Jeremiah 48:1-49:22; 2 Timothy 4:1-22; Psalm 95:1-96:13; Proverbs 26:9-12
Holding on in Hope
If there was an Old Testament writer who saw things at their very best, it was Solomon. Nonetheless, he knew how upside-down life is this side of the Fall: fools pass off “wisdom” that should be marked “DANGER – FLAMMABLE!” (Prov. 26:9). Jeremiah saw things at their very Old-Testament-worst when, in exile for her sin, Israel came to know what it was to be a laughingstock among the nations (Jer. 48:16). At the end of an amazing career of launching the gospel in Europe, Paul writes his last words in prison (again!) for the Gospel. He tastes as much emotional pain from friends who have deserted him (2 Tim. 4:16) as he does antagonism from the “lions” who seek to destroy him (4:17).
How do you not lose hope? You remember that God has always shown patience that outlasts His anger. Psalm 95 calls on Israel to let the years of rebellion stay in the past (v. 8-11) and live joyfully in the presence of His shepherding care. You remember that God is always working a plan that will see perfect equilibrium established (Ps. 96:10), through the coming of that psalm’s promised King (v. 10,13). You recall that God promises that one day He will both restore faithless Israel and also heal the prideful nations through whom He has judged His people (Jer. 48:47; 49:2,6). Finally, you recall that Paul held out for himself – and for all who “long for Christ’s appearing” – the hope for “the crown of righteousness” from the Righteous Judge (2 Tim. 4:8). There is always cause to keep holding on in hope!
The Cathedral Church of St. Luke