Word Alive! © 2020 Fall Series
Unshakable Hope For Your Shaken World!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 24, Nov., 2020
Max Lucado, “Unshakeable Hope…” Lesson 6, (Chap. 6)
Devotional Time: “Unshakeable Hope” (pp. 57-68)
Humility And Hope – One of the great impediments to having hope is pride. The twin sibling of pride is arrogance. The psalmist says God will always take care of those who are humble, but “He stays away from the proud (cf. Psalm 138:6, NCV).” When the psalmist says the Lord stays away from us, it is meant that God distances Himself from our miscreant behavior. The farther we distance ourselves from God, the less likely we will have hope. In his study devotional, author and pastor Max Lucado says, “Indeed, the arrogant never feel the need for forgiveness. Pride is the hidden reef that shipwrecks the soul.” Solomon and the wisdom writers of the Old Testament felt the person with limited knowledge, had more hope than the arrogant person (cf. Proverbs 26:12, NLT). The instructive words to the faithful in ancient times was to reject dependence on their personal knowledge; turn to God and honor Him to attain a healthy and hopeful life (cf. Proverbs 3:7-8, NLT). A person’s speech and behavior matter when it comes to cultivating a mature sense of hope (cf. Proverbs 29:20, NLT). The reason why hope is related to personal behavior and character, is because God is concerned more about who we are and what we become, than He is with what we want. While there are many errant leaders in the Bible, perhaps none was so driven with arrogance and personal adulation than King Nebuchadnezzar. He ruled his nation during a period of prosperity and conquest. His opulent life style was matched only by the material spender of his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar built his kingdom on arrogance, self-glorification, and devious behavior. Daniel warned the king to depart from his evil ways, and to show more compassion for those who suffered in his kingdom (cf. Daniel 4:27, NLT). Nebuchadnezzar rejected Daniel’s godly advice, and a year later the king still refused to change (cf. Daniel 4:29-31, NLT). The absence of humility in a person’s thinking and behavior, cancels the possibility of any hope in God. All thoughts and desires orbit around one’s ego and self-interest! Max Lucado described Nebuchadnezzar this way: “During Nebuchadnezzar’s forty-three-year rule, greater Babylon’s population reached as high as half-million people. The king was part oil Baron, part royalty, part hedge-fund billionaire… But all of this was about to end.” God resists this kind of pride. Humility restores hope!
Judgment, Grace, and Hope – Our hope, like other Christian virtues (faith, love, perseverance, godliness, etc.) must be cultivated. There can be no true and sustaining hope without a right relationship with God. When self-interests dominate our thinking and behavior. our relationship with God becomes estranged. We live in a world where people believe there aren’t any consequences to sin, wrong, and unjust behavior. This may explain why people are reluctant to look beyond their self-absorption to experience the hope that God makes available to us. Daniel warned King Nebuchadnezzar about the realities of his unrepentant behavior. The king would be driven from his kingdom for seven years (cf. Daniel 4:32, NLT). Scriptures teach us that there are consequences to unrepentant sin. Nebuchadnezzar’s banishment and judgment would bring him to a knowledge of who God is (cf. Daniel 4:33, NLT)! It is only through our knowledge of God that we can attain godly wisdom and hope. Max Lucado said of Nebuchadnezzar: “When the mighty fall, the fall is mighty. One minute [it was like him being] on the cover of time magazine, the next he was banished like a caged creature. And he was left with a lesson: God hates pride.” The Apostle Peter addressed Christians during a difficult period, realizing he didn’t want the new believers to be distracted from the hope of their salvation, Peter warned them about pride, and urged the believers to embrace humility (cf. I Peter 5:5b-6, NLT). After seven years of judgment, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God with a sincere heart. It was this new found humility that brought about a new hope (cf. Daniel 4:34; 37, NLT). Arrogance must be disavowed if we are to become reconciled to God. Max Lucado observes that so often, “The arrogant never feel the need for forgiveness. Pride is the hidden reef that shipwrecks the soul.” He says further, “Pride comes at a high price. Don’t pay it. Choose instead to stand on the offer of grace.” God provides us with a welcome mat, allowing us to come home to Him. It is His grace that fills our hearts with righteousness, such that we can stand against evil thoughts and sinful behavior (cf. James 4:6, NLT).
What We Believe
There can be little hope without humility.
1. It’s better to humble ourselves, than to wait on God to do it!
2. Resisting God doesn’t bring hope. Trusting God does!
Proverbs 26:12, NLT
“There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise.”
Proverbs 3:7-8, NLT
“Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”
Proverbs 29:20 NLT
“There is more hope for aloof than for someone who speaks without thinking.”
Daniel 4:27, NLT
“King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.”
Daniel 4:29-31 NLT
“Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof the royal palace in Babylon. As he looked out across the city, he said, “Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.” While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven. “O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you. You are no longer ruler of this kingdom.”
Daniel 4:32, NLT
“You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields like the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone He chooses.”
Daniel 4:33, NLT
“The same hour the judgment was fulfilled and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.”
I Peter 5:5b-6, NLT
“God opposes the proud, but favors the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”
Daniel 4:34;37, NLT
“After this time passed, I Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity was restored, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and His kingdom eternal… Now I Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All His acts are just and true,and He is able to humble the proud.”
James 4:6. NLT
“But He gives us more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,“God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”