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Day 213

Bring People Hope

Wisdom Psalm 89:46-52
New Testament Romans 14:19-15:13
Old Testament 1 Chronicles 11:1-12:22

Introduction

Twenty-one-year-old Matthew had been homeless for three years. Mark Russell (who was appointed head of the Church Army aged only thirty-one) met him on the streets of Charing Cross in London, bought him some food and led him to Christ.

As he was getting up to leave he said, ‘Matthew, over the next month I am going to be on platforms speaking to thousands of people. What piece of advice do you want me to give to the Church of England today?’

Matthew replied, ‘The church’s job is to stop arguing and to bring people hope.’

Mark Russell commented, ‘I have never heard a better definition of what we should be about: Don’t we have a gospel of hope? A gospel that brings hope? A gospel of life, a gospel of transformation and above all a hope of eternal life, the hope of Jesus.’

Many people see only a hopeless end; but with Jesus you can enjoy an endless hope.

Hope is one of the three great theological virtues – the others being love and faith. As Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa writes, ‘They are like three sisters. Two of them are grown and the other is a small child. They go forward together hand in hand with the child hope in the middle. Looking at them it would seem that the bigger ones are pulling the child, but it is the other way around; it is the little girl who is pulling the two bigger ones. It is hope that pulls faith and love. Without hope everything would stop.’

Wisdom

Psalm 89:46-52

46 How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
    How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how fleeting is my life.
    For what futility you have created all humanity!
48 Who can live and not see death,
    or who can escape the power of the grave?
49 Lord, where is your former great love,
    which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
50 Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked,
    how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations,
51 the taunts with which your enemies, Lord, have mocked,
    with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.

    52 Praise be to the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.

Commentary

Know the hope of eternal life through Jesus

‘To live without hope is to cease to live,’ wrote Fyodor Dostoevsky. ‘What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life,’ wrote Emil Brunner.

This psalm ends on a note of hope, ‘Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen’ (v.52). The psalmist clings on to hope in spite of the fact that he is wrestling with his own situation.

  1. Hope in the midst of suffering and despair
    ‘How long, O Lord?’ (v.46a) is a rhetorical question. It is a cry of despair. Will this suffering go on forever?

  2. Hope in spite of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death
    Life is so short: ‘Remember how fleeting is my life’ (v.47a). If death is the end then there is no ultimate meaning or purpose, ‘For what futility you have created all humanity!’ (v.47b). No one can raise themselves from the dead: ‘Who can live and not see death, or who can escape from the power of the grave?’ (v.48).

But the psalmist does not rule out the hope of the resurrection. He knows human beings cannot save themselves. He looks to the Lord: ‘O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David… your anointed one’ (vv.49–51). What the psalmist saw only in blurry outlines is made crystal clear in the New Testament.

Prayer

Lord, thank you that you have given us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade’ (1 Peter 1:3–4).

New Testament

Romans 14:19-15:13

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

15We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name.”

10 Again, it says,

        “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

        “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
    let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again, Isaiah says,

        “The Root of Jesse will spring up,
            one who will arise to rule over the nations;
            in him the Gentiles will hope.”

13 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.

Commentary

Overflow with hope through the Holy Spirit

Faith releases hope, joy and peace in our lives. Doubt steals our joy and peace. Faith means trusting in ‘the God of hope’. Paul prays, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow [‘bubbling over’, AMP] with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (15:13).

The origin of hope is ‘the God of hope’. The reason for hope is Jesus. The source of hope in you is the Holy Spirit. This hope is not wishful thinking. It is rooted in what God has done for us and is doing in us.

This hope is the driving force for our day-to-day living. As Erwin McManus comments, hope ‘lifts us out of the rubble of our failures, our pain and our fear to rise above what at one point seemed insurmountable. Our ability to endure, to persevere, to overcome is fuelled by this one seemingly innocuous ingredient called hope.’

