Green Pastures?

A friend of mine and I were talking about Psalm 23, and how a lot of the imagery is not what we’ve been brought up to think it means. He sent me this link, and it made a lot of things click into place, and I just had to share:

 

In my hope journey, this reminds me of the Psalm 121:1 “I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?” If the hills look desolate, my only hope is in trusting My Shepherd to lead me. It is a journey, not a destination. Selah.

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Hope on Display

As I travel the hope journey, I contemplate the very familiar verse, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB). I began reading that verse in the context of the chapter and realized it was saying something slightly different from what I’ve thought for a long time. Jeremiah is talking to the captives in (Babylon), and he told them that they were not going home anytime soon, no matter what the prophets there said. The land needs the rest from all the Sabbath years that they didn’t allow it to rest. Settle down, he said. Build houses, get married, have babies, bless the land where you are. They’ll go back, but not now. (Full Passage) Talk about hope deferred.

But then he relays what God says, about the plans He has for a future and a hope. In the face of exile, they were to look to hope – 70 years down the road. A hope in a land not their own, driven their by their disobedience and sin. What kind of hope does that look like? How do you hold on to hope in that situation? How do you hope in the face of a broken heart, crushed dreams, pain, despair – I could go on and on. What is the substance of that hope?

So of course, I looked it up. The Hebrew word from Strong’s is 8615, ‘tiqvah’, and it literally means cord, as an attachment. Figuratively, it means expectancy – expectation, expected, hope, live, thing that I live for. So this cord represents my hope – it’s something I can hang on to. I wonder if the phrase, “I’m at the end of my rope,” is rooted from there. Anyway, I went to look up where it was first used (law of first mention, and all that), and became undone.

Image from Tiqvah Counseling, Coaching and Education – https://tiqvahcce.com/

Tiqvah is used 34 times in various forms, and the first of which is in Joshua 2:18. This is the promise to Rahab to save her and her household from the destruction coming to her city of Jericho. The spies said, “…We [shall be] free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household.” (Joshua 2:17-18, NAS). Her faith in a God she barely knew that made her help the spies turned an ordinary rope (Strong’s 2256) into a scarlet thread of HOPE. A hope of salvation from the emptiness and idolatry that surrounded her. A hope of life in the picture of death.

So she sent the spies away, and hung her hope out on display. It was a scarlet thread, not a quiet color, not a passive, fade in the background type of rope. This was easily seen by the spies when they came, easily seen by those who came and went. What was her explanation to those who asked? Was she ridiculed, admonished, discouraged, tempted to draw back her tiqvah?

We know how that story turned out. The spies saw her tiqvah on display, and fulfilled their promise and rescued her. It challenged me, though, about not only hanging on to my cord, my hope, but putting it on display as a sign, a testimony, a promise, a commitment. The Lord has given me a future and a tiqvah – how am I going to anchor it and display it, knowing that He will fulfill it? How will you?

Trusting to Hope

Mount of Blessing, Israel

From my series on trust, I find myself being led to the concept of hope. It has been a battle, though, as I try to reconcile that oft quoted verse in Romans 5:5 where it says that hope doesn’t disappoint.

I know the bible to be true and stand by its veracity, and its application to my life. That is the only thing standing in between me taking up a pair of scissors and redesigning that part of my precious scriptures. I’m sure tomes have been written on Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” But what happens when you seem to be stuck in the land of the deferment of hope?

As I pondered this, I sense the Lord pressing a bit on the issue. Laughing in the face of the Creator is not polite, but it was an instinctual reaction, and He’s still cleaning me up, in many ways. I realize that I can dodge the issue, which, to be honest, I have been for several months, but He has His own plans and purposes that rarely seem to match ours. So here I go, down this journey. And as I started to really focus, I realized that hope never seems to let its light flicker out. In another entry I wrote years ago, oddly enough, Trust to Hope, I commented about hope, “… the heart was fashioned to always hope – it always has to hope in something. And it has an amazing amnesia of what happened to hope the time before.”

Hmm. Hope – it is infinitely more than wishful thinking, but rather, a confident expectation. Hope remains, in some way, form, or fashion, always. 1 Corinthians 13:13: “Now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Hope is one of the three that remain, a light that refuses to be put out. And so begins this next adventure

When you feel like you’re done

This was a post from a friend of mine that I thought so very eloquent, I asked if I could share it. I was going to add some of my thoughts, but she pretty much sums up certain times in my life when I’ve hit the wall. Thanks, Linda

I trust you Lord, I do. I know your plan is always the best, I know this. You have been faithful in every way to me . There are times however, when I want to throw a tantrum and say No, it’s not fair. Don’t ask this of me. Even though I know its nothing compared to the sacrifice you made for me. I know you will equip me and you will walk with me though fire even. I know this because you have done this for me many times. We have walked some difficult paths together. I know I will be stronger and I will be closer as a result. I do want that. But there are times that I don’t want to be Spiritually mature, I really really don’t. And even in such moments you are right there understanding and not condemning me. I want things my way, I want to shut my eyes and shake my head, stomp my feet and clench my fists. I want it my way, the easier way in my thinking. But in truth my way is never easy, especially if it’s outside of your will. The enemy whispers to me, “He gives you glimpses good things ahead, the desires of your heart even, then immediately snatches them away.” Yet I know that is not true. The enemy is a liar! You ARE a good good father. Your plans for me are good, to prosper me not to harm me to give me a hope and a future. So I will submit and follow your Son’s example and say, Not my will, by your will. That’s the Spiritually mature thing to do. Any thing else is idolatry and sin even, I know better than to push my agenda. It’s the next level, isn’t it? You’re calling me to go higher up and deeper in. I know it will be better, but I stand here thinking, wouldn’t it be easier to just stay here a while, I think I got this level down and can relax a bit. But that’s just another lie. I know you, and further more, I know I can trust you. So, I choose to take your hand as you lead me to step up to the next level. I am a little shaky Lord, so hold tight, I will try not to stumble and fall. My eyes are on you, my ears are open to hear and my heart is receptive to receive your next instructions. Don’t let go of my hand, I will need you close! But you already knew that, didn’t you and that’s part of it too. YAH, I see that. So, while we are at this, let’s stop by the enemy’s camp and stir things up a bit, ok?

Trust to Hope

Ramblings from my journal…
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when desire comes, it is the tree of life.” Part of my wrestling is that I am hesitant to hope, having seen many hopes dashed time and time again. But I think the heart was fashioned to always hope – it has to always hope in something. And it has an amazing amnesia of what happened to hope the time before.

Yes, scary though it is, I will trust to hope.

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh will also rest in hope.” – Psalm 16:9