to trust the God of the Bible than our old nature, even if what we thought was a need was not met.
Another issue here is, we should to pray for our needs in line with the scriptures. If we need food and we pray for, only the highest quality steaks, lobster, and exotic fruits, God won't likely answer our prayer according to our desires of excess. However there are times we may pray for something special and He may provide it. Our prayers for provision should be for things that nourish us, not prayers to feed the lusts of our flesh.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” [James 1:6-8]
And if we are double minded, don't expect God to answer prayer. So what is the difference between being double minded and being weak in our faith? Double minded is recognizing what the scriptures say and choosing to believe it, then when any pressure comes along with a different opinion, we abandon the word of God, and change our beliefs. It may be caused by new feelings, new thoughts or new desires. Satan comes along and creates a feeling, a circumstance or a thought contrary to scriptures and the person chooses to believe the content from Satan rather than God's Word. One may continue to flip flop back and forth depending upon the environment they are in. In contrast the weak person hears God's word and barely has the strength to grab a hold of it.
Now a weak Christian can be both weak and double minded, however they don't have to be.
This set of scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy is spoken to the Jewish nation. Yet a nation is made up of people so it is an in depth overview of what God expects from us as people. God tells us what will happen if we do as he instructs, and he tells us what will happen if reject God’s instruction. One should keep in mind that the results of either decision, are seen over time. It is also important to note that these old testament scriptures are fully applicable today, just as they were when they were written. These have not been done away with by the coming of Christ.
Again it from the book of Deuteronomy chapter 28, verses 1 – 48, and it says.
"And it shall come to pass, if you shall listen diligently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command you this day, that the LORD your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you shall listen to the voice of the LORD your God.
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep.
Blessed shall be your basket and your store.
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
The LORD shall cause your enemies that rise up against you to be smitten before your face: they shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing on you in your storehouses, and in all that you set your hand to; and he shall bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you. The LORD shall establish you an holy people to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of you. And the LORD shall make you plenteous in goods, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD shall open to you his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain to your land in his season, and to bless all the work of your hand: and you shall lend to many nations, and you shall not borrow. And the LORD shall make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shall not be beneath; if that you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day, to observe and to do them: And you shall not go aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you:
Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.
Cursed shall be your basket and your store.
Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your land, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep.
Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
The LORD shall send on you cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand to for to do, until you be destroyed, and until you perish quickly; because of the wickedness of your doings, whereby you have forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence stick to you, until he have consumed you from off the land, where you go to possess it. The LORD shall smite you with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue you until you perish. And your heaven that is over your head shall be brass, and the earth that is under you shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of your land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down on you, until you be destroyed.
The LORD shall cause you to be smitten before your enemies: you shall go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shall be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And your carcass shall be meat to all fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
The LORD will smite you with the botch of Egypt, and with the tumors, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof you can not be healed. The LORD shall smite you with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: And you shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways: and you shall be only oppressed and spoiled ever more, and no man shall save you. You shall betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: you shall build an house, and you shall not dwell therein: you shall plant a vineyard, and shall not gather the grapes thereof. Your ox shall be slain before your eyes, and you shall not eat thereof: your ass shall be violently taken away from before your face, and shall not be restored to you: your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have none to rescue them. Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long; and there shall be no might in your hand. The fruit of your land, and all your labors, shall a nation which you know not eat up; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed always: So that you shall be mad for the sight of your eyes which you shall see. The LORD shall smite you in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. The LORD shall bring you, and your king which you shall set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known; and there shall you serve other gods, wood and stone. And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations where the LORD shall lead you.
You shall carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards, and dress them, but shall neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your coasts, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olive shall cast his fruit. You shall beget sons and daughters, but you shall not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. All your trees and fruit of your land shall the locust consume. The stranger that is within you shall get up above you very high; and you shall come down very low. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him: he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
Moreover all these curses shall come on you, and shall pursue you, and overtake you, till you be destroyed; because you listened not to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded you: And they shall be on you for a sign and for a wonder, and on your seed for ever.
Because you served not the LORD your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shall you serve your enemies which the LORD shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron on your neck, until he have destroyed you." [Deuteronomy 28:1-48]
While this was written to the nation of Israel long ago, it is applicable today whether someone believes in the Bible or not.
These scriptures describe in detail of what happens over time to those that choose to follow God and that happens to those who don’t. There is hope in hearing that if we do chose to live according to how God has designed us, then God supernaturally will protect us and has provision for us.
