Hope in Jehovah, and Be Courageous

Hope in Jehovah, and Be Courageous

 Hope in Jehovah, and Be Courageous

“Hope in Jehovah; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Yes, hope in Jehovah.”​—PSALM 27:14.

1. How important is hope, and how is the term used in the Scriptures?

GENUINE hope is like a bright light. It helps us to see beyond present trials and to face the future with courage and joy. Only Jehovah can give us a sure hope, which he does by means of his inspired Word. (2 Timothy 3:16) In fact, the words “hope,” “hoped,” and “hoping” appear over 160 times in the Bible and refer both to the eager and sure expectation of something good and to the object of that expectation. * Such hope is superior to a mere wish, which may have no foundation or prospect of fulfillment.

2. What role did hope play in Jesus’ life?

2 When faced with trials and hardships, Jesus looked beyond the present and hoped in Jehovah. “For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Because he was keenly focused on the prospect of vindicating Jehovah’s sovereignty and sanctifying His name, Jesus never deviated from his course of obedience to God, no matter what it cost him.

3. What role does hope play in the life of servants of God?

3 King David points to the connection between hope and courage, saying: “Hope in Jehovah; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Yes, hope in Jehovah.” (Psalm 27:14) If we want our heart to be strong, we must never let our hope become vague but always keep it clearly in mind and close at heart. Doing so will help us to imitate Jesus in manifesting courage and zeal as we share in the work he commissioned his disciples to do. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) Indeed, hope is placed alongside faith and love as a vital, enduring quality that characterizes the life of servants of God.​—1 Corinthians 13:13.

Do You “Abound in Hope”?

4. To what do anointed Christians and their “other sheep” companions earnestly look forward?

4 God’s people have a wonderful future before them. Anointed Christians eagerly await serving with Christ in heaven, while the “other sheep” hope to “be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the [earthly] children of God.” (John 10:16; Romans 8:19-21; Philippians 3:20) That “glorious freedom” includes deliverance from sin and its horrible consequences. Indeed, Jehovah​—the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect present”—​would extend nothing less to his loyal ones.​—James 1:17; Isaiah 25:8.

5. How do we come to “abound in hope”?

5 How large a part should Christian hope play in our life? At Romans 15:13, we read: “May the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your believing, that you may abound in hope with power of holy spirit.” Yes, hope can be likened, not to a candle in the darkness, but to the brilliant rays of the morning sun, filling one’s life with peace, happiness, purpose, and courage. Note that we “abound in hope” when we believe God’s written Word and receive his holy spirit. Says Romans 15:4: “All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” So ask yourself: ‘Do I keep my hope bright by being a good student of the Bible, reading it daily? Do I pray often for God’s spirit?’​—Luke 11:13.

6. To keep our hope bright, what must we guard against?

6 Jesus, our Exemplar, thrived on God’s Word. By considering him closely, we avoid ‘getting tired and giving out in our souls.’ (Hebrews 12:3) It stands to reason that if our God-given hope grows dim in our mind and heart or if our focus shifts elsewhere​—perhaps to material things or to secular goals—​spiritual weariness may soon overtake us, eventually leading to loss of moral strength and courage. In that frame of mind, we may even experience “shipwreck concerning [our] faith.” (1 Timothy 1:19) On the other hand, true hope strengthens our faith.

Hope​—Essential to Faith

7. In what way is hope essential to faith?

7 “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld,” says the Bible. (Hebrews 11:1) Therefore, hope is not just incidental to faith; it is an essential element of faith. Consider Abraham. From a human standpoint, he and his wife, Sarah, were past childbearing age when Jehovah promised them an heir. (Genesis 17:15-17) How did Abraham respond? “Although beyond hope, yet based on hope he had faith, that he might become the father of many nations.” (Romans 4:18) Yes, Abraham’s God-given hope gave his faith that he would have offspring a firm foundation. His faith, in turn, brightened and strengthened his hope. Why, Abraham and Sarah even had the courage to leave their home and their relatives and live the rest of their lives in tents in a foreign land!

