Proverbs 11:7-9 (Hope)

 7 Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
   all the promise of[a]their power comes to nothing.

 8 The righteous person is rescued from trouble,
   and it falls on the wicked instead.

 9 With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors,
   but through knowledge the righteous escape.

Hope

I grew up with more of a natural inclination to optimism.  I have allowed myself to become more pessimistic in recent years.  So how should I go about gaining hope?  Frequently we rely on another human to save us.  We can unhealthily expect them to bring all the things that we lack.  In this case, “Hope is the first step on th road to disappointment.”  True hope is found ‘in nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.’  This is not a hope in a mortal who will die, it is hope placed in an eternal being who never dies.  God can then turn wickedness on the head of the wicked and rescue the righteous.  Even when godly people are slandered, they can hope in God for justice.

However, as we mature God sometimes takes us through dark valleys where hope is harder to hold on to.  That is why the whole hymn, which was mentioned above, is so helpful:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Refrain

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

Refrain

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

Refrain

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Refrain

Questions

  1. In what is it foolish to hope?
  2. How do righteous hope for escape?
  3. Are these verses promises that no harm will befall the righteous?  What use are they?
  4. Do you have hopes that someone will do good for you, your employer, your church, or your nation?
  5. How do hopes in people or systems obscure God in today’s world (for example in Egypt, Myanmar, or Syria)?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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