We don’t hear as much about “hope and change” this election season as we did in 2008, but I want to share what I am learning about another kind of hope.
In Hosea’s prophecy of Israel’s future, the Lord said he would make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. “Achor” had come to mean “trouble” in the Hebrew vocabulary, because it was the place of Achan’s sin when he had hidden forbidden spoils of war in his tent and thereby caused Israel’s defeat in their next battle (Joshua 7:26).
The word translated in English as “hope” is the Hebrew “tiqvah,” which comes from the verb “qavah,” which means “to look hopefully” in a particular direction, “to wait for.” This is no diffused or wishy-washy or undifferentiated sentiment but a firm expectation that rests on a certain object, which it visualizes. The same word “tiqvah” is used of the very concrete scarlet-colored cord that Rahab tied to her window and counted on for rescue when the two spies would come back with a whole army and wipe out her city of Jericho. This exemplifies the degree to which we should hope in God and every word He says in the Bible—as if our lives and futures depend on it. Because they do.
What I am coming to better grasp is that when I hope in God—when I invest tiqvah toward Him—it is important that I not only believe that He can act and answer my prayers, but that He will. The mind that raises itself no higher than “can” is still full of other competing future scenarios. The mind that believes God will answer is an undivided mind that embraces its joy ahead of time—just as Jesus visualized His joy and it strengthened Him along the road (Hebrews 12:2). God wants the same for us.
“For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth” (Psalm 71:5)