The God of Hope: A One-volume Commentary on God's Promises [NOOK Book]

Overview

Everyone experiences feelings of hopelessness, and sometimes those dark feelings seem like they will linger forever. Hopelessness can arise when dealing with family or friends; or perhaps with the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or the beginning of a tough financial season. In times of great distress, our God brings us comfort, compassion, and of course, hope. The God of Hope guides our hearts, helping us find hope and healing in His ...

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The God of Hope: A One-volume Commentary on God's Promises

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Overview

Everyone experiences feelings of hopelessness, and sometimes those dark feelings seem like they will linger forever. Hopelessness can arise when dealing with family or friends; or perhaps with the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or the beginning of a tough financial season. In times of great distress, our God brings us comfort, compassion, and of course, hope. The God of Hope guides our hearts, helping us find hope and healing in His word.


God’s hope for individuals, humanity, and the world fill the pages of the Bible, and stories of His work in our hearts when hope seems to fail are endless. Full Scripture passages and reflections drawn from every book of the Bible will offer readers a deeper understanding of the hope God offers to us daily. Each author explains the historical and theological aspects of God’s blessings of hope, so we can better apply His Word to every situation. For the reader who needs help seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, The God of Hope is the perfect choice.  


 


Features include:



  • Scripture passages and reflections from each book of the Bible
  • Historical, theological, and practical exploration of hope
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401678524
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Dan Dick is an ordained minister of The United Methodist Church serving as the Director of Connectional Ministries for the Wisconsin Annual Conference. He is a nationally known speaker and teacher, and he is the author of thirteen books.
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Read an Excerpt

the God of Hope

A One-Volume Commentary On God's Promises


By Joel F. Drinkard Jr., Dan R. Dick

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Thomas Nelson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4016-7852-4



CHAPTER 1

Hope in the Old Testament


According to conventional Christian theology, the Old Testament is a book of law, and the New Testament is a book of grace; the Old Testament is a book of judgment, and the New Testament is a book of mercy or salvation. While there are some generalized truths in those assertions, a fuller picture affirms that both Old and New Testaments include law and grace, judgment and mercy, and deliverance or salvation events. In the Old Testament, law is a part of covenant. Covenant is God's provision for relationship with humankind and all creation. One specific covenant, the Sinaitic covenant or Mosaic covenant made with the children of Israel, followed their deliverance by God from slavery in Egypt. That deliverance became the primary salvation event of the Old Testament, celebrated by the Israelites from that time forward. The Sinaitic covenant represented the formal agreement between God and the Israelites that marked their relationship. Much of the law or instruction of the Old Testament traces its origin to the Sinaitic covenant. Since the Sinaitic covenant is a direct outcome of the exodus, law (covenant) and grace (deliverance from slavery) are inseparable.

There are relatively few explicit occurrences of the term "hope" in the Old Testament. Indeed twenty-two of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament do not include the word hope (compare with the New Testament, in which has the word hope occurs in twenty-four of the twenty-seven books). However, the theme of hope is pervasive throughout the Old Testament.

First, we will consider the type of literature of each book. In the Old Testament, we find law/instruction/regulations: the regulations to guide our relationships with God, fellow humans, and all creation. The regulations cover worship instructions, and what we would describe as civil, criminal, and moral regulations. We also find narrative, sections that primarily relate a story or recount history. We also have prophetic material—that warns of judgment on disobedience and promises blessing on obedience—that recounts past events, present situations, and future outlooks. And we also have wisdom and poetic material. The Pentateuch (or Law, Torah), especially Exodus through Deuteronomy, provides much of the legal and instructional material. Genesis and Joshua through Esther are primarily narrative. We find most prophetic material in Isaiah through Malachi. And Job through Song of Solomon contain most of the poetic and wisdom material. However, some narrative is found in all major sections, as are prophetic and wisdom and poetic material. Because of the narrative component, the metaphor of a journey seems most appropriate as a central theme for connecting our study of hope in the Old Testament. The first eleven chapters of Genesis describe a journey from creation to the fall, out of Eden, through the Flood to Shinar and Babel. The remainder of the narratives focus on journeys of people: to the promised land; to Egypt; out of Egypt to Sinai; back to the promised land; later into exile in Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt; and ultimately return.


