Summary: Our writer shares with us how His Hope in God leds Him to: 1. A Call for an Divine Intervention 2. A Call of Confession 3. A Call of Co-Mission with God
Title: The Season of Hope
Our writer shares with us how His Hope in God leads Him to:
1. A Call for an Intervention 2. A Call of Confession 3. A Call of Co-Mission
Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Grace and peace from the One who gave Himself for us so that we might be rescued, redeemed and restored into His Holy Image.
One of the most interesting men to have lived on our planet was also one of the most depressing men to have ever lived on our planet. His name was Jean-Paul Satre. He was a playwright, a philosopher and a political activist. Two of his most famous works were a couple of books entitled NO EXIT and THE FLIES.
Jean-Paul did not believe in God. He did not believe in any supernatural being. He believed that for the most part mankind's existence is much like a man adrift at sea in a boat without a rudder or a compass. He believed that it doesn't matter which direction a person takes in their life because there is no Absolute, there is no God, no Creator or Redeemer. There is no One to either reward his good deeds or punish his bad deeds.
Jean-Paul believed that if God did at one time exist then He is now dead. He believed that there is no absolute truth, no eternal purpose and no meaning to life or to the Universe. People, plants, animals and planets merely exist. They have no ultimate meaning or function.
Every person born must stand alone without proper and complete understanding, without agape love and without any true purpose. Each one of us comes into this world, we rejoice, we suffer and we die. For Jean-Paul physical death is the final and complete end. There is nothing past the grave. What a sad thought. What a sad way to look at creation. What a sad way to look at being human.
Jean-Paul no doubt would have trouble this morning watching us light our First Candle of the Advent Season and listening to the words of Isaiah 64:1-9. However, he might have applauded our writer words in the latter part of verse 6
"We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."
And he might have applauded in a rather strange way the beginning of verse 7 -
"There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you;"
But in each case he would be appalled at the fact that before and after these verses there is a Call for Divine Intervention, a Call of Confession and a Call for Co-mission. Jean-Paul would not have been pleased at all with the tenor of Hope that this passage calls for, yearns for and lives in anticipation.
Some have thought that Jean-Paul lost hope because he had to live during the time of WWII. He lived during a time when his beloved homeland of France was being devastated by Nazi Germany. Others wonder if he lost hope because at the age of two he lost his father and then later at the age of twelve his mother remarried and the family moved to La Rochelle where he was the victim of school yard bullies and abuse for a number of years. Still others say that his loss of hope came about during his nine months stay as prisoner of war in Stalag 12-D.
We may never know. All we know is that at some point in his life Jean-Paul became a man who choose to live without hope. One of the odd facts of his life is that while he was a prisoner of war Jean-Paul wrote a very moving piece centered on The Virgin Mary and the Christ Child. It was like for a moment he saw a glimpse of True Hope only to shut it down and live the rest of his life dedicated to telling others that they must live without hope, without purpose and meaning.
The writer of our passage this morning could have joined Jean-Paul Satre. He too lived in a very difficult time. Many Bible Scholars believe that our writer was among the Jewish exiles that had been taken to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. He was therefore a displaced person forced to live in a foreign and hostile country some 700 miles away from his homeland, his livelihood and the center of his faith - Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Our writer was condemned to live out the rest of his life away from family and friends, away from the comforts of Israel and away from hearing the Torah and participating in the Festivals of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.