Hope is Powerful

Hope is powerful.

I have enjoyed watching game shows pretty much my whole life.  I have not watched many recently, but as I was thinking I was surprised to find how many of them on a list I had seen or enjoyed.  My parents love game shows and so I watched more in my younger years than I do now.  What are some of your favorites?  These are my top favorites:

100,000 Pyramid, American Gladiators, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, Chain Reaction, Double Dare, Family Feud, I Survived a Japanese Gameshow, Jeopardy, Match Game, Supermarket Sweep, Weakest Link, Win Ben Steins Money, Win, Lose, or Draw, Wipeout

The basic premise of a game show is that participants answer questions or perform some tasks or solve puzzles with the hope of winning prizes or money.  The very first television game show, Spelling Bee, was broadcast in 1938. “Truth or Consequences” was the first game show to air on commercially licensed television with its first episode airing in 1941.  Again, the basic premise of the game show is that the participant has the hope of winning prizes or money.  That hope drives them to do the game or solve the puzzle.

During the late 1950s, high-stakes games such as Twenty-One and The $64,000 Question began a rapid rise in popularity with everyone watching. However, the rise of quiz shows proved to be short-lived. In 1959, many of the higher stakes game shows were discovered to be rigged and rating declines led to most of the primetime games being canceled.  In 1960, the United States Congress amended the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the fixing of quiz shows.

Why was the fixing of gameshows so bad?  Let me remind you of the basic premise of a game show: The basic premise of a game show is that participants answer questions or perform some tasks or solve puzzles with the hope of winning prizes or money.  A gameshow being rigged or unfair removes any hope that prizes or money will be won.  Hope is gone.  With hope gone, the game show goes away as well.

Hope is powerful.

The word “hope” in English is different from certainty.  As Christians, we have a certain kind of hope.  Christian hope is when God promises something is going to happen and we put our trust in Him.  Christian hope is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass.

Hope is rooted in God’s trustworthiness.  Hope is anchored in Christ.

Hope is powerful.

JEREMIAH 14:20-22 says, “O LORD, we acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned against You.  21 For the sake of Your name do not despise us; do not dishonor Your glorious throne. Remember Your covenant with us and do not break it.  22 Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is You, O LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the One who does all this.”

IN THE MIDST OF GUILT, WE CAN HAVE HOPE

First, in the midst of guilt, we can have hope.  Verse 20 reminds us unnecessarily that the world we live in is wicked.  Guilt stains everything.  All of us have sinned and our hearts are all guilty.  We would think that God would cast away wicked guilty sinners, but He does not despise us.  He does not dishonor us.  He does not forget His covenant.

God chooses to remain the same.  God chooses to be holy, righteous, good, and gracious.  His will is done.  God has always chosen to forgive.  He continues to choose to forgive.  He will continue to forgive in the future.  Because God is who God is now and, in the future, you and I can have hope amidst the guilt we feel and the wickedness we know.

God, you are the One who does this!

Hope is powerful.

IN THE MIDST OF WORTHLESS THINGS, WE CAN HAVE HOPE

Second, in the midst of worthless things, we can have hope.  Verse 22 talks about “worthless idols.”  Those idols would have been the focus for some of the people that Jeremiah was writing to and preaching to.  Those idols are nothing at all.  No meaning.  No value.

Words I associate with “worthless”: Depression and Sadness, Stress, Grief, Negative Mood, Anxiety

Sometimes we can get caught up in life with things that we feel are worthless.  Sometimes we feel worthless because of what happens in our lives.  Sometimes life is harder than it needs to be and we feel worthless.  That word, “worthless,” just grabbed my eye as I read through the verses.  We may feel lost in our job and so we think it is worthless or we are.  We might struggle in our marriage and feel that way.  We might see the choices our children or grandchildren make and we struggle.  We work hard and still have bills to pay and we feel worthless.

The Prophet Jeremiah is very clear in 14:20-22 that our God is hope in the midst of worthless things and worthless feelings.  He is faithful in our feelings.  God remembers His covenant promises with us even though we don’t feel it (verse 21).  God is our Lord (verse 22).  God is our God (verse 22).  God sends showers of blessings in the midst of it all (verse 22).

Hope is powerful.

TMB

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