When Futility Gives Way To Hope – Psalm 39:6-7

“Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them. Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:6-7, HCSB).

The psalmist realized that in the grand scheme of things his life was fleeting and short-lived, like a vapor or shadow.

People try to find meaning for their lives by gathering possessions as if more stuff will give more significance to their lives.

But, all our accomplishments, all our wealth, all our possessions fade away and are forgotten over time.

If our life in this world is to have any meaning, it must be that it is a preparation for eternal life.

For when we trust in God, we are trusting in God for eternal life.

And, if there’s nothing more than the span of our life on Earth, then our lives are lived in futility and our whole existence is meaningless.

But, when we trust in God, futility gives way to hope. And hope gives our lives meaning.

For those whose hope and trust is in God, life is meaningful and significant because it is not tied to earthly achievements but rather to a heavenly existence!

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21, HCSB).

Faith-Confidently Looking Forward – Hebrews 11:8-10

“Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”Hebrews 11:8-10

In Hebrews 11, the “faith” chapter, the Hebrews writer defines faith and provides several biblical examples.

One outstanding example of faith the Hebrews writer describes is Abraham. The Hebrews writer reminds us how Abraham left his native land in obedience to God’s calling and went to Canaan where the nation of Israel was ultimately settled.

While Abraham traveled the full extent of the “promised” land, he never settled in one of the Canaanite cities but lived as a nomadic herdsman. Abraham’s son, Isaac, and grandson, Jacob, both lived the same way.

Since Abraham was promised the land of Canaan by God but never possessed it, the Hebrew writer says Isaac and Jacob inherited the promise of the land (vs. 9). Of course, we know that Abraham’s descendants never actually possessed the land of Canaan until after being a slave nation of Egypt for hundreds of years.

So what do we learn about faith from Abraham’s example? Faith is a confidence based on: (1) hope–confidence in a promise that has a future fulfillment, and (2) obedience–confident action in response to what God has made known.

Faith gives life purpose and meaning because faith allows us to live our lives confidently looking forward to what God has promised us in Christ regardless of present circumstances or events.

Hope, Faith’s Main Ingredient – Hebrews 11:13

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” The presence of faith requires the existence of hope. In fact, hope is the main ingredient in faith: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (vs. 1). All the great examples of faith in Hebrews 11 are characterized by having a hope for something beyond what this present life offers: “They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one”(vs. 16). For example, if Abraham was looking for an earthly homeland, he could have returned to his hometown of Haran. Instead, he persisted in following God’s leading and focusing on the promise God made to him. So people who have faith in God are hopeful people and, conversely, people who do not have faith in God are hopeless people. When you are a Christian, you have joined the ranks of the hopeful. Like Abraham and the other great pillars of our faith, you have acknowledged that this world doesn’t offer what you are looking for because you are “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (vs. 10).