Hope?

Someone asked me, “Do you have any hope for us?”  She knew I was blogging about the Bible and we had been talking about the recent spate of terrorist attacks.  World attention has been focused on the tragedy in France, but Boko Haram has slaughtered more than 10 times as many in Nigeria.  And, from all reports, there is more to come.  Does the Bible have any hope for us?

3000 years ago, King David poured out his heart in a Psalm:

“O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” (Psalm 7:1-2)

David’s prayer was not merely for his own situation:

“Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high;” (Psalm 7:6-7)

The problem with all of human attempts to put down wickedness thus far, both diplomatic and military, is that we humans are imperfect.  Justice is relative for us.  We make decisions based on expediency. We play favorites.  Those imperfect decisions each breed more discontent and violence.  There will be no solution for terrorism without perfect justice.  But God has promised to establish His justice and rule the whole world “from on high.”

The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the One Who would bring this about:

” A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:1-4)

This prophecy about the coming Messiah, Jesus, is but one small sparkling drop of the hope the Bible has for us.  It would be mere wishful thinking if it were not for the fact that Jesus did come and fulfill the prophecies regarding His initial coming.  Even the one about His crucifixion and resurrection (see Isaiah 53).  Think about how unlikely it would be for any itinerant peasant in a tiny, conquered country, to be known and revered around the world, 2000 years later.  This, too, was foretold by the prophets.  And they also foretold His return to reign in justice.

When human strategies against wickedness fail, you need a Ruler from on high, Who plays no favorites, Who is not limited by mere appearances, but Who reigns with absolute, perfect justice.  Jesus is coming again.

So, like David, we pray, calling out to God for hope in a world filled with wickedness.  We say,

“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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