The Biblical Basis of Hope

Throughout the Bible, our hope is centered in God and the acts/grace/ mercy/purpose of God. Scripture—Old Testament and New Testament—makes abundantly clear that we find no real hope in ourselves or in other humans. People, friends, and family can be supportive and helpful to us. To view ourselves, our family, our government, or any other human agency as the ultimate source of hope, however, will bring only disillusionment and loss. (See Ps. 33:16–17: "No king is saved by his great army. / No warrior escapes by his great strength. / Horses can't bring victory; / they can't save by their strength" (NCV). Our ultimate hope rests in God alone. Hope and help go together.

Do not put your trust in princes
or other people, who cannot save you.
When people die, they are buried.
Then all of their plans come to an end.
Happy are those who are helped by the God of Jacob.
Their hope is in the Lord their God.
He made heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in it.
He remains loyal forever. (Ps. 146:3–6 NCV)


There is a link that connects all of the Bible. This is the connection between Genesis (especially Gen. 1–2) and Revelation (especially Rev. 21–22). What we see in these "bookends" of the Bible are creation and new creation, paradise created and paradise restored, creation of heaven and earth, and creation of new heaven and new earth. All of the "no mores" of Revelation 21–22 (no more tears, no more mourning, no more pain, no more death) indicate the full and complete restoration of God's hope, plan, purpose for creation in the new creation. The end of Scripture fulfills the hope of the original creation. The rest of the Bible describes the journey from God's hope initiated in creation to God's hope consummated in the new heaven and new earth—a journey that began with the first human sin. All of Scripture describes the efforts—human and divine—to restore hope. All human efforts (and hope centered in humans or human agencies) ultimately fail. Only God's intervention "when the time was fully come" could ultimately restore God's vision.

We are still on the journey toward the restored hope of Revelation. We live in a fallen world, but one that has hope, genuine hope, that comes not from human efforts but from God's provision in Christ Jesus.

As we look through the Old Testament for markers of hope, we will look not just back into history of long ago and far away but at a journey we continue to travel today. We will not focus backward, dwelling on "what ifs." Instead, we will look for the elements of hope experienced in the Old Testament in the midst of sin and fallenness, and we will see reflections of our own journeys. The hope of the Old Testament focused on the future, as does all hope.

Having examined the connections between the testaments, we need to note that hope in the Old Testament differs significantly from New Testament hope and the hope we have as Christians. Old Testament hope did not have the fulfillment of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament could only "hope for" God's redemption of creation. The deliverance of the exodus and covenant grace did not restore creation to God's vision. The Old Testament picture of God is that of the eternal optimist. God's plan in creation is one of perfect union with God's will; so creation as God willed it and as God completed it, was good, very good. In a word, it was perfect. However, God gave to humans freedom and choice, without which we would be mere robots. God the Optimist freely gave humans choice, recognizing they could and would make bad choices. So God established laws to deal with the consequences of those bad choices. All are God's laws—physical, moral, or religious. Gravity is a physical law: if you jump off a cliff and try to fly, gravity will inevitably bring you down. In creation, Adam and Eve received only one law: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat" (Gen. 2:16–17). Adam and Eve broke this law, bringing severe consequences for all humankind. God the Eternal Optimist is also God the Judge. God is also the Redeemer, however, the God of many second chances (the Eternal Optimist). God's plan is for perfect harmony and perfect relationship between God and all of creation. So God works to redeem all creation. Therein is our hope.


