“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
on those who hope in His steadfast love.” (Psalm 33:18 ESV)
The word “HOPE” in the world’s view is something unsure. But, Biblical HOPE is a confident expectation or a joyful anticipation that something good is about to break forth because we have a GOOD GOD Who is faithfully committed to our good. We have a GOOD GOD Who is true to His Word. What He says, He surely will do. We have a GOOD GOD Whose love never fails, never runs out and never gives up on us. We have a GOOD GOD Whose promises are yes and amen! We have GOOD GOD Whose eyes are constantly looking out for those whom He loves, those who receive His love and those who respond to His love. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Look at this tree, it is leafless and looks lifeless because it is winter time, yet there is a confident hope within us that the leaves would soon sprout when the season changes. Why? Because it is created by the Creator to do so. It may look dead at this point in time, but because its roots are deeply rooted to the underground source of water, it is still alive.
The Passion Translation of this verse says …
The eyes of the Lord are upon
even the weakest worshipers who love Him—
those who wait in hope and expectation
for the strong, steady love of God. (Psalm 33:18 TPT)
Our experiential knowledge of God’s love is one top most necessity in our lives. It is one thing to know that God loves the whole world, but it is another thing to know that He personally loves you and personally loves me. He shows His love to us corporately, but He also singles each one of us out so that He can lavish upon us His love in full demonstration individually.
One analogy that describes this is when a famous celebrity that you like comes to a gathering and says to the whole crowd, “I love you!”, a roar of great shout responds to such. But, when that same celebrity singles you out and calls you out from the crowd, invites you to spend time and hang out with you for a week or so until you experientially know who he/she is, and at the end of that time will tell you the same words, do you think your response will be the same? Hmmm … I bet you will walk out from that place on cloud nine.
It is of utmost importance to cultivate our intimate relationship with Him Who created us in love. Spending time in His presence in thanksgiving, praise and worship is never wasted time. Meditating His Word day and night deepens our knowledge of Him where wisdom and revelation come.
Worldly meditation is emptying one’s mind, opening oneself to the spirit realm where one can be influenced by any spirit that includes an evil one. But, Biblical meditation is filling our minds with the Word of God. It is joining our minds with the mind of Christ. It is best illustrated akin to regurgitating the Word of God, like a cow chewing its cud, a partly digested food returned from the first stomach of ruminants to the mouth for further chewing. It is taking a thought or a verse to review it, pray over it, think about it, quote it, declare it, write it on paper and put it in the dashboard of our car. We do it because we know that something in there is for us that we do not want just to glance over it quickly, but we want to make sure that the full impact of that verse hits us.
Our growing and going deeper knowledge of Him is where our trust is developed, summoning us not to lean on our own understanding for in all of our ways, it is He Who will direct our paths. We do not need to know the end from the beginning because we know and trust the One Who knows and holds our lives. Mind you, we can only trust the One we know, thus revealed knowledge of Him is important.
“BLESSED [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and TRUSTS in and RELIES on the Lord
And whose HOPE and CONFIDENT EXPECTATION is the Lord.
For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters,
That spreads out its roots by the river;
And will not fear the heat when it comes;
But its leaves will be green and moist.
And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought
Nor stop bearing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
When the Lord is our HOPE, we are likened to a tree planted by the waters where our roots grow deep, drawing nourishment from Him alone.
In Christ, we are in this world but not of it. Therefore, we are not subject to the physicality of this world. In Christ, we live our lives defying limitations and containment, for there is nothing impossible to those who believe in the God Who knows no impossibility. The Lord our God Who is rich in mercy and abounding in love never intended us to live chained, imprisoned, silenced and hopeless. The finished work of Jesus Christ overcame every worldly control or jurisdiction that we were once bound as a result of the fall. Jesus promised, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” (John 16:33 AMPC). Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
When Jesus was with the Samaritan woman at the well, He said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14)
When our roots are deeply rooted, grounded and connected to the Source of Life, the gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, flooding us with endless life, do you think we, as likened to a tree, get subject to heat, rain or drought? NO! The Message Paraphrase says it this way. “Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.” (Jeremiah 17:8)
This is to be our reality as sons and daughters of the Most High God. He pre-ordained us to be His, thus, He sent His only Beloved and Begotten Son so that we will never live an underprivileged life. We are created to be a well-watered garden. No weapon formed or fashioned against us shall prosper or succeed and every tongue which rises against in judgment we shall condemn for this is the heritage that we have from Him.