The hope for the whole world is in Jesus. He is the hope for Israel. He is also the hope for the rest of us. Paul quotes a number of passages in the Old Testament to prove this, culminating with the words of Isaiah prophesying that Jesus would be ‘Tall enough for everyone everywhere to see and take hope!’ (v.12, MSG).

Paul helps us to see different aspects of the hope that Jesus brings to the world today including:

  1. Hope for unity
    Paul continues to plead that every effort is made for unity: ‘Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification’ (14:19). Guard this unity by being sensitive to your brothers and sisters in Christ and not offending them unnecessarily (14:20–15:1). Each of us should ‘please our neighbours for their good, to build them up’ (v.2).

    Follow the example of Jesus: ‘For even Christ did not please himself’ (v.3). Like Jesus, be a God-pleaser, not a self-pleaser or a people-pleaser. People-pleasers are those who try to please people even if they have to compromise their own conscience to do so. Paul tried to please people as long as pleasing them did not cause him to displease the Lord (Galatians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 10:33).

  2. Hope from the Scriptures
    The purpose of the Bible is to give us hope. ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope’ (Romans 15:4). It is through the Scriptures that you know about Jesus and the hope that is in him. The way to keep your hopes up is to study the Scriptures regularly.

This hope leads to ‘All joy and peace as you trust in him’ (v.13). I love the way that Corrie ten Boom puts it: ‘Joy and peace mean going around with a smile on our faces and an empty suitcase.’

Prayer

Lord, thank you that just as you raised Jesus from the dead, one day you will raise me with him to full and eternal life. May your Holy Spirit so fill me today that I brim over with hope.

Old Testament

1 Chronicles 11:1-12:22

David Becomes King Over Israel

11All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler. ’”

3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had promised through Samuel.

David Conquers Jerusalem

4 David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there 5 said to David, “You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.

6 David had said, “Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief.” Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, and so he received the command.

7 David then took up residence in the fortress, and so it was called the City of David. 8 He built up the city around it, from the terraces to the surrounding wall, while Joab restored the rest of the city. 9 And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him.

David’s Mighty Warriors

10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised — 11 this is the list of David’s mighty warriors:

Jashobeam, a Hakmonite, was chief of the officers; he raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.

12 Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite, one of the three mighty warriors. 13 He was with David at Pas Dammim when the Philistines gathered there for battle. At a place where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines. 14 But they took their stand in the middle of the field. They defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.

15 Three of the thirty chiefs came down to David to the rock at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 16 At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 17 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out to the Lord. 19 “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it.

Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.

20 Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. 21 He was doubly honored above the Three and became their commander, even though he was not included among them.

22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 23 And he struck down an Egyptian who was five cubits tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 24 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. 25 He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

26 The mighty warriors were: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem, 27 Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite, 28 Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa, Abiezer from Anathoth, 29 Sibbekai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite, 30 Maharai the Netophathite, Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite, 31 Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite, 32 Hurai from the ravines of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite, 33 Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, 34 the sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite, 35 Ahiam son of Sakar the Hararite, Eliphal son of Ur, 36 Hepher the Mekerathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, 37 Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai son of Ezbai, 38 Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar son of Hagri, 39 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah, 40 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 41 Uriah the Hittite, Zabad son of Ahlai, 42 Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite, who was chief of the Reubenites, and the thirty with him, 43 Hanan son of Maakah, Joshaphat the Mithnite, 44 Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite, 45 Jediael son of Shimri, his brother Joha the Tizite, 46 Eliel the Mahavite, Jeribai and Joshaviah the sons of Elnaam, Ithmah the Moabite, 47 Eliel, Obed and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.

Warriors Join David

12These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle; 2 they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin):

3 Ahiezer their chief and Joash the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; Jeziel and Pelet the sons of Azmaveth; Berakah, Jehu the Anathothite, 4 and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty warrior among the Thirty, who was a leader of the Thirty; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad the Gederathite, 5 Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah and Shephatiah the Haruphite; 6 Elkanah, Ishiah, Azarel, Joezer and Jashobeam the Korahites; 7 and Joelah and Zebadiah the sons of Jeroham from Gedor.

