The Gift of Hope

A lost and tired hunter was out in the wilderness for days when he stumbled into the camp of a fellow hunter. "Boy, am I glad to see you! I've been lost for days. I'm hungry, cold, and tired." The other man replied, "Don't get too excited, friend. I've been lost for three weeks!"

Lost people trying to lead lost people is disastrous for everyone! So God sent Someone to lead us out of the darkness.

The book of Isaiah contains prophecies about 700 years before Jesus foretelling his birth and mission. It was a dark period in Israel & Judah's history. They were immersed in sin and had turned away from God. Generations had been raised without the knowledge of God, and the nations were suffering for it. Additionally, it was a time of political turmoil. Wicked kings sought alliances with other nations that would eventually destroy them. Things were a mess.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living int he land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned" [Isaiah 9]. It's as if God were saying, "What you are experiencing now is not what will always be. Trust in me. My Promised One is coming! You don't have to be afraid of the darkness."

Fast-forwarding to Palestine at the time of Jesus: Israel had lost its way and was under the thumb of a religious system that oppressed its people as religious leaders fought for political power. Palestine was under Roman occupation. Soldiers were occupying their land and abusing their people.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." It's as if God were saying, "What you are experiencing now is not what will always be. Trust in me. My Promised One is here. You don't have to be afraid of the darkness."

As we fast-forward to today, we don't even have to comment on the state of our world. While many things have changed and we have made great advancements in the cause of justice, the condition of humanity hasn't really changed. While governments and citizens work to build a just and peaceful society, we never can really seem to do it. With every headline and personal crisis, the darkness seems to come very close.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." It's as if God were saying to us, "What you are experiencing now is not what will always be. Trust in me. My Promised One is coming again. You don't have to fear the darkness."

One of the gifts God gives his children is hope. I'm a Cubs fan...we know what perpetual hope is all about. God promised the Messiah would come...and he did. God has also said that he would come again to establish his kingdom...and he will. So put your hope in God!

Someday, these systems which oppress and kill will be gone. Someday, the responsibility for government will be on Jesus who will rule with true justice and peace. He will do what no government, no person, no system has ever been able to do.

God's message has not changed: Put your hope in God.