The Beginning of Hope
Before we take a more in-depth look at some of the richly loaded New Testament scriptures about hope, it is necessary to find the beginning of hope in the Old Testament, in order to show that this is a continual theme from the very beginning of the Bible.
When God made Adam and Eve in Genesis, they were without sin, in a world without a curse, without death, sickness, suffering, frustration, injustice. Even the average person grieves over this loss whether or not they are a believer. When our first parents sinned (and by doing so, brought sin upon all of Creation), they were not left without hope. With original sin comes the original promise – the original prototype of all human hope.
In Genesis 3 God cursed the world He had made with a wholistic curse. From then on everything was going to be hard. People would suffer and die, and apart from God’s intervention, they would die as stained people eternally cut off from their Creator.
When it seemed that the world was a lost cause, comes the first hope-bearing promise of God, which is the basis of all he promises from that time forward.
Genesis 3:15 “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Here, God addresses the Serpent, who deceived Adam and Eve, generally accepted to be Satan. The promise is that though Satan will dominate many, his “victories” will seem like a bruise on the heel in comparison to a death blow to the head. God declares from the beginning that he will act in history to destroy the work done that day, that he would redeem his fallen people.
When all hope was lost, God entered the picture and provided it. This is vital to remember because when you or I place our hope in anything other than the sure promises of God, we will be disappointed.
This is the hope that sustained Job even as he suffered in incomprehensible ways: Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, I will hope in him”.
This is the hope that sustained outnumbered armies in battle again their enemies:
Psalm 33:16-19 “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.”
This is the hope that fights depression and despair:
Psalm 42:5-6a “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
This is the hope that sustained a nation in captivity, under oppression, and the weight of their own sin:
Jeremiah 14:21-22 “Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonour your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us. Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.”
It is the hope that was promised to all peoples of the world centuries before even Jesus’ own disciples understood it:
Isaiah 11:10 “ In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.”
There are dozens of examples of the hope of redemption that is based on the promises of God made to His people. Though their understanding may have been more general before the coming of the Messiah, from the very first sin forward, God’s true people have always looked with certainty on the promises of God, and this certain hope was the basis of their existence before Him.