HOPE IN MAN

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By Roy Burner (Minister of the Gospel)


INTRODUCTION

Hope in man can have a disastrous affect; if one's hope is anchored in man alone.  Trusting in man, and expecting great results, can be dashed in an instant. One is often excited when placing hope in man to solve complex issues; then at total loss to explain why, when such does not materialize, oftentimes becoming downhearted and crushed as a result.

God has granted man wisdom and knowledge to face formidable odds; as evidenced many times in the past.  Hope in man is extended in such moments but it is God, in His mercy, who opened the door for those circumstances to be overcome; using man as a vessel.  Man has his limitations; unless God opens the door to overcome those limitations.


HOPE IN MAN
(Narrative of Hope)

Hope is the general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled; oftentimes looking to man for those expectations to be fulfilled.  Man becomes prominent through substantial and widely admired contributions; intellectual endeavors, strength of action, articulate speech, and excellent demeanor.

A Bible dictionary reveals that hope is not mere expression and desire but includes confidence, refuge in God, the God of hope.  In the Old Testament hope translates a variety of Hebrew words which mean confidence, trust, and safety.  Hope in man can lead to a misplaced trust when fulfillment of that trust fails.  Hope in God will never fail as long as one's faith remains steadfast in Him.

Quotes concerning hope: Hope means expectation when things are otherwise hopeless (G. K. Chesterton).  There is no medicine like hope (O. S. Marden).  Quotes concerning man: A man without God is like a ship without a rudder (Anonymous).  Man is still the greatest miracle and greatest problem on this earth (General David Sarnoff).  These quotes suggest that hope in man can fail; if not interwoven in the Almighty God.

Guiding Principles

Tremendous difficulties are facing many nations of the world; with many placing their hope in man, rather than God, for solution to their problems.  Many nations have buried their hope in man; which remains buried, because of seeking the wrong source for a solution to their dilemma.

Daniel Webster stated: If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we in our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.

Recipe for Disaster

A Sunday school commentary noted a misplaced hope in man:  A certain political leader made frequent use of Christian vocabulary.  He spoke of the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian beliefs which would become the pillars of the new government.

He spoke of his spirituality to the press.  He displayed his tattered Bible and declared that he drew the strength for his great work from it with many Christians welcoming him as a man sent from God.  Who was this leader?  It was Adolf Hitler.

Thomas Jefferson stated: I have sword upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.  He had the God-given insight to look to God to oppose any hostility, any form of tyranny over the mind of man.  Adolf Hitler was not the solution; though many were gullible enough to think so; instead became the problem.  Looking to God as the source; rather than placing hope in man, is always the solution to any problem.

A False Hope

Scripture reveals: When a wicked man dies, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perishes (Proverbs 11:7).  Many have expectation of longer life, more riches, more honor, more pleasure; but find those expectations dashed when death comes knocking at the door.

After growing old, King Solomon looked back on all that he had accomplished: I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me.  And whatsoever my eyes desired I kept not from them.  I withheld not my heart from any joy (or pleasure), for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my portion (or reward) for all my labor.

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity (or in futility) and vexation (or a grasping for the wind) of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11).

In conclusion King Solomon realizing that the final destiny of man is to return to the dust of the earth from which he had been created: and the spirit return to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7) stated: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

A Fearless Generation

Scripture reveals: Put them in fear, O Lord; that nations may know themselves to be but men (Psalm 9:20).  A Bible commentary noted: The Psalmist was addressing a bold, impudent, fearless generation of men that neither feared God nor regarded men. 

He prayed that God would inject fear in them, those that were in direct opposition to God; having placed their hope in man who was but frail, and moral. That nations may know that they were in sin, guilt and danger, and be of a repentant nature; seeking the Almighty God, who is able to save their soul.

There is a reckless endangerment of placing one's hope in man; rather than the one who is able to save the soul.  Scripture reveals: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (or God) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).

Sin is the Problem

A Sunday school commentary noted: All around us are the signs that modern man refuses to accept the fact that sin is his problem.  Many no longer call homosexuality a sin but an alternate lifestyle.  Adultery is not viewed by some as merely an expression of a woman's right.

Many fantasize that placing their hope in man; who places a seal of approval on ungodly lifestyles, gives them a clear conscience to participate in such with no fear of God for such sinful behavior.  Scripture reveals the fate of those who haphazardly deal in sin without fear of reprisal:

I (or John) saw the dead, small and great stand before God: and the books were opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things written in the books, according to their works (Revelation 20:12). And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

Hope in God

Scripture encourages one to not place their hope in man; but in God: Be of good courage, and he (or God) shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the Lord (Psalm 31:24).  The people of God were to take heart, and be of good cheer, because even in their greatest distress hope in man might fail them, but to place their whole hope in God.

A Bible commentary noted: There are great trials of faith experienced by the people of God in all ages with no reason to be cast down on account of such; but hope in God, who has His set time to favor His people; therefore to be hoped for, and quietly waited on.  

Reconciliation to God

Scripture reveals: Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us according as we hope in you (Psalm 33:22).  The answer to man's problems lies within the last words of this Scripture "as we hope in you!"  

A prayer of faith to God is able to sustain that which He has created. A prayer of recognition of Him who has given of His own begotten Son to the salvation of mankind.  Scripture reveals: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son (the Lord Jesus Christ), that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides (or remains on him (John 3:36).  It is a conditional commitment; if one fails to receive Christ into one's heart and life, wrath instead of mercy comes into focus.

License to Immorality

Scripture reveals: There are certain men crept in unawares (or unnoticed), who were before of old ordained (or marked out) for this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (a license to immorality), and denying the Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).

They become as tares among the wheat spreading their poisonous doctrines.  There are many today who are writing their own doctrinal beliefs; casting aside Biblical principles of yesteryear.  Such individuals are turning the grace of God from its original nature, design, and use; thereby hardening and encouraging others towards a life of sin.

Those who are not  sound in God's Word can suffer the faith of losing out to the instructive Word of God through the deception of man.  Scripture reveals: That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men for all men have not faith (2 Thessalonians 3:2).

You Shall Know Them

A Bible commentary noted: No man has faith of himself, it is the gift of God, and the operation of His Spirit, and is given to the elect of God.  All professors of religion, even members of churches, may not always process what they profess.

Scripture reveals: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.  Whereby by their fruits you shall know them (Matthew 7:18-20).

A Bible commentary noted: Their fruit refers not only to action within their own life, but also the doctrines they proclaim.  Hope in man; that is a misplaced hope, can be detrimental to one's spirit!

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