Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
Unshakable Hope For Your Shaken World!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 12, Jan., 2021
Max Lucado, “Unshakable Hope…” Lesson 13, (Chap. 13)
Devotional Time: “Unshakable Hope” (pp. 141-152)
Hope: Justice Will Prevail – The reality of living, is that life can be unfair. One of the greatest complexities of life, is that bad things can happen to people who are decent, faithful, and of good-will. We agonize over the fact that everyone is not treated fairly are justly. In the wake of this irony, how do we perceive hope when unfair and unpleasant events invade our lives and space? This was on the mind of David when he was surrounded by Philistine enemies. He said: “How long, O Lord will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions!” (Cf. Psalm 35:17, NLT). In our most vulnerable moments, we may be tempted to feel as David, that help from the Lord is slow in arriving. Regardless of our worries, there’s often a reservoir of hope that inevitably emerges and sustains us. In reflecting on his dilemma sometime later, David said: “For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly (cf. Psalm 37:17, NLT). The scriptures teach us that whatever the circumstances, Gods’ judgment and justice will prevail (cf. Psalm 96:12-13, NLT). God has His own timing and plan, to act on our behalf. In his devotional, Unshakable Hope, author and pastor Max Lucado offers this: “He [God] is not sitting idly by. He is not twiddling his thumbs. Every flip of the calendar brings us closer to the day in which God will judge all evil.” God who is just, is personified in the scriptures as One who is present, and operates in our personal affairs (cf. Psalm 89:13-14, NLT). Because God is right and just in dealing with us, He expects us to demonstrate the same virtues toward each other (cf. Proverbs 21:3, NLT). Jeremiah prophesied the coming of a ruler, who would be “right and just.” He would be assigned the name, Yahweh Tsidqenu, the Lord of Righteousness (cf. Jeremiah 23:5-6, NLT). This is a promise that regardless of how unjust things are, God will remedy the situation. The Hebrew word, tsedeq (tseh dek) is employed in the scriptures to mean “to be right,” or, “to be altogether just.” God’s judgment is His justice; and His justice is His judgment! When God brings about justice, He also judges or corrects what is wrong. Max Lucado says, “We disdain the judgment, but we value justice, yet the second is impossible without the first. One can’t have justice without judgment.”
Hope In A Justice Never Denied– In the Jewish synagogue or temple there is an elevated platform in the nave, or center, of the sanctuary. Similarly, in many Protestant churches this raised platform is called a pulpit, and its origin goes back to the period after the exile, when the Jews reestablished corporate worship. Ezra stood on the platform, which later was called the bema, to declare the judgment of God. The bema was called the Judgment Seat. It is there, that the voice of God would declare judgment and justice. The prophets echoed the voice of God in admonishing people to “do what is right and just” (cf. Ezekiel 45:9a, NLT). The prophets warned that justice is not only what God does, but what we are expected to do as well (cf. Micah 6:8, NLT). Because inevitably God does not deny justice, we are morally bound to be just and right. God is more interested in how we live, than our mere exercise in worship rituals and practices (cf. Amos 5:23-24, NLT). God does not require of us, what He does not do. He is a God of justice and righteousness, and we are expected to live just and righteous lives! When evils confront us, we should not despair. God has a “set time” when presently He will act on our behalf; and another a time, when Christ will return to bring judgment to the world (cf. Acts 17:30-31, NLT). Our source of hope comes through the Gospel message, which reminds us that we are heirs of the promises of God, through our faith in His son, Jesus Christ. It is the perpetual nature of our faith, which allows us to live a “just” life, even when injustice and wrong are all around us (cf. Romans 1:17, NLT). When the world was collapsing around the prophet Habakkuk, he learned that there was hope in the faith that caused him to live a just life (cf. Habakkuk 2:4b, NLT). Our faith and hope are in Christ, who always rules with fairness and justice. What we believe about Christ, is that wrong and evil ultimately will be eradicated. Life is not fair, but our hope is in the fair and just God. In what my ancestors called a “mean” world, justice will prevail, because our Lord will cause it to happen (cf. Isaiah 9:7, NLT).
What We Believe
God’s justice and His judgment give us hope.
1. God’s justice delayed is never His justice denied!
2. Our hope is in a God who inevitably will set things right!
Psalm 96:12-13, NLT
“Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the Lord, for He is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice,and the nations with His truth.”
Psalm 89:13-14, NLT
“Powerful is your arm! Strong is your hand! Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.”
Proverbs 21:3, NLT
“The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer Him sacrifices.”
Jeremiah 23:5-6, NLT“For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a king who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be His name:“The Lord Is Our Righteousness.” In that day Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.”
Ezekiel 45:9a, NLT
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough you princes of Israel! Stop your violence and oppression and do what is just and right.”
Micah 6:8, NLT
“No. O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Amos 5:23-24, NLT
“Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps, but now He commands everyone every-where to repent of their sins and turn to Him. For He has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man He appointed, and He proved to everyone who this is by raising Him from the dead.”
Romans 1:17, NLT
“The Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person [the just] has life.”
Isaiah 9:7, NLT
“His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make it happen.”