Again these scriptures were written to the Jewish nation. However it is people that make up a nation. And as the people, so goes the nation. So in reality the instructions, including the blessings and curses were an admonishment for anyone who would like the real life God desires that we all have. God is far more serious about us living a pure righteous life than is most of mankind.
These scriptures tell us to observe and to do according to all of God's instructions. With the tremendous lack of Biblical understanding, even in the church, we don’t see as much of the blessings as the scriptures talk about. Then when someone then uses worldly tactics to get ahead, we praise them as though God has blessed them. God means exactly what He says in the scriptures when He says :
“And it shall come to pass, if you shall listen diligently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command you this day, that the LORD your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you shall listen to the voice of the LORD your God.”
God’s people have a season of growth to go before they even start to take back the dominion, they have given over to the ungodly of the world. Again this life God has designed for us is a learned life. And that learning only comes from God as stated in the scriptures, where it says: “if you shall listen diligently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command you this day”.
The normal church goer, goes to church, in order to learn something else to make the natural life just a little cleaner.
This is not God’s plan.
God’s plan is for us to follow this Jesus Christ by faith according to “all his commandments”. The only way to do this, is for the man centered control of our natural life to die and for us to be born again as a new creation, with a new lord, and a new savior. What is interesting the work necessary to receive these blessings and curses will work by both faith and by law. However we know that real life does not come by law. It comes by faith and is worked out in our lives through because of the abundant grace and mercy provided by God.
So yes, these blessings and curses are conditional. If we fulfill the conditions by faith for the blessings, we will have them. If we fulfill the conditions for the curses, we get them.
The conditions for the blessings are that we both observe and do as instructed by God. There are two parts, first observe or study so we can know what the will of God is, and then do it.
In addition to many of the blessings taking time, it is interesting to note how God says we are to receive the blessings. In other words if we do according to what the scripture says:
“And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you shall listen to the voice of the LORD your God.”
Here God informs us, that in due time, these blessings will come on us and overtake us. There is an implication that while we are doing what God instructs us to do at first we don't see the blessings. Then as we continue to walk in faith, obeying God's instruction we realize that we are beginning to be blessed. These blessings have started coming towards us when we started obeying God by faith, and in time they catch up to and overtake us. As we continue walking in Gods instruction by faith there comes a time that we see a definite change. This change is from where we are living by faith and don't see the blessings to where they catch up to us, to where they overtake us and not only are they around us, but also to a point of where we are walking into them. What a beautiful picture of life and hope! So many things are implied here.
If we turn aside for the blessings and they displace God, then we can restrict our flow of blessings coming our way. Our focus should stay on God. When the blessings we have received from God get between us and God, then in effect we have cut God off. In doing so we cut off or restrict the flow of blessings from God.
Here the person continues to put God first, and as they do so, the effect is the blessings continue to come more and more.
The scriptures say:
“And the LORD shall make you plenteous in goods, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.”
Of the world we come up with clever schemes to increase our goods. Yet in the normal course of life, “the LORD shall make you plenteous in goods”. This is not a blab it and grab it doctrine. This is just part of the blessings and curses of life that is dependent on whether or not we choose to follow God.
If sadly we choose to reject God and His instructions that are for life, then the curses are waiting at the door and are far greater than what we want to experience. This is most logical. In a simplified explanation, God’s attributes include truth and love. If we are not living in truth and love, what are we living in? Living outside of God’s instruction we are living in selfishness and in a lie.
There are approximately twice as many scriptures on curses in this section on the blessings and curses than there is scriptures on blessings.
What is interesting to note is that our natural mind will often justify many of the curses by categorizing them as the negative results of a natural course of events. It does this to maintain it’s control. If we yield to such justifications we will just keep on experiencing more of the curses.
Is God trying to scare us? Absolutely not. But God is trying to show us the reality of how things work. Are you trying to scare your children when you tell them to not play in the street? No, but you are trying to convey to them the seriousness of doing so. The point is, if we are not serious with God, evil will triumph over us even against our will. It may take time, but it will happen. God is trying to protect us. He is saying if we will live, as the God that created us, designed us and instructs us to live, we will be blessed. We do not have to understand everything in the Bible, because that is physically impossible. But we can seriously study it and learn all we can. Then if we will follow God's instructions for life by faith, God will bless us.
