Read Romans 4
Focus on verse 18
Hope is an interesting commodity. As long as a person has hope, they continue to strive and very often thrive, but when hope is lost…it becomes difficult to find a reason to continue living.
It may be helpful to differentiate between the kind of hope one has when they hope they get a new iPad for Christmas, and then there is the kind of hope one has when they hope their cancer treatment will be successful. It would seem to me that while both of these scenarios might qualify as “hope”, they are hardly on the same level of hope. In today’s reading Paul recounts how Abraham hoped against hope that he would be a father as God had promised. By this time he was nearly a hundred years old, and his wife Sarah was in her nineties. Both were well past the childbearing years, and on top of this Sarah had been barren all her life. Yet Abraham continued to believe that God would fulfill the promise He had made to give Abraham a son through Sarah.
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” (v. 18)
Miraculously, God does bring that event about when Isaac is born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. At this point hope becomes reality. This is a wonderful thing to experience, when something we have been hoping for comes into being, and the more unlikely it is to come about, the more amazing and miraculous it is when it does happen.
The scriptures are filled with illustrations of people who lived on hope. For over four hundred years, the nation of Israel hoped to see God send them the Messiah the prophets had foretold of. Ironically, when that Messiah arrived, many in Israel did not recognize Him and therefore rejected Him.
Those of us who believe that Jesus is our Messiah, continue to hope in His promise that He will return to judge the nations and rule the world for a thousand years.
Our hope is built on nothing less,
than Jesus blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly lean on Jesus Name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
(William B. Bradbury)