Tony Bohrer: Stay hopeful in God
March 13, 2014
"Got Milk?" is an advertising campaign encouraging the consumption of cow’s milk, which was created by the advertising agency Good by Silverstein & Partners for use by milk processors and dairy farmers. It has been running since October 1993, is running internationally and has been credited with greatly increasing milk sales in North America after a 20-year slump. The ads typically feature people in various situations involving dry or sticky foods and treats such as peanut butter. The person then finds himself in an uncomfortable situation because of a full mouth and no milk with which to wash it down. At the end of the commercial, the person would look sadly to the camera, and boldly displayed would be the words, “Got Milk?”
Today, I want to boldly ask you a question: "Got hope?" I have been captured this week by the word "hope" in Scripture and by another word that so often accompanies "hope" — the word "wait." This won't be much of a sermon, I'm afraid, but I hope it is a message just for you.
Hope in Scripture means "favorable and confident expectation." When it is used as a verb, it often is accompanied by two prepositions: We are exhorted to put our hope "in" a person (God) and to rest our hope "on" a certain solid ground (God's promise). And one of the Hebrew words for "hope" literally means "something waited for."
Psalms 39:7 (KJV) And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.
Psalms 119:81 (KJV) My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
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Psalms 130:5 (KJV) I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
Psalms 71:14 (KJV) But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
Proverbs 13:12 (KJV) Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Perhaps the best example of this kind of Hope in scripture is Abraham, who had a promise so big that it was staggering. But he had such a faith and trust in God that he didn't waver, even when the precess looked like it was moving in reverse.
Romans 4:17-21 (KJV) 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations), before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18: Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. 19: And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb 20: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21: And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
If you have the audacity to ask God, he has the ability to perform it. There is no reason we ever should think you are going to put God in a corner because of what you asked. My God is a big God!
Despite Abraham’s failures and sins, God kept his promise, and Isaac was born. Many of God’s promises do not depend on our character (which can waver) but on his faithfulness (which cannot).
God not only gave Abraham a promise, but he also confirmed that promise with an oath.
(Genesis 22:15-18) When a witness takes an oath in court, he says the words “so help me God.” We call on the greater to witness for the lesser. None is greater than God, so he swore by himself. His promise and his oath are both immutable.
God said to Abraham, "I swear I'm going to bless you." Why did he swear? To make a covenant that he was telling the truth.
Sometimes, it will look like I'm a liar.
Sometimes, it will look like serving me doesn't work.
Sometimes, things will get worse before they get better.
Sometimes, it will look like you're going backward instead of forward.
Sometimes, it will look like I'm trying to kill you instead of bless you.
But I swear I’m going to bless you.
You cannot get the promise unless you go through the process! David, Joseph, etc. … I swear I'm going to bless you.
Sometimes, we have to understand the situation we are fighting is preparing us only for the promise. Don't let your faith waver because of the process. Along with God, I swear the promise is worth the process.
Pastor Tony Bohrer is the pastor at Lighthouse Church.