If we want hope, God has the answer to hope. The blessings will be God blessing us. All good things come from above. There is protection. There is a lifting up of the people among the nations. There is respect. There is fruitfulness. There are blessed families, crops, businesses, and wealth. Not that the focus is on the blessings, but the focus is on the God that provides the blessings. These promises of blessings bring real hope. A hope that is definitely obtainable.
Our part is to, by faith, "hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments". It means to give our full attention to learn and to do, "all", not just part, but all, of what the scriptures instruct us to do. Our natural tendency is to do just enough to alleviate our current problems, then drift back to our former lifestyle. Doing so will bring the curses, not the blessings. To hearken diligently is not just for a season. We choose to become God's people and we choose to stay God's people. Many of these blessings build over time and it is through time that we find these scriptures to be so very true.
God's blessings are often conditional. As we commit our ways, and learn and do as God instructs, God blesses. As we continue to remain with God the blessings multiply. This is not to say that trouble, setbacks or trials will not come. They will come. How much better is it to face the trial with God as opposed to facing it alone. A trial is not a reason to forsake God, for He will fight for us. That is not a blind faith. People forsake God in times of trial because they do not understand how God works. They turn to what they have trusted, which is themselves. The time to learn about God is before the trial hits. It is still the right thing to seek God after the trial hits, but the learning process is often painful and a struggle. There is a depth of understanding here that we will discuss more in future lessons.
These blessings and curses scriptures in the 28 chapter of Deuteronomy verses 1 – 48 conclude with:
“Because you served not the LORD your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shall you serve your enemies which the LORD shall send against you”
We have all know believers that have continued to be bitter, self serving and arrogant. That is not how God wants us to serve Him. A believer who understands what they have been saved from is thankful and glad in heart. This was true even way back in the old testament times that this scripture was written. Even though they were under a different covenant, a believer knew he or she was of God’s people. Serving God is not something we have to do. It is however by far the wisest choice. If we are aware it is the right choice, yet we begrudge our choice then it is like a marriage of convenience. It will be painful because our hearts are not in it. We don’t want that type of relationship in a marriage, and God doesn’t want it either. Often the reason people begrudge their decision to live for God is we don’t want to go to Hell, yet we don’t want to live for God either. So our choice is between two things we don’t want and we choose what we think is the least painful of the two. God is not happy with this kind of a relationship any more than a spouse in a marriage would be. God is trying to give us His best, and if we are not thankful for it, with all its blessings, then God will allow trials to come against us. Why? Because our hearts are not with Him. If trials will not cause us to recognize the value of God, then God will not protect us from our enemies. Our natural man centered nature destroys life. If we are not willing to give it up, then we get to see others with the same motivation rule over us.
With this kind of self centered heart, we are focused on ourselves and that is not love. God desires our love for him to be genuine. Just like we do in our relationships. He has gone to great lengths to give us the real life.
These believers that have continued to be bitter, self serving and arrogant are living like a dry drunk. They are only doing the right thing because of their will power even though their hearts are elsewhere. That is not God’s plan.
If one cannot serve “God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart” then their faith to accomplish the working out of their salvation is in the wrong thing. Joyfulness and gladness of heart are fruits of the Spirit of God. Living without these things shows us that we needy people. We need to observe and do, by faith, God’s word at the same time giving up our old fleshly man centered nature for a god centered one.
Next we have two scriptures. The book of Psalms, chapter 37, verse 25 and the book of Philippians chapter 4, verse 19. The first scripture says:
“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” [Psalms 37:25]
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:19]
The writer is old yet all his life he has “not seen the righteous forsaken”. God considers those that believe in and trust Him as righteous. This writer speaks from experience. Interestingly, a person usually does not say they are old unless they are really old.
Forsaken is an interesting word. It means being left in a time of need by those that would normally be expected to stand with you. Forsaken is being left when you are having difficult times or troubles. When others leave in normal times we can handle that. But when they leave in during our tribulations and troubled times, that's forsaken.
This scripture is talking about God not forsaking people that are in trouble or difficulties. To the young believer being forsaken by God can be a scary thing. People are used to how things work in the world and there they are not only forsaken, but they are also trampled down and abused. The kingdom of God works differently.
Many people miss that this scripture is conditional.
“not seen the righteous forsaken”
Only the righteous qualify. That sounds bad but it is true and it is not really bad at all. As stated above, one is righteous who believes in and is trusts God with their lives. The new believer, often fears they have to be perfect to qualify. However they don’t. If it were no one would be considered righteous, except for Jesus Christ.
