Hope in God

The hope that is mentioned in the Bible is not wishful thinking. It is the present assurance of some future good, and there is only One who knows the future. If our belief in God is distorted then hope is dissipated, which is yet another reason why we worship God – keeping His divine attributes constantly present in our minds. Three times the Psalmist reminds himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God (Ps. 42:5,11; 43:5).

Jeremiah is lamenting the loss of Jerusalem, and he believes God is the cause of his mental and emotional distress in Lamentations 3:

Vs. 1   I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of His wrath (Afflicted)

Vs. 2   He has driven and brought me into darkness without any light (Lost)

Vs. 4   He has made my flesh and my skin waste away (Physically sick)

Vs. 5   He has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation (Bitter)

Vs. 6   He has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago (Despondent)

Vs. 7   He has walled me about so that I cannot escape (Entrapped)

Vs. 8   Though I call and cry for help, He shuts out my prayer (Estranged)

Vs. 9   He has blocked my ways . . . and made my paths crooked (Directionless)

Vs. 17   My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” (Hopeless)

None of what Jeremiah is thinking (believing) is a correct assessment of God and His ways. God is disciplining the nation of Israel for their disobedience. Jeremiah would have remained in that depressive state as long as he continued with that mindset, but he didn’t:

But this I recall to mind, and therefore I have hope: The Steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him” (3:21-24).

Notice that nothing changed in his immediate circumstances. Hope returned when he recalled to his mind the steadfast love of the Lord.

Dr. Neil

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