Summary: Our dependence on God is the source of our hope. Biblical hope is more than desire. It is a focus on the realities of our God.
A couple of years ago in the Rocky Mountains a bighorn ram approached the home of a man named Ed Bailey while he was watching football on television. The bighorn stopped suddenly, seeing its reflection in a plate glass window. Thinking it was another ram, the bighorn bowed its head, ready to charge. He backed up and immediately saw that the other ram backed up too. Every time he moved, his reflection moved. Finally after a three-hour duel, the ram shook his head and charged full force into the window, knocking himself unconscious.
That bighorn ram reminds me of a few people I've known through the years. What is there in some people that causes them to walk around ready to butt heads with anybody they meet--even though in the long run they are the loser for their negative attitude?
They are like a character in a silly joke I read sometime back. Two cowboys are talking about a third cowboy. "He's a real tough hombre," one of them says, "and quick on the trigger. He can shoot before his pistol clears his holster." His friend was impressed. "That is fast," he says, "if he can shoot before his pistol clears his holster. By the way, what's his name?" His friend answers with a smile, "Footless Frankie."
I guess all of us have shot ourselves in the foot by being too quick to criticize, too quick to condemn, to confront, to challenge, to chastise. -- From a sermon by King Duncan in DYNAMIC PREACHING, http://www.sermons.com. Copyright 2000 by Seven Worlds Corporation
Too often we think we are in total control and unaffected by our actions.
Laodicea – Revelation 3.15-17
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
2. We are dependent on many people, not to mention God
Telephone/cell phone companies
March of 1981, President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. , and was hospitalized for several weeks. Although Reagan was the nation’s chief executive, his hospitalization had little impact on the nation’s activity. Government continued. On the other hand, suppose the garbage collectors in this country went on strike, as they did in Philadelphia not long ago. That city was not only in a literal mess, but the pile of decaying trash quickly became a health hazard. A three-week nationwide strike would paralyze the country. Who is more important—the President or a garbage collector?
3. Our Dependence on God is more than often taken for granted
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry. Psalm 146.5-7
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46.1
I. God Our Help
A. God of Jacob – Jacob was Always in Need of Help
1. Tricked Isaac/Esau – had to leave home
2. God took care of him (for HIS name, not so much for Jacob) – even brought him to a happy reunion with Esau
3. God took care of him in spite of his disobedience; trickery; manipulation; Fear; selfishness
4. Me, too
B. God of Jacob – Qualities
1. Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
2. Fulfills his purposes – Rescues Jacob and preserves the 12 tribes
II. God Our Hope
A. We Can Quit If We Lose Hope
A man approached a little league baseball player during a game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing---we’re behind.” “Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”
1. Is Not Blind Optimism
2. IS a Certainty
19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6.19-20
3. Is Based on the words of God
a. God made promises (words) to Abraham and Descendants
b. That gave hope for Jacob