HOPE : AN UNSEEN REALITY

In Hebrew 11: 1, we can see how. “Hope” constitutes an unseen reality. It says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. It is an expected future manifestation based on an unshakable trust in God. Hope is thus faith-based for it to work out fine. As human beings, we are faced with challenges. Some are self-induced, while some are brought on individuals as a result of ones sins or devil’s attempt at shaking believer with a view to scaring him or her and thus be able to rubbish his or her belief in God. A believer who knows that the steadfast love of the Lord never fails, tends to unfailingly believe that he or she has an anchor in Christ Jesus. He will not allow such people to succumb to the world’s stormy blast.

Faith-based hope is an anchor that is always available to stabilize a believer from allowing his hope to waver, because God has solution to our problems for 1Corinthians 10: 13 says “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it. Furthermore, in ll Corinthians 9: 8, God’s grace is ever sufficient to meet every need or whatever is being hoped for and we need to know that God is able to meet and do more than we ask for or can imagine. Ephesians 3: 20 says; “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (KJV). There is a true life story of a woman who was close to God in her heart and service but was unable to get married for one reason or the other. She was fast approaching the age of fifty years when a widower asked her hand in marriage. Having prayed over it, she joyfully agreed to marry him with her chronic un-wavering hope that she would get married with children in a happy family setting. Her hope for a God-sent suitor came at last and yielded more than she hoped for. Her first pregnancy resulted in the birth of a triplet. First, her hope never wavered and secondly, God granted her wishes by blessing her more abundantly than she asked for or thought about.

The believer who faithfully trusts in God can always count on God’s unfailing faithfulness Lamentation 3: 32 says, “But though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies” (KJV). The bible recorded that King Hezekiah pleased God all his days, but he later faltered by showing emissaries of Berodach, King of Babylon all the wealth and top secrets of his kingdom. The people came with presents as if they really came to congratulate him for getting over his ailment during which he nearly died. The King of Babylon came to attack Israel after the death of Hezekiah. Faithful love of God for the pious King Hezekiah made God to postpone the attack until then. ll Kings 20: 12-21 (KJV). The bible depicted Hezekiah as having lived his life during his reign pleasing God and hoped for the best. He got it in spite of his indiscretion and lack of insight into espionage as carried out by the king of Babylon. He did not condone idol worshipping or serving any graven image. When a tested man of God gives God’s message, it should increase or embolden one’s faith and hope of realizing what one had been praying for. Abraham’s situation readily comes to mind with his twenty-five-year promise of having a child from his own loin.
Sarah, his wife, who wanted to help God get a child regretted it when the erstwhile house help promoted herself to claim equality with the “legal” wife. Based on human thinking, mother of Ishmael was right but man’s thought is never as perfect as God’s decision. God’s time may tarry but it will assuredly come. HE is never late in granting man’s request. His timing is never the same as ours; but surely he does not forget. When promise of God tarried it is faith that helps our hope in the Lord. Hannah’s faith and hope never wavered. Eli first took her as one that was probably having a hangover from the festivity in Jerusalem, she told him that she was only pouring out her heavy heart to God. By the auction of God on Prophet Eli, he prophesied that God would grant her the object of her prayer. She believed and that hope buoyed her up as she returned to her home. Her vow in her prayer centered around lending the child to God. In fulfilling the vow, she did not return to Shiloh per the annual pilgrimage. She went back to Shiloh only when Samuel was whined to fulfill (pay) her vow.

King Ahab of Israel, after Elijah’s encounter with all the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, had invasion problem from Ben-Hadad, King of Syria, looming over his kingdom l King 20: 1-34. (KJV) He even agreed to part with valuables as well as his family but Ben-Hadad insisted on attacking Samaria because he believed he would have no difficulty in overrunning the Kingdom. God intervened and sent a prophet to tell Ahab that HE would deliver Israel. Definitely, Ahab’s hopelessness changed to hopefulness and agreed to put his men in array for the war. God networked the downfall of the drunken and reveling King Ben-Hadad with his accomplices twice. After the second encounter, Ahab did not consult with God before putting his men in battle against Ben-Hadad the third encounter. The two victories he had were based on putting his hope on God not based on his prowess or assistance from other kings. Psalm 42: 5 actually stressed that we need to put our hope in God : “Why are you cast down , O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, For I shall yet praise Him for the help of his countenance. By the same token, Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-nego placed their hope in God to defy King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree on worshipping his golden image. They declared in Daniel 3: 16-18 “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand O King. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king,that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up. (KJV)

Unshakeable faith of some rulers in their ability to continuously coarse or subjugate their subjects has always led to their woeful end. The first king in the break-away Northern Israel was of this cast. 1 King 12: 25-33 and 13: 1-6 showed King Jeroboam at his worst when he earnestly attempted to usurp the God assigned duty to the priestly people i.e. “when the king heard what the prophet cried against the alter in Bethel, Jeroboam standing at the alter, extended his hand and ordered, ‘Seize him!’ The hand he had extended shriveled up and he could not pull it back”. He had to beg the prophet to beg God for him before his hand became functional again.

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