This vaccine issue has become an avenue of strife to a lot of people. To have it or not, to each his/her own. Believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and hear and heed our Good Shepherd’s voice. When He speaks, we know, for His sheep knows His voice and follow Him. But one thing for sure is that whether to have it or not, we go by faith. Indeed, the just shall live by faith. We do not judge for we are not called to do so. We can only judge ourselves by our obedience to His voice that makes us steady with our decision.
Piercing into the realms of the unknown is what makes people anxious. The what ifs cause fear to arise and paralyze mankind. Everyone wants to know what is the effect of the vaccine in the future. Thus, it is by grace through faith if we opt to have it. We believe in the power of the Blood of Jesus that overrides everything. To those whose choice is not to be vaccinated, it is by grace through faith that nothing shall in any way harm us. What matters most to Him and to us is that JESUS IS LORD, not the virus nor the vaccine in which both are fighting for our attention and affection. His Word says that He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because we trust in Him.” (Isaiah 26:3)
The unknown to a believer is not supposed to be an area of anxiety, but an area of peace and confidence because God holds our unknown. What we do not know, He knows. What we did not see coming, He saw and already has a redemptive solution for it. God has got our backs and all the angles covered with all our blind spots taken care of. He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, of power and of a sound mind. Why worry? We do not need to know all that He knows. After all, we are not the Head. Jesus is. We are the Body of Christ that yields to His Lordship by the Word that He speaks.
God gave us our FULL ARMOR! We have been geared up with the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the sandals of peace and the sword of our spirit which is the Word of God. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God in pulling down strongholds. We are His army with divine armory. Therefore, let us arise and shine for the Light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon us. Darkness has covered the earth and deep darkness its people. What are we waiting for? The Lord has risen over us and His glory has been upon us. We are called the salt and light of the world, that nations shall come to our light and kings shall come to the brightness of our rising by the way we live our lives, by the words that we speak, by the way we respond to the challenges that we are facing, yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God.
Our Hope is in the Lord. Our Hope is in God’s love. This is what we need to experientially know that He would grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith; that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. When we know how much He loves us, it casts all our fears away, causes our faith to arise and our hope steady, as anchor of our souls.
With Jesus’ outstretched arms, crucified at the cross, before He breathed His last breath uttered, “It is finished!”, He won the battle for us. At His death, the veil was torn from top to bottom, giving us full access to His throne of grace, where we are forever welcomed and embraced, because the Blood of the Lamb of God declared us righteous. He defeated the enemy whose job description is to steal, kill and destroy, not just anything in our lives, but more so our intimate relationship with God. He knows that when we are intimately intertwined with our Lord Jesus Christ, constantly and consistently drinking from the river of living water that flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb, he has no room to win. He may, at times, succeed in distracting us by throwing all means of trials and tribulations to gain our attention and affection and be fully consumed by them. He does it by our physical senses and throwing lies into our minds. Thus, it is vital to know and not be ignorant of his schemes. We go by faith where God’s ways are superior and not by sight where the enemy’s playground is found with his inferior ways. To combat the enemy’s ways is to get intimately connected into the One Who is The Way, The Truth and The Life. Jesus came that we may have and enjoy life and have it more abundantly which is only made possible with our restored and reconciled relationship with Him.
Christ in us is the HOPE of glory (Colossians 1:27). He is the very reason why we can sleep tight in the night, being fully persuaded that He never sleeps nor slumbers, with His eyes upon those whose hearts are committed, loyal and completely His. Knowing that we are His dwelling place where there is no more separation from Him and His love, it makes our hearts sit still. With Him in us, He becomes our portion, therefore, we hope in Him (Lamentations 3:24). When He is our Portion, that means anything lacking in our lives is filled by Him, anything broken is made whole in Him, anything missing is supplied by Him. He completes us with His all in all. Great is His faithfulness.
“And now we have run into His heart to hide ourselves in His faithfulness. This is where we find His strength and comfort, for He empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time—an unshakable hope! We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, and where Jesus, our forerunner,has gone in before us. He is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:18-20)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of Hope Who fills us with all joy and peace as we put our full trust in You, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus, that You are our Lord and Savior. You are our King, Healer and Deliverer. You are Christ in us, the Hope of Glory. You are our Hope that never disappoints because God’s love has been poured in to our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for always revealing to us our heavenly identity in Christ in which once revealed can never be taken away from us. We are continually and confidently expectant to experientially walk in what has been unveiled before us today that all things work together for our good because You always make intercession for us for the will of God to come true and be done in our lives. Amen!
Photo Credits: Edna Arriola; New Zealand