If a person does what they know God has asked them to do and have done all that they know God wants from them at that time, and they have acted in faith, then they are considered righteous. Far less is expected from a baby believer, than a mature believer.
Where people often fail is where they do not do those things that they know to do and they just expect God to cover everything. While God in His love provides abundant grace, God does expect us to do what we know to do. If we have not done what we know to do within a reasonable time, it is considered sin.
There are several issues here.
This is a good time for each of us to seek God for any area that God wants brought to light. If we are wise we will not try to hide from God? God sees everything.
Also is our conscience clean?
Have we acted in faith or because of law or legalism?
Are we expecting God to do a miracle to get us out of a situation, but we know that when we are free of the situation that we will again go back to avoid God?
Can we hold fast our decision to trust the scriptures and the God of the scriptures, if things get bad?
Additionally one of people's greatest fears seems to be trusting in the provision of God. The same writer, this old man has not seen the righteous forsaken, has also not seen the righteous begging for food. God does not forsake His children. He provides for them if they are trying to trust and obey Him. Yes there are times of trouble and famine, yet God still provides for those that diligently hearken and do as God instructs. There is a direct relationship between our righteousness and faith and God's provision. God provides for all people, but those that are righteous, they have done the right thing, and God will not forsake them. Their family will not be begging bread.
If we say we believe and yet we continue going our own way, would it not be better for God to allow us to suffer so that we could see that our way was not right? This provides hope, both in that if we walk in righteousness God will be with us and provide and also in that if we say we believe and go our own that He may withhold so that we can see we are in error.
The word of God is living and includes truths that transform the very makeup of a person's conduct and motivations. It will transform a person from the inside out. As we mature, this process of transformation will affect our actions.. It will cause us to be, where God wants us to be, for the needed provision in our lives. Yes He can provide for us where we are at, however many times He will allow or create circumstances that would move us into His provision. It is our actions by faith, that causes us to be in right position for His provision. This is not to say that He cannot provide for us wherever we are at, He can and does. But as we mature awhile, we see that He wants our obedience, and in this obedience is often the blessings. Take Joseph and Mary for example. Mary gave birth to Jesus and Joseph was her husband. The king started collecting a tax and that required a censes or counting of the people. Each adult person was required to go back to their own town to be registered. In the natural this registration to be taxed had nothing to do with the birth of Christ. But in reality, it had plenty to do with Christ’s birth. For by this law Joseph and Mary traveled to where it was prophesied that Jesus would be born. The city of Bethlehem.
Many times things that happen in our lives are nudges by God in the direction He wants us to go. If we know that that we re doing is the right thing to do according to the scriptures, then we should yield to it even if we do not understand it’s outcome. Yes there is also the evil one, this Satan who would love to get us doing things contrary to the scriptures. So it is the scriptures which direction we take. For the just shall live by faith.
These moves of God are often a mystery and it is so beautiful to watch them play out.
“But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]
The scriptures say “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”.
This is not our natural way to make decisions.
But over time we learn this is the right thing to do. As a matter of fact it is exactly the right thing to do in all areas of our lives.
Our natural man centered nature turns to our natural capabilities when making decisions and for the provisions we need for life. This is how we were born, and for many this is all we know. Adam was created as an adult. Then he was given instructions on how to live to have real life. Adam was also instructed on what to avoid, so as to avoid the death that will eventually come, . . . if Adam sins.
We do not have that privileged position. We are born as babies and have to rely on others to initially instruct us in God’s will. Or we have to learn how to read well enough to study the Bible on our own. By this time we are well versed in following our natural man centered nature that we were born with.
When we do get around to paying attention to the scriptures, and we read the scripture that says: “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” it is so contrary to our already established thinking patterns. It is not how we have done things since our birth. Depending on the age of the person, our natural man centered perspective has grown and has been strengthened for several years.
Usually our first response, is that doing this scripture it is probably a good way to do things. So we may apply it to 3 or 4 major current decisions in our life. When we do realize, that we want to obey the scriptures, we don’t even begin to realize how many things are tremendously affected by just these few words. This is okay as we have to start somewhere. It is important to understand that the believer is given an abundant amount of grace to come into an understanding of the depth God has in the scripture.
In time we will realize that this scripture applies to almost all areas of our lives. And this is only “part” of one scripture of one scripture of the Bible.