8. How does faithful endurance fortify hope?

8 Abraham kept his hope sure by obeying Jehovah implicitly, even when doing so was difficult. (Genesis 22:2, 12) Similarly, by our being obedient and enduring in Jehovah’s service, we can be confident of our reward. “Endurance,” wrote Paul, results in “an approved condition,” which, in turn, produces hope, “and the hope does not lead to disappointment.” (Romans 5:4, 5) That is why Paul also wrote: “We desire each one of you to show the same industriousness so as to have the full assurance of the hope down to the end.” (Hebrews 6:11) Such a positive outlook, which is based on an intimate relationship with Jehovah, can help us to face any hardship with courage, even joy.

“Rejoice in the Hope”

9. Doing what regularly can help us to “rejoice in the hope”?

9 Our God-given hope is infinitely superior to anything that the world can offer. Says Psalm 37:34: “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.” Yes, we have every reason to “rejoice in the hope.” (Romans 12:12) In order to do so, however, we must keep our hope fresh in mind. Do you regularly reflect on your God-given hope? Can you see yourself in Paradise, glowing with good health, free from anxieties, surrounded by people you love, and sharing in truly fulfilling work? Do you meditate on the Paradise scenes depicted in our publications? Such regular reflection might be likened to cleaning a window that affords a magnificent view. If we neglect to clean the glass, soon dirt and grime will rob us of the scene’s clarity and appeal. Other things may then capture our attention. May we never allow that to happen!

10. Why does our looking to the reward reflect well on our relationship with Jehovah?

10 Of course, our main reason for serving Jehovah is our love for him. (Mark 12:30) Still, we should look eagerly to the reward. In fact, Jehovah expects us to do so! Hebrews 11:6 says: “Without faith it is impossible to please him well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” Why does Jehovah want us to view him as the Rewarder? Because when we do, we show that we know our heavenly Father well. He is generous, and he loves his children. Think how unhappy and easily discouraged we would be if we did not have “a future and a hope.”​—Jeremiah 29:11.

11. How did his God-given hope help Moses to make wise decisions?

11 An outstanding example of one who remained focused on his God-given hope was Moses. As “the son of the daughter of Pharaoh,” Moses had power, prestige, and the wealth of Egypt at his disposal. Would he pursue these things, or would he serve Jehovah? Moses courageously chose the latter. Why? Because he “looked intently toward the payment of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26) Yes, Moses was certainly not nonchalant about the hope that Jehovah had set before him.

12. Why is Christian hope like a helmet?

12 The apostle Paul compared hope to a helmet. Our figurative helmet protects our mental powers, enabling us to make wise decisions, set sound priorities, and maintain integrity. (1 Thessalonians 5:8) Do you have your figurative helmet on at all times? If so, then like Moses and Paul, you will rest your hope, “not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment.” True, going against popular trends by turning your back on selfish pursuits takes courage, but it is well worth the effort! After all, why settle for anything less than “the real life,” which awaits those who hope in and love Jehovah?​—1 Timothy 6:17, 19.

“I Will By No Means Leave You”

13. What assurance does Jehovah provide his loyal servants?

13 People who rest their hope on the present system of things must think about tomorrow with a deep sense of foreboding as the world suffers ever increasing “pangs of distress.” (Matthew 24:8) But those who hope in Jehovah have no such fears. They will continue to “reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.” (Proverbs 1:33) Because their hope is not in the present system, they joyfully heed Paul’s counsel: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For he has said: ‘I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.’”​—Hebrews 13:5.

14. Why do Christians not need to be unduly anxious about their material needs?

14 “By no means,” “nor by any means”​—these emphatic expressions leave no doubt that God will care for us. Jesus also assured us of God’s loving concern, saying: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things [the material necessities of life] will be added to you. So, never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties.” (Matthew 6:33, 34) Jehovah knows that it is a challenge for us to be zealous for his Kingdom and at the same time to bear the full weight of the responsibility to provide for our physical needs. So let us put full confidence in his ability and desire to care for our needs.​—Matthew 6:25-32; 11:28-30.