Genesis

God's Hope in Creation; Human Need of Redemption

The Pentateuch, or Torah, consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This corpus is traditionally ascribed to Moses. Indeed, many English Bibles, such as the New King James Version, refer to the books of the Pentateuch as "The First Book of Moses Called Genesis" and so on. Modern biblical scholars often date the Pentateuch in the form we find it in our Bibles to a much later period, even to the time of the Babylonian exile (587 BC) or later. For our purposes, the content of the text rather than its authorship or date is our primary concern.


Prehistory Hope

The book of Genesis may conveniently be divided into two parts: Genesis 1–11 and Genesis 12–50. Genesis 1–11, often called "prehistory," describes the creation of the universe and the marring of God's creation by sin. Genesis 12–50, usually called "patriarchal history," describes God's workings through the lives of successive generations of one family, the family of Abraham. We will follow this standard division in our study of hope in Genesis.


Hope at Creation: Genesis 1

Genesis 1 and 2 present two narratives of creation. The Genesis 1 account (1:1–2:4a) presents a macrocosmic view, that is, a big-picture view, of the creation of the universe: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (1:1). This first verse summarizes the whole narrative: God created heavens and earth—in a word, everything. In this first narrative we see God's vision, his plan, his purpose, and, as we will see shortly, God's hope for his creation. My assertion is simple: creation itself is an expression of God's hope. We see God's vision concerning creation expressed on the universal scale. This narrative depicts a universe filled with God's creation and ends with God's assessment of creation. After each creative act or set of acts, God sees the creative act as good (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). Genesis 1:26–31 (NCV) describes the final and culminating act of creation on the sixth day:

Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image and likeness. And let them rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the tame animals, over all the earth, and over all the small crawling animals on the earth." So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. God blessed them and said, "Have many children and grow in number. Fill the earth and be its master. Rule over the fish in the sea and over the birds in the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." God said, "Look, I have given you all the plants that have grain for seeds and all the trees whose fruits have seeds in them. They will be food for you. I have given all the green plants as food for every wild animal, every bird of the air, and every small crawling animal." And it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good. Evening passed, and morning came. This was the sixth day.


And after completing the task with the creation of humankind in God's image and likeness, God looks at all of creation and assesses it as very good. A simple outline of chapter 1 might read:

1. God did it.

2. God did it all.

3. God did it all good, very good!


So in effect, creation at the end of God's activity is a perfect expression of God's will, God's plan, God's purpose. Creation is the perfect expression of God's hope.


Hope at Creation: Genesis 2

Chapter 2 offers a different view of creation. It focuses on one small garden in the east, in Eden, and on one human couple, Adam and Eve. The Genesis 2 account of creation has, however, the same basic outline:

1. God did it.

2. God did it all.

3. God did it all good!


Hope and Sin Stories: Genesis 3–11

God's good creation and God's vision of creation, however, are quickly changed. The humans God created, good and with free will, soon fall to temptation. The result that we call the fall affects not only the humans but also all of creation. God's creation is no longer completely good. All creation shows the effects of the fall, not just humans. The rest of the Old Testament, indeed the rest of the Bible, is the narrative of God's vision of creation being restored. So in effect, Genesis 1 and 2 reflect God's original plan and vision of creation. Genesis 3 and following show God's plan to restore creation to its original goodness, God's original hope. If humans have any hope, it is grounded in God's plan. The hope we see in Scripture looks to the future, to God's way of restoring creation to its original purpose, God's original vision and plan.

Within Genesis 3–11, we see multiple sin stories. The first sin story is the fall, the original sin. The sin was the human attempt to be like God (3:5, 22). Indeed, every sin is, in one way or another, disobedience to God or to God's commands, and is, in reality, a human attempt to be like God, the created being trying to usurp the role and position of the Creator. (Interestingly, the Hebrew Bible uses the word create only with God as subject—never humans.) We have not experienced the vision, the plan of God before the fall, so we cannot know the hope of that original plan. We can and do experience the nature of God in a fallen world. Our hope lies in the fact that God is a God of love and mercy. The old gospel songs express something of that hope: "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness" ("My Hope Is Built," Edward Mote, 1834) or "O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come" (O God, Our Help in Ages Past," Isaac Watts, 1719). These songs express something of our hope in God.

