HOPE

I confess.

Of all the weeks of The 40-Day Bible Reading Challenge during Lent this proved the most difficult to me. When reading Lamentations felt like a breath of fresh air, I knew I was in trouble. [Tweet this]

To put it in running terms, I felt like I hit the wall—that moment when you’re weary, tired, and don’t think you can take another step. This week’s reading included Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (along with Lamentations)—all of which are long, thick, dense books packed with mysterious prophetic imagery and references.

If Leviticus and Numbers felt like plodding, Jeremiah and Ezekiel felt like slogging. Heavy. Cumbersome. Tedious.

Yet I kept catching glimpses of God’s heart.

God’s passion for holiness.

God’s unending love.

God’s fervent call to come back to Him.

The word that caught my attention again and again was the word HOPE. And the command: The only thing to hang our hope hat on is God. [Tweet this]

Isaiah 19 declares, “Everyone who has put hope in Ethiopia and expected help from Egypt will be thrown into confusion…… And we thought they were our best hope, that they’d rescue us from the king of Assyria. Now what’s going to happen to us? How are we going to get out of this?’”

The prophets expose that when we put our hope in anything other than God we are not only lost, we are losing our minds. [Tweet this] Nations nor armies nor idols will save us.

Isaiah 44:20 offers a particularly sharp-tongued examination of what it looks like when we place our trust in idols (aka anything other than God).

“This lover of emptiness, of nothing, is so out of touch with reality, so far gone, that he can’t even look at what he’s doing, can’t even look at the no-god stick of wood in his hand and say, “This is crazy.”

The irony is that God uses crazy displays to expose our craziness. The prophets call us back to God using wild displays including smashing clay pots (Jeremiah 19), baskets of figs (Jeremiah 24), and even the carrying of a duffel bag (Ezekiel 12). In the midst of these colorful and strange acts, the prophets echo the loving call of God:

WONDERSTRUCK

“Come back to me, come back. I’ve redeemed you.” —Isaiah 44:22 [Tweet this]

“I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.” —Isaiah 41:13 [Tweet this]

“And I’ll give them a heart to know me, God. They’ll be my people and I’ll be their God.” —Jeremiah 24:7 [Tweet this]

“I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life.” Ezekiel 37:5 [Tweet this]

This week’s reading raised the question, “What am I putting my hope in other than God?”

If I’m honest, the answer is—a lot!

I put my hope in people, possessions, systems, authority figures, and much more.

My prayer through this week’s reading: Lord, expose all the things I put my hope in other than you. Forgive me. Let all my hope reside in You. Amen.

What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you as you’ve read the Bible this week?