God with Us – Our Hope
Key Text: Isaiah 35:1-10
There is a relationship between joy and hope, when you have hope there is a joy in us. Biblical definition of hope is the joyful anticipation of good, joy before you get what you are praying for. Biblical hope is measured in a joy that is expressed before there is anything to rejoice for.
This is not wishful thinking that is based on nothing but is based on the character and nature of God, who He is and the prevailing word of God over our lives. And because of His devotion to us and His unchanging nature, even when we are uncertain about what is happening we can still live with hope because we know that nothing we are facing caught Him off guard.
What is the hope in your life?
For some, hope is the first candle to be lit when the power goes out in the storm. Hope is the first day you wake up and can breathe again after really bad cold. Hope is that percentage you do have of beating the cancer. Hope is the faint line on that stick, when you’ve been struggling to get pregnant. It’s the first ray of sunshine through your window after a tearful, difficult night. Hope is hearing the words, “They’re going to be OK.” Hope is the flicker of maybe, just maybe. Hope is the fuel of faith and dreams.
Advent is actually a season of hope. The word advent means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival,’ and the season is marked by expectation, waiting, anticipation, and longing. Advent is not just an extension of Christmas, it is a season that links the past, present and future.
Advent affords us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, to celebrate His birth and to be watchful for His second coming. Advent looks back in celebration at the hope fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s coming, while at the same time looking forward in hopeful and eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when He returns for His people. During Advent we wait for both it’s an active, assured, and hopeful
In a season often marked by frenzied busyness, Advent is an opportunity to set aside time to prepare our hearts and help us place our focus on a far greater story than our own ,the story of God’s redeeming love for our world. It’s not a season of pretending or covering over. It’s a season of digging deep into the reality of what it means that God sent His Son into the world to be Immanuel, God with Us.
It is a season of expectation and preparation, an opportunity to align ourselves with God’s presence more than just looking for presents.
Advent is not a celebration that God comes to fix things from broken computers, broken families or broken and hurting lives. Rather simply, Advent is a celebration that God comes. God comes to be with us. He is the God with Us. In the darkness, in the pain, in the chaos, He comes and He makes a way. That’s the way God has worked throughout history.
Since the fall of man and the entry of sin into our world, God has been working toward our restoration, healing and wholeness? This is the overall theme of the Bible, God’s word to us. Throughout it, we see God making a way and giving and reminding His people of hope that He is still at work.
We could say that Isaiah is the poster prophet for Advent, this season of longing, expectation and hoping for God to be with us. Through Isaiah, God gave Israel and us many prophecies and promises about the Messiah He would send. And it is in this way, Isaiah was a voice of hope.
Isaiah lived seven hundred years before Jesus, but he gave us words that ring with hope for the coming Messiah. Listen to some of these: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel’Isaiah 7:14
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali but in the latter time He has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 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. Isaiah 9:1–2
A little later in the same chapter, Isaiah wrote:
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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 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. Isaiah 9:6-7
Did Isaiah understand all of these messages and promises? probably not. He certainly didn’t know God’s time line for when it all would happen and when the Messiah would come.
Perhaps Isaiah thought it would be in his lifetime, or maybe he was wise enough to know that God’s work stretched for generations and generations. But Isaiah was filled with hope and God’s promises fuelled him and his people to continue to hope. His vision of God with Us still fuels hope inside of us millennia later.
No matter what kind of problems and struggles we are facing right now, no matter what kind of season of darkness and pain we are in, do not to abandon hope.
Hope based on God’s Word. Part of God with Us is the written word that He has left us. These are His promises to His people both long ago and today.
They are a piece of Him. They are beacons of hope. They are reminders that can penetrate our hearts and spirits and assure us that no matter what we are facing, no matter how bleak tomorrow looks, no matter how bad the pain, God will never leave us or forsake us. And nothing can separate us from Him.
Consider these words from Psalm 139: Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:7–12
Can you feel the hope in those words? we are not alone. God with Us means that He always will be with us and nothing, nothing can take that away .
Hope is still alive, even in our deepest pain and most hopeless circumstances. Hope is alive because God is with us.