2024DLJ

The Power of Hope

Danger seems to lurk around every corner. Whether it be the recent increase in crime or the political ‘doom and gloom’ we hear on TV news, we are encouraged to live a life of fear. If we allow ourselves to be afraid, we will see a revolution in the face of every stranger. Life teaches us that life is rarely as dangerous as we expect, especially when we learn to have hope.

Here we are at the end of the second week of Great Lent and the Church focuses our attention on hope. In the face of being conquered by foreigners, God promised hope to His people. “Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint.”

In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it.  When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. And the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go forth to meet Ahaz, you and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, and say to him, ‘Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah.  Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying,  “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord GOD: It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass.  For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. (Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken to pieces so that it will no longer be a people.)  And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.'” Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,  “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”  But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”  And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7.1-14

The true hope God offers us today isn’t political protection. He gives us hope that evil itself will be defeated. During Great Lent our attention is preparing to encounter Christ as our Savior at Pascha. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive.”

Her son is our Savior. He will defeat our real enemy. Cities will rise and fall. Nations will war against each other. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth,” but the Lord will come and rescue us.

After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose.  Then the LORD said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.”  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.  The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 5:32-6:8

It may seem like God is angry at us in today’s reading from Genesis. His decision to blot out man isn’t to punish us. It is to save us from ourselves. Just as He removed us from the Garden for our salvation, God is always working to save us from ourselves.

Hope changes the way we understand today’s readings. If God had not decided to blot out man from the earth through the flood, all would be lost. He needed to preserve a righteous lineage from the Virgin’s Son. That is what gives us hope for salvation.

God is always working on our salvation. The power of hope is how we learn to understand His work.


1 Comment

  1. Theresa Morgan on March 29, 2024 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for these daily inspirations and reminders of what we journey toward, Theosis.

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