Read His Words Before Ours!
Throughout the last few years, I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with hope.
There were times when hope was the water level that buoyed me up and allowed me to keep moving forward. Other times hope felt like the very anchor that kept my head just barely above the crashing waves.
Those were the moments when hoping that better was coming
hurt more than enduring the pain of the season.
Yet, hope is a powerful resource, and truly without it I would have given up on the plans the Lord has for me long, long ago.
So, from where does my hope come?
First and foremost, the Lord as He speaks through the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s voice (Matthew 4:4). Beyond that, hope may rise from the encouragement of fellow sojourners, reflection on previous hopes fulfilled, and the decision to live life with a hope-filled mindset. What increases your hope?
For me, the words of the Old Testament prophets bring me hope.
Several times throughout my life, the Lord has brought verses to mind that come directly from the books of the Bible that are named after these prophets.
In Scripture, there are 17 books categorized as prophetic (written by prophets).
Five of those are called major and 12 are minor. This is due to the length of the books rather than the importance of the content. The five major prophet books are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. The 12 minor prophet books are the last books of the Old Testament beginning with Hosea and ending with Malachi.
I find myself visiting these books frequently, receiving encouragement from the men who obeyed the Lord in announcing His will so many years ago.
The basic definition of a prophet is a person who declares the will of God.
Believers today have something those living during Old Testament times didn’t have: the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the role of the prophet was incredibly important as through these voices, lives, and written words, God’s people could know the Lord’s direction and desire. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, His will had to be vocalized from an external source rather than an internal one.
The lives these prophets lived and the words they spoke are captured in those 17 books at the end of the Old Testament. Throughout them you will find deep wisdom and truth applicable for today just as much as it did then. These prophets spoke the words the Lord’s Spirit gave them without knowing the big picture, but they obeyed regardless. The Lord challenged them to obey in ways that guaranteed social norms were at the minimum bent and in some cases shattered.
The examples of faith and obedience the prophets displayed is one way
hope grows in me.
The backbone of my faith is strengthened when reading their stories and, in turn, my hope rises.
I don’t know the full pictures of my life,
but just like the prophets of old,
I am to obey regardless.
I can discover the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living
as I follow Him,
even if He asks me to move outside my comfort zone.
(Side note: The Lord will never direct me to do something that contradicts His character as proven in the Word.)
Hope rises as we witness the faithful obedience of these ancient prophets.
Hope rises through the words the prophets spoke.
The words God ordained to be preserved for us to take in.
Several verses tucked into the pages of prophecy have become lifelines in the dark and clear directives for my next steps.
Hope rises here, anchored in truth!
“The Lord your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will be quiet in His love.
He will delight in you with singing.”
“The Lord my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer
and enables me to walk
on mountain heights.”
“Mankind, He has told each of you what is good,
and what it is the Lord requires of you;
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly
with your God.”
These are prophets who faithfully obeyed the Lord, despite great cost to themselves.
Prophets who allowed the Lord’s hope to rise through their surrender.
Prophets who pointed, directly and indirectly,
to the Eternal Hope of the coming Messiah.
Challenge yourself to read through some of these hope writings in the coming weeks. Take note of the verses that bring you hope.
Who inspires you in your faith journey?
Is it Daniel in his obedience and faith as he stands amidst the lions?
Is it Hosea marrying a harlot as a representation of the Lord’s love for us?
May hope rise as you read of events declared before they would happen and then their fulfillment. Look for the glimmers that point to a coming Savior and take comfort in knowing that exactly what God declares, He brings to pass.
Hope; it’s coming!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!