Thursday, July 2

Revelation: Hope

The director of a medical clinic told of a terminally ill young man who came in for his usual treatment. A new doctor who was on duty said to him casually and cruelly, “You know, don’t you, that you won’t live out the year?”

As the young man left, he stopped by the director’s desk and wept. “That man took away my hope,” he blurted out.

“I guess he did,” replied the director. “Maybe it’s time to find a new one.”

Commenting on this incident, Lewis Smedes wrote, “Is there a hope when hope is taken away? Is there hope when the situation is hopeless? That question leads us to Christian hope, for in the Bible, hope is no longer a passion for the possible. It becomes a passion for the promise.”

Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all...As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.

G. K. Chesterton

Read: Revelation 15
Seven Angels with Seven Plagues
1I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God's wrath is completed. 2And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God 3and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:
"Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.
4Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed."
5After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened. 6Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. 7Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. 8And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

What an experience this will be for those killed in the tribulation (v.2). On moment they are on earth making a decision to stand for Christ. They choose not to bow to the political and social pressure. They choose not to worship the beast.

Does this remind you of the 3 young Jewish boys that refused to worship the 90 foot golden image of the king in the OT story (Daniel 3)? They too chose to defy the political and social subculture.

So, back to those in the tribulation. These believers will stand up for Jesus and suffer for it. Try to imagine their passage. In one moment they are on earth staring at chaos, fire, shouting, threatenings .... and then they are dispatched. Someone kills them. As their bodies fall to the earth they are immediately in the presence of their King. Imagine. They are now standing among a crowd of friends, they are in the presence of the great King, they have harps and they are singing songs of worship.

Contrast those two images. It is the ability to picture a better future that allows us to get through pain, suffering and death. It is the HOPE of what God will do and where we will end up that allows us to stand in the face of fear and death. It is not the "hope", so called, of politicians seeking election. It is the HOPE, the confident expectation of what we will experience one millisecond after we die.

Are you captured by this HOPE? Do you have a clear image of the One you worship and serve? He is the great and marvelous, conquering King of glory. He is your King. He is your provider. He is your Abba. Are you captured by the HOPE he brings?

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