15. How do Christians keep a ‘simple eye’?

15 We show our reliance on Jehovah when we keep a ‘simple eye.’ (Matthew 6:22, 23) A simple eye is sincere, pure in motive, and free from greed and selfish ambition. Having a simple eye does not mean living in abject poverty or being negligent in caring for our Christian responsibilities. Rather, it means showing “soundness of mind” as we keep Jehovah’s service in first place.​—2 Timothy 1:7.

16. Why are faith and courage needed to keep a simple eye?

16 Maintaining a simple eye calls for faith and courage. For example, if an employer insists that you regularly work at a time scheduled for Christian meetings, will you courageously stick to your spiritual priorities? If a person has doubts that Jehovah will fulfill His promise to care for His servants, then Satan simply needs to keep up the pressure and such a person might stop attending meetings altogether. Yes, a lack of faith on our part can give Satan a hold on us so that he, not Jehovah, sets our priorities. What a tragedy that would be!​—2 Corinthians 13:5.

“Hope in Jehovah”

17. How are those who trust in Jehovah blessed even now?

17 The Scriptures repeatedly show that those who hope and trust in Jehovah never lose out. (Proverbs 3:5, 6; Jeremiah 17:7) True, at times they may have to be content with less, but they consider this a small sacrifice compared with the blessings in store for them. They thus demonstrate that they “hope in Jehovah” and are confident that he will eventually grant his loyal ones all the righteous desires of their heart. (Psalm 37:4, 34) Hence, they are truly happy even now. “The expectation of the righteous ones is a rejoicing, but the very hope of the wicked ones will perish.”​—Proverbs 10:28.

18, 19. (a) What loving assurance does Jehovah give us? (b) How do we keep Jehovah at our “right hand”?

18 When a little boy walks hand in hand with his father, he feels safe and secure. The same is true of us as we walk with our heavenly Father. “Do not be afraid,” said Jehovah to Israel, “for I am with you. . . . I will really help you. . . . For I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.’”​—Isaiah 41:10, 13.

19 What a warm picture that conveys​—Jehovah grasping one’s hand! “I have placed Jehovah in front of me constantly,” David wrote. “Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be made to totter.” (Psalm 16:8) How do we keep Jehovah at our “right hand”? We do so in at least two ways. One, we let his Word guide us in every aspect of life; and two, we look to the glorious prize Jehovah has set before us. The psalmist Asaph sang: “I am constantly with you; you have taken hold of my right hand. With your counsel you will lead me, and afterward you will take me even to glory.” (Psalm 73:23, 24) With such assurance, we can truly face the future with confidence.

“Your Deliverance Is Getting Near”

20, 21. What future awaits those who hope in Jehovah?

20 With each passing day, it becomes more urgent that we keep Jehovah at our right hand. Soon, starting with the destruction of false religion, Satan’s world will experience a tribulation such as it has never experienced before. (Matthew 24:21) Fear will envelop faithless mankind. Yet, during that chaotic time, Jehovah’s courageous servants will rejoice in their hope! “As these things start to occur,” said Jesus, “raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.”​—Luke 21:28.

21 Let us therefore rejoice in our God-given hope and not be deceived or tempted by Satan’s clever distractions. At the same time, let us work hard to cultivate faith, love, and godly fear. Doing so, we will have the courage to obey Jehovah under all circumstances and to oppose the Devil. (James 4:7, 8) Yes, “be courageous, and may your heart be strong, all you who are waiting for Jehovah.”​—Psalm 31:24.

[Footnote]

^ par. 1 Although in the Christian Greek Scriptures the word “hope” frequently applies to the heavenly reward of anointed Christians, in this article, hope in the general sense is discussed.

Can You Answer?

• In what way did Jesus’ hope contribute to his courage?

• How do faith and hope relate to each other?

• How can hope along with faith give a Christian the courage to set sound priorities in life?

• Why can those who “hope in Jehovah” look to the future with confidence?

[Study Questions]

[Picture on page 28]

Whether young or old, can you see yourself in Paradise?