Advent Week 1: ‘The Prophet’s Candle of HOPE’

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“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My HOPE is in You.” – Psalm 39:7

Re-read that verse again. Ponder the application of it’s powerful spiritual truth for our life, especially now. The question is this, to what or in whom are we or do we seek after to give us hope in our times of hopelessness? Because if we aren’t there now, we will experience moments of hopelessness. And, if we are honest, the holidays conjure up those emotions more than other times of the year.

See, for some reason, our human tendency is to place our hope in things of this world. To our possessions, prestige, position and even other people-but sadly, while they may temporarily satisfy, an empty hopeless void is still present within our hearts and minds. It is here that Romans 5:5a,6 reminds, “Hope does not disappoint…you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” In other words, hope-true lasting absolute permanent hope is found in Jesus alone. Hope has a name: JESUS! He does not disappoint! When the things of this world we have sought after to give us hope are found wanting, empty, stagnant and lifeless, Jesus is our ‘Living Hope’ (1 Peter 1:3-4)! And the hope Jesus offers satisfies, supports, supplies, strengthens and saves us. Wow! Psalm 42:5 reminds, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your HOPE in God, for I will YET praise him, my Savior and my God.” Even in our hopeless life moments, we can YET praise our God because HOPE has a name: JESUS! But now, O LORD…even in my hopeless life valley-my HOPE is in You alone! You are my living Hope. That truth is powerful!

It’s this life and faith lesson that the people of Israel had to learn as well. The backstory to the ‘Prophet’s Candle of HOPE’ is found in 1 Samuel 8:5-8, when God’s people wanted and asked God for what all the other surrounding nations had-an earthly king. Broken by their request, Samuel converses with God about this request. God responds by stating, “Samuel, they are not rejecting you-they are rejecting Me as their king.” In essence, they sought after the things and systems of this world to offer hope. Which did not occur. Over a period of 344 plus years of 40 different earthly kings, 32 did evil in God’s sight – 8 did good, while only 1 was ‘very good’. This evil leadership led to disunity, division, corruption and worse, spiritual death and decay among God’s people. They looked to the ‘things of this our world’ to bring HOPE that completely disappointed.

You know, while we may point our fingers in disbelief at their blunder, at times we are no different-are we? Nope! We’ve gone and done the same. Perhaps, we are there now. It is into this our spiritual need for HOPE in our hopelessness that the prophet Isaiah speaks. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great Light…for TO US a Child is born, TO US a Son is given, and the government will be upon HIS shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:2a,6-7a) Now, that’s HOPE! Hope has a name: Jesus! He is our Living Hope. Seek after the hope God brings!

So, friends – I’m not sure what hopeless life valley you are walking through at the moment, but this prayer of true hope in Jesus stated in Romans 15:13 is my prayer for you-for all of us, this Christmas season, “May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Let’s all live the HOPE that Jesus brings to us! Give and live the ‘reason for our hope’ (1 Peter 3;15)-especially now. The true lasting eternal living hope Jesus gives does not disappoint. He IS my HOPE! Is He yours?

Blessings on you! May Jesus be your Living Hope! Love you. See you this Sunday as we continue our Advent sermon series with ‘The Bethlehem Candle of Faith’.

Doug Reed // Lead Pastor

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