As we do choose to “seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” then we start to see, over time, the kingdom of God have an affect on our lives. In the natural we may have fought to scrape together our provision of food and clothes.
Now we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness and God says then “all these things shall be added to you”. In other words, as we do what God instructs, rather that what we think or feel, and we do it according to His righteousness, then God will provide the provisions we need.
This is so contrary to our natural way of thinking. If we want this provision, then we choose to do as God instructs. Our natural man centered nature, that has been our king since birth, probably won’t co-operate with our decision to simply follow God. If it said no then its rebellion would be blatantly obvious. So, with Satan’s help, our hearts will use trickery. We often don’t realize how deceitful our hearts really are. The scriptures say in the Book of Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 9:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]
So what kind of games does our heart come up with?
If we are not fully knowledgeable of the scriptures, we may assume something rather that dig until we find the answer that we know is the correct answer. The key word is know.
We may just assume God has everything under control and passively not even look for the kingdom of God regarding a situation we are in. God may give some grace to a young believer in this area, but it is not wise to passively assume things about God. God instructs us to seek and says that if we do seek, then we shall find. Assuming things here is ignoring the instruction to: “seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”.
There are many false religious ideas floating around that sound good to our natural man centered nature. They don’t however line up with the scriptures. God expects us to compare them against His word, and to cast down those that don’t line up. This is the responsibility of the believer. In the second book of Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 5, it says:
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” [2nd Corinthians 10:5]
To bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” means to take control of our thinking and cast down every thought that does not agree with the will of God as stated in the scriptures of the Bible. This is not passive activity. This is the responsibility of every believer. God considers these as imaginations and as things that exult themselves against His will. Imaginations are things we may even have considered as true. The things listed as exulting itself against Christ indicates that there are contrary powers that we may have mentally accepted that are contrary to the will of God. God expects us to take away their power, to bring them into captivity, so they have no power to mold or control our thinking. We do so by believing God’s word and not believing these other things. All of this is our responsibility.
There is another VERY interesting point here. Why does the scriptures say "But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness"?
Why does God tell us to both, first "But seek you first the kingdom of God"? and then He says "and his righteousness;"?
God wants people to be genuine. He wants them to be pure and righteous. This is only accomplished when our hearts are pure. We have all seen situations where someone has done something wrong and their response is they have done everything within the law. This scripture blocks any justification by God’s word for that manipulative type of thinking. If the scripture left off the part that says "and his righteousness" then someone could play this same game with God. They could say that they have done everything according to the scriptures, even though they and everyone else can plainly see that what they did was morally or ethically wrong. There is no set of laws or instructions that cover every point or every possible angle. It is just physically impossible. So God ads "and his righteousness;" to this scripture so that the person’s intent is brought in line with God’s will. This way the instructions or law of God is followed AND the intent of those instructions. It is only by doing both that the man or woman of God can fulfill this scripture. It is interesting to note that by requiring a person to honestly seek, both God’s instruction, and God’s intent then it will separate those with a right heart from those with a manipulating heart.
So what about those that were not able to fully find what is the kingdom of God and His righteousness for their situation? They may be new to the scriptures. They may have limited abilities to understand. They may be full of conflicting imaginations and be confused. What God is doing to directing the person’s heart toward righteousness. When the person is seeking “the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”, then there is no room for them to honestly do something that is unrighteous, and still keep inside the law. Because they are instructed to also seek God’s righteousness. This scripture is so simply stated, yet so powerfully worded.
Then, for all the provisions we need the scripture says: “all these things shall be added to you”.
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care on him; for he cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect (complete), establish (established), strengthen, (and) settle you." [1 Peter 5:6-10]
We want the provision of God. We want the blessings of God. We want the life of God. If we make a decision to humble ourselves under the hand of God, then God will exalt us in due time.
We will never be exulted higher than God. And we really wouldn’t want to be there.
Being exulted by God pertains to the provision of God, the knowledge of God, and the respect of honest people. All those things exult us.
It was us exalting ourselves that had negative consequences. The hand of God would indicate God's direction and God's correction. We cast all of our present cares upon the Lord. When we cast something, we exert effort to force it away from us and we completely let go of it. Why do we cast our cares, our problems, our worries upon the Lord? Are they not still an issue? We cast them upon the Lord because He is big enough to take care of them. The battle is now the Lord's. The only ones we can give our problems to are those that deeply love us enough to do something and they are big enough to handle the problem. That is our Lord, Jesus Christ!
