Hope Pursued

Mark Cavendish won his 3rd stage today—stage 10!!  Wow!!  In my last blog, “Hope“, I wrote about how when Mark won his 1st stage, I cried with him, as I felt hope and elation with this racer who thought he was done and came back to win.

Hope!!  It is so needed!!!  One of my favorite verses in the Bible is in Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

This was written to the exiles of Israel—living in Babylon– taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylonia.  He ruled from 605 B.C. to 562 B.C.   The Israelites were told by God through the prophet Jeremiah, that they would live in Babylon for 70 years, and they were to take wives, have children and work for the good of the kingdom they were in, and they would be called back to Jerusalem at the end of that 70 years.

These people had just experienced calamity—they had been taken from their homeland as slaves—they had lost everything they had—they knew that they had experienced this because they as a People—the nation of Israel– had been disobedient to the Lord—for centuries.  They had disobeyed Him in every way (breaking all His commandments)—and He had been patient with them—sending them prophet after prophet to tell them to turn back to Him, and they ignored Him and killed His prophets.

After their captivity, God tells them, “I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.    Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.

Does this ancient manuscript have any meaning for us today?  I think it does.  I have been reading through Revelations recently.

Did you know that Revelations is written in code?  Christians were being persecuted, and Revelations was written to a persecuted church. Many Christians were in hiding.  John wrote Revelations, and he wrote it so that it could be interpreted if one knew the prophesies in the Torah—or the Old Testament.  They are the key to decoding Revelations.  All of scripture is connected, as it is all inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I remember when I was in High School, there was a student who did a talk in his English class on what was going to happen in the future based on the book of Revelations.  Word got around that he was giving this talk, and students from other classes, asked to go and listen to his talk—the room was absolutely packed—and students were even milling around the room in the hallway to try and hear what this young man was saying. People want to know what is going to happen in the future, and the Bible tells us what is going to happen.

Even if you never read Revelations or the prophets in the Old Testament—the message is consistent—it points to a Holy God, a fallen people, a need for the Messiah–the Savior– it points to Hope. 

Our Hope is in God.  He made us, He gave us laws that reveal His Holiness and how much we fall short of that Holiness, then He gave us Jesus to bridge the gap between us and Him.

 Jesus died for each of us to set us free from our bondage as slaves in the kingdom of darkness and bring us into His kingdom.  This is a gift from Him that we can each choose to accept or deny.  If we accept it, we will have a relationship with God that will continue for eternity.  We accept that relationship with God by our faith.  We can communicate our faith in prayer.

God is telling us, “I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”

May we be encouraged!!

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