Hopes of our Heart
Scripture Reading For The Day: Jeremiah 33:1-16
Joy and sadness, beauty and pain, longing and satisfaction, hard but good; in life these seemingly opposed realities can mingle together and coexist in a way that can be difficult to describe. What holds a heart steadfast in the midst of these realities? What truly satisfies desires for peace and comfort, especially when things in life seem to be falling apart? It seems that especially in the hard and difficult seasons of life, the hopes of the heart are clearly exposed. The question it always comes down to for me: is Jesus enough?
Today, as we engage this season of advent, I would like to consider: what does it mean to hope? According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, hope is, “to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone.”
In this particular passage, we come to read that the cities of God’s people are described as desolate, deserted, and uninhabited (vs 10, 12). In essence, they are void of life. This was also the spiritual reality of God’s wayward people. What brought them to this place? They were unfaithful in their heart’s affections and put their hope in created things instead of their Creator God. They rebelled against God and His ways. He never failed them, nor did He break the covenant He made with them: to be their God and make them His people. But the Israelites repeatedly rejected God for the idols of their hearts. The prophet Jeremiah pleads with God’s people over 100 times to repent and turn back to God as their sin was destroying their lives.
In the beginning of chapter 33, the word of the Lord came to the despairing prophet Jeremiah and the Lord said; “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known (Jeremiah 33:3).” Here the Lord wants to speak true hope and comfort of great and hidden things he has not known. What does the Lord speak, what is the source of hope and comfort in the midst of such a bleak, dark and desperate time?
The Lord says (vs.6-9):
- I will heal them
- I will reveal to them the abundance of prosperity and security
- I will restore their fortunes
- I will rebuild them as they were at first
- I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me
- I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me
Our God is a covenant keeping God, a God who keeps His promises! He is a God of restoration, redemption and hope. Despite the sin in our hearts and the sin in our world, God is faithful and will fulfill all that He has promised. This is real comfort and real hope to a wayward longing heart, and he fulfills His promises through Jesus! God has made a way to restore relationship with His people through His son Jesus, the one who takes away the sins of the world.
I love how the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones portrays this reality in a story based on the prophecies in Isaiah called, “Operation No More Tears.” She paraphrases the prophecies as a letter from God. Here is a portion of that letter:
“Dear little Flock,
You’re all wandering away from me, like sheep in an open field. You have always been running away from me. And now you’re lost. You can’t find your way back. I can’t stop loving you. I will come find you. So I am sending you a shepherd to look after you and love you. To carry you home to me. You’ve been stumbling around, like people in a dark room. But into darkness, a bright light will shine! It will chase away all the shadows, like sunshine...
Yes someone is going to come rescue you! But he won’t be who anyone expects. He will be a King! But he won’t live in a palace. And he won’t have lots of money. He will be poor. And He will be a servant. But this King will heal the whole world…
It’s the Secret Rescue Plan we made- from the beginning of the world!
And one day, when he comes back to rule forever, the mountains and trees will dance and sing for joy! The earth will shout out loud! His fame will fill the whole earth- as the waters cover the sea! Everything sad will come untrue. Even death is going to die! And he will wipe away every tear from every eye.
Yes, the Rescuer will come. Look for him. Watch for him. He will come! I promise.
The amazing truth is, we as God’s people know the end of the story. We have a God that, in spite of our sin and rebellion against Him, made a way for us to be restored to Him. Jesus is our Righteous Rescuer, our perfect King and Priest. He is coming back again to once and for all, “do what is right and just in the land (vs 15).” In those days, God’s people will be saved and live in safety. His name becomes our name, The LORD our Righteousness.
Yes, Jesus will come! Look for, watch for, hope in Him. He will come, and that is a promise! This is the heartbeat of advent.
What do your hopes reveal about where your heart is today? In the midst the season you are in, what is speaking to the fears, concerns, pain, and desires that you have? Will you let the promises of who Jesus is and what He has done and will do be enough?