READING: Psalm 119:1-5, 43-49, 73-74, 81-84, 113-116, 145-148
It seems appropriate this winter to study some from the OT since these ideas would have found their deepest cultural meanings in the Hebrew language of the story of the Jewish people.
Their seldom-used words for “hope” came from the consonantal root “Q-V-H” which also was used of twisted rope or line. (In many cases, the root was altered slightly to form a verb, noun, and a restricting adjective/adverb, just as the English word “hope” is used.)
So, what do “hope” and “rope” have in common? Both have the idea of sustained tension waiting for something to SNAP! This had little to do with the uncertainty associated with our English word for “hope,” as in, “I hope the Broncos win this Sunday.” This had a certainty of the eventual outcome, while uncertainty in timing of the experience. In other words, the idea of “hope” without certainty was nonsense to their understanding. It was just a matter of time until God would fulfill the promised arrival of the Messiah.
What does that mean to you? As you imagine relating to the “hope” of Joseph and Mary during the first Advent, think more of their confidence that God was finally bringing to fruition the arrival of the Messiah in the person of their Son Jesus. While he never ascended the throne of David during his lifetime, they trusted God was making true the promise of his one, true King. Receive certainty from them, and remain HOPEFUL of his Second Advent!
Mark Hill, pastor