If you’ve been following through our Exploring Hope posts, you might be glad to hear that this will be our last one. Some might have felt like we were going through a course to learn Klingon (a comment I received when preaching this sermon a few weeks ago). But these are the words from the Hebrew that we translate to “hope” in the Old Testament. Here is one last word that delivers an intense picture of our hope.
mibṭâch is used 15 times in the Old Testament and is actually translated as hope only once or twice, depending on the version you have. It is also translated as:
- confidence (9); trust (4); sure (1)
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
(Psalm 65:5-8 ESV)
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
(Jeremiah 17:7 NKJV)
Based upon its root word, mibṭâch is better defined as refuge or security. Imagine your deepest, safest place.
We often speak of the place of refuge as the final stronghold, deep within a castle or fortification. If you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings films you’ve seen the place of refuge known as Helm’s Deep. When you approach it you first encounter a strong gate and a wall that is tall and strong, encircling it. If the wall is breached you move into the first fortified area with another wall, still guarded by a gate, harder to maneuver and fight within, except for those trained to do so, knowing their stronghold. Should the enemy again overtake you can run into a cavern carved in the rock of the mountain. It is impenetrable and inaccessible except by one strong, heavy door.
In our times of peace this refuge is a quiet place. We often forget about it, walking freely in the less fortified areas of our lives and hearts. But in the time of danger it becomes so dreadfully necessary that to forget or ignore it is to fall to our enemies.
This refuge, this deep, inner sanctuary must constantly be supplied with the necessities of life. Imagine if you were a king and needed to take refuge but found yourself with stale, diseased water and rotten, worm-filled food. How long would you be able to hold out against your enemy? But if you had fresh vegetables and fruit, salted meats and a spring for water, you would better be able to withstand a siege.
Hope is our stronghold, our refuge. Specifically, as shown by these Scriptures, it is our hope in God. We cannot forget about the refuge in the days of peace and prosperity. We must keep hope prepared for those days when our strength and safety fail us.
What About Your Hope?
It is true that we must have hope even in the good times. We need it present in our lives to build faith, and through faith build love. It is foundational to health as spiritual beings.
But it in our darkest days, hope must shine the brightest. Otherwise we forget, we fall away.
Where do you need your hope to grow?
- tôcheleth + śêber – Expectation
- yâchal – Patience, even when it is a painful waiting (longing)
- tiqvâh – Attachment, tying it to you so strongly so that it cannot be lost
- miqveh – Confidence, specifically in God over any other substitute
- kesel – Gut feeling, an undeniable conviction
- mibṭâch – Refuge, security