When Your Hope is Hanging By a Thread



“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

I’m sure there have been times in your life when you’ve felt like giving up or letting go of some ethereal dream. A time that finally causes you to admit it will never come to pass. Perhaps God has revealed to you, through His Word, some promise you grasped onto at a desperate moment. However, you’ve waited so long for its fulfillment that you begin to believe you must have misunderstood God’s intentions.

There must have been times when the patriarchs, after hearing from God, waited so long that they contemplated giving up too. Abraham comes to mind when he took Sarah’s handmaid to bear his promised son. Joseph waited years for his God-given dream to transpire. Noah stuck to the instructions God gave him even though he saw no sign of rain for decades.

The Hebrew word for ‘hope’ is often translated tiqvah. The first time this word is used in the Bible is in Joshua 2:18, 21. It’s not translated ‘hope’ here, but line or cord, referring to the scarlet rope hanging in Rahab’s window. Isn’t it interesting that Rahab’s future was dependent upon that scarlet rope? You could say her whole family’s future was hanging by a thread. You see, she had heard about the God of Israel and she believed. Her confession of faith, as recorded in Joshua 2:11, was the source of her hope. When she is spoken of in Hebrews 11, her lies were not mentioned, just her faith.

Let’s focus on the phrase, ‘a future and a hope.’ These encouraging words are found together a number of times. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says when we begin to seek Him with all our heart not only will He listen to our prayers, but He will reveal Himself to us and restore us from our losses (Jeremiah 29:12-14).

Again, in Jeremiah 31 the same combination of words is recorded. In verse 16, God says to quit emoting and start believing that He will reward your faith. Verse 17 says there is hope in your future. The word ‘future’ is the same word used in Jeremiah 29:11—it can be translated reward. The phrase, ‘a future and a hope,’ or ‘hope in your future’ can be translated, ‘the things hoped for as a reward.’

In Proverbs 24:14,

“So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect [reward], And your hope will not be cut off.”

Here again is the same combination of words, tiqvah and achariyth, meaning future or reward. God is good and He is faithful. He’ll give you a new heart and place new desires or hopes in that heart (Psalm 37:3-4). Not only that, but when you choose to trust and hope in Him, He will also perform those desires for you (Psalm 37:5).

When we get sick, we often put our trust in doctors, hoping that medicine or surgery will save us. Likewise, when financial problems overtake us, we often combine all our debts into one—refinancing seems to be the right solution. To be safe, we put our trust in home security or a firearm. Looking to God for a solution to these problems is not part of most of our plans. And that is where the problem lies. Too many of us have no hope in God. We would rather trust in what we can see.

The Lord says that His people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge, and an avoidance of addressing His law (Hosea 4:6). God’s blessings are linked to obedience (Psalm 112). He will give revelation to those who obey Him (1 Corinthians 2:9-10; Acts 5:32). Yet God says that the priests and shepherds have violated His law (Ezekiel 22:26).


Many teach that the Commandments are no longer valid and that grace replaces obedience. But He didn’t say it was alright to steal, kill, and destroy. These spiritual leaders teach that, with grace, anything goes. This false teaching actually causes crime and violence to run wild (Ezekiel 13:22). They don’t make a clear enough distinction between right and wrong, good and bad. How can you hope in God’s promises if you’re not keeping His Word?

The words ‘hope’ and ‘trust’ are sometimes interchangeable. Trusting in God and hoping in His Word are closely linked. That’s how you can check to see if you’re hoping in/for the right things. If “it is written,” or the principle is in God’s Word, you’re on the right track.

Perhaps you have heard or experienced that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). However, the rest of that verse says that when the hope is fulfilled your strength is renewed. David said he would have given up; except he believed he would experience the goodness of God in his lifetime (Psalm 27:13-14; Psalm 31:24). When your hope seems to be hanging by a thread, remember Rahab and her scarlet cord. That’s all she had to hope in and her new-found faith in the God of Israel. God is good and He will deliver you too.

“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14)


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