8 Some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold in the wilderness. They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains. 9 Ezer was the chief, Obadiah the second in command, Eliab the third, 10 Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth, 11 Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh, 12 Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth, 13 Jeremiah the tenth and Makbannai the eleventh.

14 These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand. 15 It was they who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks, and they put to flight everyone living in the valleys, to the east and to the west.

16 Other Benjamites and some men from Judah also came to David in his stronghold. 17 David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in peace to help me, I am ready for you to join me. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our ancestors see it and judge you.”

18 Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said:

    “We are yours, David!
        We are with you, son of Jesse!
    Success, success to you,
        and success to those who help you,
            for your God will help you.”

So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.

19 Some of the tribe of Manasseh defected to David when he went with the Philistines to fight against Saul. (He and his men did not help the Philistines because, after consultation, their rulers sent him away. They said, “It will cost us our heads if he deserts to his master Saul.”) 20 When David went to Ziklag, these were the men of Manasseh who defected to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu and Zillethai, leaders of units of a thousand in Manasseh. 21 They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army. 22 Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God.

Commentary

Put your hope in the coming of the King

Our hope is in Jesus, the King, who will one day return and establish his kingdom forever. As we read of the kings of the Old Testament, it is important to remember that they, even at their very best, only faintly foreshadowed the ultimate king, Jesus.

In the chronicler’s eyes, David was the ideal king: ‘You were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler”’ (11:2). They ‘anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had promised through Samuel’ (v.3). ‘David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him’ (v.9).

David did not do it all on his own. He needed a team around him. He had a group of thirty Mighty Men, which included the Big Three. I am so grateful for the mighty men and women who support and encourage Pippa and me as we try to lead. We could not begin to do what we do without an amazing team around us.

Amasai, chief of the thirty, ‘moved by God’s Spirit’ said to David, ‘We’re on your side… We’re committed… all’s well with whoever helps you’ (12:18–22, MSG). This must have been a huge encouragement to David.

In these scriptures, we see a direct equation of the Kingdom of Israel with the kingdom of God (see 1 Chronicles 28:5; 1 Chronicles 29:23; 2 Chronicles 13:8). There was no question about the continuity of kingship because it was guarded by God.

Yet, when the chronicler was writing this (hundreds of years later) there was no king. He wrote about the past in the hope that in the future a king like David would arise. This was the hope of Israel – a coming king. Jesus was that king. He was ‘the anointed one’, the ‘Messiah’ (Psalm 89:51).

Now our hope is in the return of Jesus. As Bishop Lesslie Newbigin put it, ‘The horizon for the Christian is “He shall come again” and “we look for the coming of the Lord.” It can be tomorrow or any time, but that’s the horizon. That horizon is for me fundamental, and that’s what makes it possible to be hopeful and therefore to find life meaningful.’

Prayer

Father, thank you that all the hopes of Israel were fulfilled when Jesus, the anointed king, came. Thank you that we can now look forward to his coming again.

‘Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen’ (v.52).

Pippa adds

1 Chronicles 11:10–25

I have mighty men (and women) in my family. They are taking on the giants of injustice. They are also useful for carrying suitcases!

Verse of the Day

Romans 15:13

‘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’
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References

The One Year® is a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission.

Bishop Lesslie Newbigin excerpt from, Andrew Walker, Different Gospels: Christian Orthodoxy and Modern Theologies (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1993)

G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Coming of God: *The Emanuel Ajahi Dahunsi Memorial New Testament Lectures 1981 **(***Wipf and Stock, 2007), p.7.

Erwin McManus, Soul Cravings (Thomas Nelson, 2008) p.2.

Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in Christ (Liturgical Press, 2002) p.81.

Corrie ten Boom, Clippings from my Notebook (Triangle, 1983).

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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