WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 17, 2023
TOPIC: THE POWER OF BIBLICAL HOPE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 New King James Version).
1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (New King James Version). From this scripture, we can see that hope is great although it is not as great as love. It is not clear if the order of mention of faith, hope, and love in this scripture shows their degree of greatness, as the Bible does not clearly state this. But if it is, it means that hope is next to love in greatness. Nevertheless, the three are connected.
Hebrews 11:1 shows us the relationship between faith and hope: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (New King James Version). In 1 Peter 1:21b, the Apostle Peter talks about the believers’ faith and hope in God. Also, in Galatians 5:5, the Apostle Paul says, “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith”. That’s a relationship between hope and faith. Verse 6b talks about faith working through love. That’s a relationship between faith and love.
There are different kinds of hope. There is biblical hope – hope that is founded on God and His Word. There is also natural hope. Non-believers have this kind of hope that is not based on the Word of God. Some people don’t believe in God and have natural hope. Proverbs 13:12 says hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. There is deferred hope and there is fulfilled or realized hope. The Bible also talks about false, futile, or vain hope, lost hope, and the hope of the hypocrite (Job 41:9; Psalm 33:17; Ezekiel 37:11; 19:5; Job 8:13; 27:8).
In the New Testament, the Bible talks about the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23), the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8), the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5), and the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7).
Everybody needs hope, especially hope that is founded on God and His Word because it has the guarantee of being fulfilled. It is unlike natural hope which may or may not be fulfilled but its positive impact cannot be ignored. Research has shown that hopeful people experience less stress and anxiety. They are also less likely to suffer depression. Hope protects people against suicide. It boosts the immune system and improves physical, mental, and emotional health. In addition, hopeful people are more likely to engage in healthy behaviour than those who lack hope. According to research, there are other benefits.
However, this devotional is on biblical hope, which is a positive expectation that something good will happen in the future based on the Word of God. Romans 15:4 says “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (New King James Version). This refers to hope based on the Scriptures. Through the patience and comfort that we receive from the Scriptures, we have hope.
When we study the Scriptures or listen to messages from the Bible, including the lives of Bible characters, it gives us hope. When we also read and hear about the promises of God, it also gives us hope. It thus means that those who are not exposed to the Word of God cannot have biblical hope. The writer of Psalm 119 says, “I hope in Your word” (verses 81b, 114b, 147b New King James Version).
Paul described God as the God of hope. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 New King James Version). If the God of hope is your hope, He will fill you with all joy and peace, as this scripture says. Consequently, you will abound in or overflow with hope.
David says, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him” (Psalm 62:5 New Living Translation). Is your hope in God? Is your hope founded on His Word? The writer of Psalm 130 says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope” (verse 5 New King James Version). Also, Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord” (New King James Version). Make God your hope. Let your hope be founded on His Word.
The power of Biblical hope
1. It enables believers to wait for the fulfilment of the Word of God and His promises. God has spoken some things in the Bible and made some promises in the Bible and to His children individually that are yet to be fulfilled or not yet due for fulfilment. Hope enables us to wait for the fulfilment. “As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11 New International Version).
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (New King James Version). The hope of the believers will not be disappointed. “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18 New International Version).
2. It enables believers to endure hardship or trials. In Romans 12:12, Paul tells believers to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Job 14:7-9 says, “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant” (New King James Version).
Despite the affliction Paul suffered, his hope of eternity with God made him not give up. He said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 New King James Version). Everything doesn’t end here on earth. Life’s problems are temporary. There is life after death. Believers have the hope of eternal life as we face life’s troubles.
3. It encourages believers not to give up on life. Hopelessness makes some people stop making efforts to achieve their goals because of what they have passed through. It makes suicide attractive to some people. Hopeful people are not likely to be suicidal. They have the hope that things will be better and, therefore, want to stay alive to see what God will do for them, as they continue to do what they can do. “There is hope only for the living. As they say, ‘It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!’” (Ecclesiastes 9:4 New Living Translation).
4. Hope is linked to joy and peace. Psalm 146:5 says, “But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (New Living Translation). The New King James Version renders the phrase “joyful” as “happy.” Some translations use the word “blessed.”
As Paul says in Romans 15:13a, the God of hope will fill believers with joy and peace because they trust in Him and they will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. This scripture shows us the relationship between hope and the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is important for believers to be open to the power of the Holy Spirit to abound or overflow with hope.
5. It helps believers to enjoy better health and be well motivated. Lack of hope impacts people’s health negatively. Lack of hope demotivates; hope motivates. Two times in Psalm 42, the psalmist asked his soul why it was downcast and disquieted or disturbed within him; but he added that he would hope in God, for he shall yet praise Him (verses 5, 11). This is repeated in Psalm 43:5. Hope helps the believer to overcome discouragement and thus live a better life than those who lack hope.
6. God takes pleasure in those who hope in His mercy (Psalm 147:11b). Psalm 130:7 says, “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption” (New King James Version). God is abundant in mercy to all those who call upon Him (Psalm 86:5b). Verse 15 also refers to God’s abundant mercy. God takes pleasure in those who hope in His mercy. Mercy is available to those who hope in God. “Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You” (Psalm 33:22 New King James Version).
7. Hope in Christ helps believers to live a holy life. The Apostle John says, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3 New King James Version).
Note the phrase “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” The Contemporary English Version puts it this way: “This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy.” Believers have the hope of eternal life; they have the hope of spending eternity with God. Therefore, they live a holy life, knowing that without holiness, no one shall see the Lord. “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14 New King James Version).
Conclusion: Cultivate biblical hope by exposing yourself to the Word of God through personal study and listening to the teaching or preaching of the Word of God. Meditate on His Word, confess it, and obey it. Also, fellowship with the Holy Spirit. There is power in putting your hope in God and His Word. Don’t give up on life because of challenges. Suicide should never be an option. Choose to live, not to die. Put your hope in God and His Word. “The hope of the righteous will be gladness, but the expectation of the wicked will perish” (Proverbs 10:28 New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, You are the God of hope; fill me with all joy and peace so that I will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, help me to be hopeful in every situation and not hopeless. Whatever I am going through, I will always have hope; I will praise God more and more. In the name of Jesus, Father, restore hope to those who have lost hope.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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