Summary: When we have God, there is always hope
INTRO: While hunting, Larry and Elmer got lost in the woods. Trying to reassure his friend, Larry said, "Don’t worry. All we have to do is shoot into the air three times, stay where we are, and someone
will find us."
They shot in the air three times, but no one came. After a while, they tried again. Still no
response. When they decided to try once more, Elmer said, "I hope it works this time. We’re down to our last three arrows."
-Have you ever felt you’re in a hopeless situation and nothing seems to be working and every solution that you come to works as well as the story I read?
Today: We are going to focus on a concept called hope. When we have God, there is always hope. TITLE: Hope for the Hopeless
TEXT: Ezekiel 37:1-10
I. Setting. Ezekiel has a vision from God. At the beginning of Ezekiel’s ministry, the Spirit transported him to sit among the discouraged exiles by the canal (3:14f0. Later the Spirit took him in visions to Jerusalem (8:3ff), to the temple gate, and then back to Babylonia (11:1, 24).
A. Now the Spirit brings him in a vision to a valley filled with many bleached bones scattered on the ground, the skeletons of corpses long ago decomposed.
1. It was a humiliating thing for the body of a dead Jew to not be washed, wrapped, and buried with dignity in a grave or a tomb.
-These bodies were left on the battlefield to become food for the vultures to eat and objects for the sun to bleach.
II. Ezekiel saw a great many bones (v. 2). The Lord takes him in a vision; lo and behold, he sees death.
A. In your life this morning, what do you see?
1. Question: What do you see in your life, what do you see in your marriage, what do you see in your children and family, what do you see in your career, what do you see in your relationships, what do you see in your health, your future?
2. Do you see death, discouragement, disappointment, heartache, pain?
-Pastor, I can sum it up on one word—I’m in a hopeless situation! Well, today I’ll try to help you see it differently or at least give you something to think about.
B. Let me first define hope. For most of us hope is just another word for wishfulness. It even has a melancholy nature to it.
1. However, in scripture it is a much more powerful word. It means to have confidence and to be certain in the face of circumstances that present no visible reason for such emotions.
2. Let’s look at some elements of hope so we can better understand it.
-Romans 5:3b-5, "Because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
-Romans 15:4 says, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope."
a. In these two different texts comes the idea of endurance or perseverance. It’s the idea of waiting for the answer.
-It’s hard to wait or persevere when you’re in a painful situation. Question: Why would God delay in fulfilling what we hope for?
-One possible reason: So that we would gain appreciation for what the Lord gives when it arrives.