To rise in life our natural man centered nature tries to handle all the cares and burdens of life by it’s own strength. In contrast, in the kingdom of God, we cast our care on this Jesus Christ. On the living will of God. For God cares for us. When God says something in the scriptures, He means it. When God says He cares for us, He means He cares for us. He truly does care for us and he expects us to believe Him at His word when He says that He cares for us.
The scriptures go on to say:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith”
After we have humbled ourselves under the hand of God and cast our present cares upon Him, we walk or live then being sober and vigilant. Just as God is real, so is, our enemy, the devil, real. Its for this cause that we are not drunken and we remain watchful. The devil prowls about like a roaring lion, instilling fear and seeking whom he may devour. We resist the devil without wavering, resisting him, standing firm in our faith, because we know that our brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
The God of all grace, who allows us to make mistakes, who has called us to live in His eternal glory starting here on this earth will after we have suffered a while will cause us to trust more in Him making us complete in Him, established, strengthened and settled. That gives hope!
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” [Galatians 5:4-5]
It is by our faith in God through the power of God's Spirit (the Holy Spirit) that we have the strength to wait for the hope of righteousness. In other words by faith we wait on God for the righteousness that we are hoping for. When we do all that we can, sometimes it takes time for the righteousness of God to settle out. There may be others or circumstances that are contrary to God's will. These oppose the righteousness or solution we seek. We trust in faith that the Spirit of God is able to accomplish what his word says. Sometimes when there is opposition to God's word it may not look by appearances that God's word will come to pass. Yet, by faith we trust God's word and in time God's word prevails.
The argument of Law vs Grace seems to never end in the church. If people would take the time to study their Bibles this debate might get settled, but since so many won’t, this debate continues to keep going on.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace”
For those that reject God's will, which is what Christ represents, they will not have the real life of God for their lives. Part of the will of God is that we are justified by faith through grace and not by works or law. It is that our justification is by our faith. And our faith will cause us to do works, however the works do not justify us, our faith does. Believing that we are justified by the law removes grace from the picture. So the scriptures describes it as we “are fallen from grace”.
We absolutely need this grace to live and grow. This seems like a fine line, but as we mature we realize that it is a major division in our thinking. No one can fulfill all the law so none can be justified by law. If we miss a point of law, we are still missing it. We come up short.
Our believing God’s word and having the abundant grace to make mistakes, provides us this environment in which we can grow as children of God. All of us can fulfill the requirement of making a choice to believe by faith. God gives us more than enough grace to grow in our relationship with Him. The person living by faith will likely look like a failure in the beginning, but over time, because they can grow without condemnation and rejection from God, their faith and love for God will get stronger and stronger over time. As their faith gets stronger, their ability to live according to the scriptures also increases and it is solid growth. The end result is a beautiful relationship with God.
In contrast the person trying to live by law, is limited to the strength of their mind and will. Their performance at the beginning, may look impressive, but as they come to the end of the strength of their will or thinking, their religion fails.
The person living by law may have a religious life with a new philosophy, but their new philosophy will not provide them the necessary grace to make mistakes. They are under this heavy yoke for their flesh to perform perfectly. That yoke gets heavy.
The scriptures say:
“. . . but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” [Isaiah 38:17b-18]
In love God provides the believer abundant grace and mercy to provide deliverance from the pit of corruption. From Hell. If one would receive the love God has already extended, then their soul can be delivered from any chance of going to Hell.
By that grace, God chooses to cast our sins behind Him. In His incredible love God is not interested in keeping our past sins in front of Him where they are easy to remember over and over. No, He cast our sins, when we ask forgiveness, behind Him and in His love He seeks our good. His love is poured out on those that choose to believe in Him by faith.
Once we die, neither our death nor our grave praises us. Those that rejected God and His plan for real life, they have NO hope when in Hell. Nothing good is in Hell, including living in God’s truth.
