Like I said in the past post, hope and hard circumstances go hand in hand. Hope is a huge theme in the Bible because of the fall. Our human father and mother, Adam and Eve wanted to be on equal footing with God and sinned first. Their choice brought sin into the world. It broke the relationship between God and man and marred what humans were originally created to do: worship God and display His image to the world. As you can see the world was completely broken and everyone needed hope that things would get better.
We serve a wonderful God who acts and takes responsibility even when we’re the ones who messed up His good world. In short: God had a plan.
God made a covenant (a binding promise) with His people Israel, that he would do a special work in them as a people. He promised Abraham (read more about the promise here) that he would have many descendants. God also promised that one of Abraham’s descendants would be a King who would free and lovingly rule not only Israel, but the whole world! You can track Abraham’s line throughout the Bible and at the end of it is Jesus (in fact, Matthew does it here)! He also promised that Jesus restore our relationship with God by taking care of sin and that He would show us who God is by perfectly embodying his likeness and character.
Jesus is the promised one, the King; he is the hope of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Sometimes it can be difficult to see, but Old Testament stories and prophecies point to him.
Here are a few of my favorites. I can’t possibly include them all here. Stick with me. I know it’s a bit of reading, but the promises are beautiful!
This passage from Isaiah talks about who Jesus is and that he was from David’s line. David’s line is the same as Abraham’s:
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
This passage prophesies where Jesus would be born and more of his promises:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clansof Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
Jesus is the speaker here and he outlines some beautiful promises of what he came to do:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
6 but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.
8 For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.
That is beautiful hope for the whole world!