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Devotions > Hope

Hope springs forth from Intimacy with God
21 Dec 2012


Hope comes in various sizes.   While we live for the most part in a hope-starved world, the most powerful and peaceful parcel of hope came as a babe in a manger, a gift to mankind from on High.   Why do so many reject this very real hope in our world today?    What a marvelous promise, what a magnanimous opportunity, to be adopted by God!

Galatians 4:4-5 (NASB77)
4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

In the days of Jesus the religious right was intently looking for the promised liberator.    Unfortunately, they were expecting a deliverer who precisely fit their man-made meaning of Messiah.   They desired a savior who validated their twisted religious patterns and promoted their popular positions.   But more they were looking for a rescuer from the dominance of the Roman occupation.  In short they desired an Immanuel who would provide for their appetites, build up their appearances, and further their aspired advancements.

Perhaps the religious leaders of Jesus’ day had reversed the roles of the potter and the clay?  How can clay shape or sway or predispose a potter?

Jeremiah 18:2-6 (AMP)
2 Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he was working at the wheel.
4 And the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he made it over, reworking it into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me:
6 O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? says the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.

Maybe these leaders were so focused on their desires that they began to believe that by selectively seeking specific scriptures they could thereby influence the plan of God?     Selective scripture manipulation from any motivation yields similar results today; we miss the plan of God and the abundant life that the Spirit of God intends for us to enjoy.

We see in the Christmas story an answer to the question: how can we avoid the blindness induced by strong desires for self fulfillment?      In order to evaluate this question, we might look at those who were blind.    Herod was blind.   Most of the Pharisees were blind.   The majority of the Sadducees were blind.   What do these have in common?   They probably share the desire for power, position and prestige born in the womb of pride.

Conversely there were those who God intentionally involved in His plan to provide man with a Messiah. Among them were shepherds and wise men, Mary and Joseph and others.  But one individual who was mentioned specifically by the Holy Spirit is at the heart of our investigation today.    Please permit me to mention Simeon:

Luke 2:25-32 (NLT)
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him
26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required,
28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

What made Simeon different?   He was obviously religious.  He was looking for the Messiah to rescue Israel.   Yet Simeon’s perspective was completely different than what we see from most other religious leaders of Jesus’ day.   What prepared Simeon perspective dissimilarly?

We must conclude that Simeon was in contact, in intimate communication, in a committed clay relationship with his potter God.   He was a true prophet of God.  He was a listener with ears to hear. Let’s listen in to a few more of his words to Mary:

Luke 2:34-35 (NLT)
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.
35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

What can we learn and apply to our lives and our prayers from this righteous and devout man?   If you are a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ today, you are like Simeon, a prophet.   The bible is clear that you have the primary Element of prophecy, living inside you in the person of the Holy Spirit.   This means that if you seek the Lord diligently and consistently you should expect to hear from Him.  The Holy Spirit will apply His Word.  He will apply preaching.   He will give you guidance, but the Spirit’s guidance and insight are normally conditional.    We must humbly seek to maintain clean hands, a pure heart and a deep desire to bring God glory.

We have many problems in our Nation and our world in these days.   Yet if our focus is primarily on problems we will not experience the peace that comes from the Hope, the Light of the world.   We must train our eyes and hearts to focus on Light.   We must pray with expectation and hope.  We serve a God of eternal hope.

God’s words to Solomon continue to be instructive to us as we consider our prayers:

 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Hope and pray and expect revival in God’s perfect time; revival is His plan!

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

-       Mark Lowry

Jeff Williams