The next scriptures says:
“ . . . but the righteous hath hope in his death.” [Proverbs 14:32b]
Even in death is there hope for those that trust in God. The grave is not their end. God has already made a wonderful home for those that have chosen God. Once we die we no longer have that ability to make that choice. It is then too late. If we do choose to follow Jesus Christ, then Heaven is for those forever that have made that choice to trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. And Hell is for those that have rejected life from the God of creation.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” [1st Corinthians 15:19-22]
If our faith in Jesus Christ is only for life on this earth, we are most miserable. Why, because there would be no eternal reward beyond this earth. We have forsaken many of what the world calls pleasure so as to stay pure to God. However there is a heaven and it is for ever. It is worth enduring for, for righteousness sake. Some of our enduring will have fruits here while on earth and some will come in the hereafter. In Heaven, the life of God will be ours forever and ever. And it really is true.
Just as Christ rose from the dead, the believer’s immortal souls will arise to heaven. The scriptures say: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” We are made alive with real life and that life lasts forever.
“He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” [Malachi 3:3]
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says:
"He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver" She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that. Yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it." (from the internet, author unknown)
“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” [Hebrews 7:19]
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” [Romans 15:13]
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.” [Romans 5:1-5]
Doing something because we have to it or doing a list of do's and don'ts, living by law, does not produce life or perfect results in the end. The concept looks so good in theory but theory is not reality. It will never achieve making everything right, never.
However the bringing in of a better hope, a hope that is in line with God’s will and one that God will bless, that will, in the end, make things the best that they can possibly be. That is why God calls it a better hope. It is far better than a hope someone is trying to fulfill by law. This better hope will do what living by law never could. In theory law looked good but fails because it was dependent upon the strength of our mind and will.
In theory a better hope looks like it would fail, but instead it brings about the perfection of God's plan. Yes it often does look like a failure at first to the uneducated eye. But its not. It causes us to draw closer to God and in our submission to God, it accomplishes what the law couldn't.
This hope in God is designed to fill us with joy and peace as we believe and trust in the God of creation. As we grow in God we see how great, how awesome, how loving, how wonderful He is and it causes our hope to abound or overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. God is certainly the author of hope and He knows how to increase it.
A key point here is our faith. We are justified by our faith and this causes peace with God. This peace with God is only through Jesus Christ. It is also by Jesus Christ alone that we have access to the grace, the allowance to make mistakes. This grace allows us to stand upright before God. Not downcast or with droopy shoulders, but upright, rejoicing in the hope of God. So as we walk uprightly in righteousness in this evil world we rejoice or exult God in our troubles knowing that as we see God overcome our troubles, it works patience in us. As we learn to live in patience, we gain experience. This experience gives us hope as we have become confident that God will do in the future just as He has done in the past. This is real hope. It is a hope, of which we are not ashamed. We know it works! We are not ashamed because we see the love of God poured liberally into our hearts, our innermost motivations and desires, by the Holy Spirit, which God has given us. This is a process. We should not seek trouble, nor should we should not run from most troubles that come upon us. These troubles, which we cannot avoid, are the first step in this process that builds our hope. Our old man centered nature runs from these tribulations. But we believers glory in them as we get to see God build character in us as He through us overcomes these tribulations!
For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. [1 Corinthians 9;9-10]
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. [Romans 15;4]
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. [Romans 8;24-25]
We will discuss these in depth in other Bible Lessons.
Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him. [Proverbs 29;20]
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him. [Proverbs 26;12]
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. [Proverbs 19;18]
When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth. [Proverbs 11;7] Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. . . [Proverbs 13;12a]
And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, [Acts 16;19] (read whole story Acts 16:16-40)
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. [Ezekiel 37;11-14]
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. [Hebrews 6:10-12]
But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. [Joshua 23:8-13]
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; [1 Timothy 1;1]
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [Ephesians 1;17-21]
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. [1 Corinthians 13;13]
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. [Romans 4;13-25]
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. [Acts 24;14-15]
. . . moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: [Acts 2;26b ]
. . . but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. [Joel 3;16b]
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. [Lamentations 3;24-26]
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. [Lamentations 3;21-23]
And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD. [Jeremiah 31;17]
(Oh Lord) Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction. [Jeremiah 17;17]
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. [Jeremiah 17;7]
The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish. [Proverbs 10;28]
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. [Psalms 147;11]
Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever. [Psalms 131;3]
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. [Psalms 130;7]
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. [Psalms 130;5]
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. [Psalms 119;116]
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. [Psalms 119;114]
That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: [Psalms 78;7]
But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. [Psalms 71;14]
Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. [Psalms 33;22]
(MORE HOPE, MORE MERCY)
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. [Psalms 33;18]
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. [Psalms 31;24]
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. [Psalms 16;9]
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. [Lamatations 3;21-26]
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