The sin of chapter 3 disrupts the goodness of God's creation and vision. One might assume the situation is hopeless. All of creation suffers in the condition of sin. The earth feels the curse of humanity's fall. But even in the fall, hope is not lost. For the curse that seemed to offer only death is followed by God's grace and mercy, God's hope. God does not end sinners' lives at the moment of their sin. Instead God shows mercy. God provides garments for Adam and Eve to wear. They are expelled from the Edenic garden, and the ground no longer provides easy sustenance. Now they work by the sweat of their brows. The ground produces thorns, thistles, and nettles along with food. But humankind survives by God's grace, and that grace offers hope. Furthermore, God gives the gift of new life. A second generation is born, and in that new generation is new hope. Now there are farmers and herders, a diversification of occupations and increased hope.

But once again the hope is shattered in another sin story. The disobedience of the first generation becomes murder in the second generation: Cain kills his brother Abel. Surely if the disobedience of that first generation brought such severe judgment, the murder will end all hope. Cain is judged for his sin—the land no longer yields its fruits to him, and he becomes a wanderer, an outcast from society. Yet even in the midst of the horror of Cain's sin, God shows mercy. Cain still has his life, and he is given a wife and children. Even before we learn that Adam and Eve have additional children, we read of multiple generations of Cain's children (4:16–24). Furthermore, God gives Cain a protective mark so that no one will kill him despite his sin (v. 15). Even for Cain there is an element of hope. God not only continues to be merciful and offer Cain hope but also shows mercy and hope to Adam and Eve as they have numerous additional children (4:26–5:32).

By the end of Genesis 5, humankind has fulfilled at least part of God's original command in creation: they have been fruitful and multiplied. As humans have multiplied, so has human sin. This sin story includes God's displeasure and judgment:

The Lord saw that the human beings on the earth were very wicked and that everything they thought about was evil. He was sorry he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, "I will destroy all human beings that I made on the earth. And I will destroy every animal and everything that crawls on the earth and the birds of the air, because I am sorry I have made them." (6:5–7 NCV)
(Continues...)


Excerpted from the God of Hope by Joel F. Drinkard Jr., Dan R. Dick. Copyright © 2013 Thomas Nelson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Old Testament....................          

Hope in the Old Testament....................     3     

Genesis....................     7     

Exodus–Deuteronomy Introduction....................     16     

Exodus....................     17     

Leviticus....................     22     

Numbers....................     25     

Deuteronomy....................     28     

Joshua....................     32     

Judges....................     36     

Ruth....................     39     

First and Second Samuel....................     43     

First and Second Kings....................     50     

Hope Beyond Torah and History....................     60     

First and Second Chronicles....................     62     

Ezra–Nehemiah....................     68     

Esther....................     76     

Job....................     82     

Psalms....................     92     

Proverbs....................     107     

Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs....................     111     

Isaiah....................     120     

Jeremiah....................     136     

Lamentations....................     150     

Ezekiel....................     153     

Daniel....................     160     

Hosea....................     164     

Joel....................     170     

Amos....................     174     

Obadiah....................     180     

Jonah....................     182     

Micah....................     186     

Nahum....................     190     

Habakkuk....................     192     

Zephaniah....................     196     

Haggai....................     199     

Zechariah....................     202     

Malachi....................     207     

New Testament....................          

Introduction to Hope in the New Testament....................     213     

Matthew....................     216     

Mark....................     226     

Luke–Acts....................     234     

John....................     256     

The Letters of Paul....................     266     

Romans....................     268     

First and Second Corinthians....................     276     

Galatians....................     286     

Ephesians....................     289     

Philippians....................     292     

Colossians....................     295     

First and Second Thessalonians....................     297     

First and Second Timothy and Titus....................     303     

Philemon....................     308     

Hebrews....................     310     

James....................     314     

First and Second Peter....................     316     

First, Second, Third John and Jude....................     319     

Revelation....................     324     


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