Learning Hope from the Past

Hope energizes us to endure the trials and troubles of life. Why does the farmer plow his fields from sunrise to sundown during the blistering heat of summer? Because he hopes in the harvest (1 Cor. 9:10).

Hope combines one’s desire and expectation, thereby producing a powerful force that influences faith and righteous living. Unfortunately, hope can be misplaced. Many folks put their hope in the wrong things. They hope in money, as if it will solve their problems; it will not (Eccl. 2:8, 10-11; Matt. 6:19-21, 24; 1 Tim. 6:6-10). Others hope in their wisdom or power (1 Cor. 1:18-25). Others hope in their fame. Some put their hope in their own strength, or in the strength of others (Jer. 17:5). None of these give true hope; only the expression of desires that ultimately fail. The Bible teaches none of these are able to give the fulfilling hope of eternal life for which the soul yearns.

Christians rejoice in the hope of eternal life we have in Christ (Rom. 5:2; 12:12; Col. 1:27). We were “saved in hope” (Rom. 8:24). Moreover, the gospel called us to a living hope of eternal life (Eph. 4:4; Tit. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 1:3). Christ is our “hope of glory”, the source and the culmination of our hope to share in the future glory of heaven (Col. 3:4; Heb. 6:19-20).

It often helps to look to the past to strengthen our hope of the future. Romans 15:4 says this is exactly why we have the Old Testament Scriptures. By showing us the blessings of a persevering faith, the Old Testament comforts and assures our hope. Here are just a few of its Scriptures that teach patience and comfort from which we gain hope as we live by faith.

1) Genesis 3:15: The prediction of victory over Satan and sin gives hope to mankind.

2) Judges 7: Hope in God is strengthened as we read of Gideon and his 300 men defeating the massive Midianite army. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 Jno. 5:4). Such faith assured our hope to this day (Heb. 11:1).

3) 1 Samuel 17: David’s faith in God as he faced and defeated Goliath comforts us in hope as we face the giant opponents to truth and godliness of our day.

4) Psalms 16:8-11: We are comforted to know that David’s hope in the future was not in vain. God fulfilled His promises to David through Jesus Christ (Acts 2:25-32, 34-36).

5) 1 Kings 18:20-40: The dramatic display of God’s presence and power at Mt. Carmel confirms that our hope in the living God is properly placed. He alone is God, and the faithful put their hope in Him.

6) Ezekiel 37:1-14: The valley of dry bones returning to life in Ezekiel’s vision gave Israelites hope to endure the Babylonian exile. God turns death into life; what a joyous hope we have in Him.

Hebrews 11 gives many more Old Testament people whose exemplary faith teaches us to persevere in hope of the promises of God, who cannot lie (Heb. 6:13-18).

The Christian’s hope is sure and steadfast, an anchor securing us in life’s storms, safely mooring us to God’s grace through faith (Heb. 6:19-20; Rom. 5:1-2). Truly, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:2).

By Joe R. Price

Return to the General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /