A Quick Bible Study, Vol. 165: What the Hebrew Bible Says About Hope

A Quick Bible Study, Vol. 165: What the Hebrew Bible Says About Hope

Thanks for joining us for a study about hope. After reading this lesson, I hope you will be more uplifted at the end. The entire Bible has numerous inspiring verses about the concept of hope. However, today, we focus on Hebrew Bible/Old Testament passages and, next week, the New Testament.

We begin with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of the word “hope” — both a verb and a noun.

First, the verb: “to cherish a desire with anticipationto want something to happen or be true” and “to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment.” Example: “I hope she remembers.”

The noun: “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment” and “someone or something on which hopes are centered.” Example: “Our only hope for victory.”

Now, let’s jump from English to philosophy class. Perhaps you are familiar with the classic international bestselling book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, M.D.

Written in 1946, Dr. Frankl wrote about his Nazi death camp experiences. Decades later, “In a 1991 survey conducted for the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, Man’s Search for Meaning was named one of the ten most influential books in the U.S.”

In a discussion about the book, here is a quote from a 2015 Psychiatric News article, “The Importance of Hope: How Cultivating Hope Can Enhance Psychiatry”:

[Dr. Frankl] “describes how holding onto hope was literally a life-or-death choice. Those who lost hope, he said, developed a certain look in their eye, a fatalism that inevitably ended in death. They experienced an ‘existential vacuum’ — his term for a complete loss of meaning, a loss of hope, a sense that nothing really mattered anymore.”

Have you ever felt that way? To some degree, I have during a dark time in my life. However, trying to rely on my faith, hope, and trust in the Lord, I was able to forge a path and move ahead.

During that challenging time, 30 years ago, I attended a brunch with a group of Christians in the media. There, a participant quoted from Jeremiah:

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Although I attended a weekly Bible study during those years, I was still a beginner with The Word. Upon hearing that famous Jeremiah verse for the first time, I KNEW God was speaking to me with His message about “plans,” “hope, and a future.” That verse was a life raft.

Amazingly, I only remembered that mid-1990s brunch after I started writing the Jeremiah verse for this study. Then boom! It all came back to where and when I first heard it. (Another example proving that God is my “co-writer.”)

And that leads me to believe today, perhaps someone in Townhall-Land is struggling and seeing Jeremiah 29:11 for the first time. I hope that reader KNOWS God is speaking to them out of love.

Or, if readers are already familiar with the verse but need to be reminded of God’s plan to give you hope and a future as you suffer through a difficult time — know that He is with you — and one day, you will understand why.

Furthermore, Mother’s Day is usually a joyous day of love and appreciation, but it can also spark painful memories or inconsolable loss. Whatever the reason(s), God put “hope” on my heart to share with you today; Jeremiah’s verse is powerful faith in action.

Now let’s review more Hebrew Bible “hope” verses that hopefully will give your life some meaning — if you seek meaning. Or, in general, to be reminded that hope originates from the Lord.

God speaks through Isaiah in this magnificent passage:

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40: 28-31).

The Book of Lamentations is thought to have been written by Jeremiah. This passage summarizes how we sometimes feel. I call it “ping-pong thinking”:

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’” (Lamentations 3:19-24).

Many Psalms are hope-filled. Here are a few highlights:

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7).

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word” (Psalm 119-114).

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

“Your word” and “his word” refers to the ancient Hebrew Scriptures written before David’s time. But you knew that.

Here is one more Psalm reinforcing an all-important truth:

“…the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11).

Finally, there is Job. His incalculable suffering stemmed from a “bet” between God and the Devil to determine if Job would remain faithful to the Lord through extreme adversity. (See Vol. 110.) Quick answer, “Yes, he did.” Job’s hope in God never wavered while Job sought vindication from God:

“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face” (Job 13:15).

The story of Job teaches us about hope in the most dire situations. And, as we learned from Dr. Victor Frankel‘s book, “holding onto hope was literally a life-or-death choice” in Nazi death camps.

Join us next week to review what the New Testament says about hope and confirm:

“.. the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus:1:2). Amen to that!

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. “Part 2,” with the same title, reprints Vols. 57-113. Order it here.   

Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org and the National Shroud of Turin Exhibit. Both are educational donorsupported ministries dedicated to building a permanent Shroud of Turin exhibit in Washington, D.C. See Shroud exhibit news and visit the life-sized Shroud replica in D.C. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com

Cross-posted at Townhall and Substack.

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign's creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign's ad council. Writing credits include, National Review, Washington Examiner, World Net Daily, Breitbart and many others. Contact Myra at MyraAdams01@gmail.com


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