Blessings as we enter 2019,
We sought the Lord for a specific word for us as we enter a new calendar year. I (Jamie) felt that I had definitely heard the word HOPE in my spirit. Since I don’t like to repeat anything that we have written before, I always check past newsletters to make sure we have a fresh word from God. For forty years our prayer has been, “Abba, what do YOU want to say to Your people?” To my dismay, we found a newsletter on HOPE from September 2016. I said to Neil, “Oh, no. I must have missed God. HOPE can’t be His word for us for 2019.” Neil disagreed. I prayed and waited a week. Here is what happened: Neil had me focus on the name of the new plant that we recently purchased for our condo patio: “Esperanza” (in Spanish). We passed a church with a sign: “Hope found here.” An old classic song that my parents loved came to me as I slept: “Whispering Hope.” We went to Costco and a lady was serving samples of tiramisu. Her name: Esperanza. The Healing Rooms’ website said, “God is releasing new wells of hope.” Finally, we received Marty Goetz’s (and his daughter Misha’s) new album which includes a song, “The Plans I Have For You” about a “future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).
So…I yielded, to my husband and to the Lord, and began to research HOPE. Israel’s Historical Expectations
HOPE: Our Portion in 2019
God knew something that we did not know—that I would be scheduled to begin writing this newsletter on the day that Neil began chemotherapy as a result of the prostate cancer that he had in 2000. Over the past eighteen years, the Lord has miraculously sustained and blessed Neil with great health and energy, even though the prostate cancer was still lingering. He had never had chemotherapy, but highly elevated numbers in November indicated that it could no longer be avoided. We were caught by surprise, but God was not.
So…I sat with Neil on the third day of Hanukkah, believing God for a nes gadol (nes gah-DOLE), a big miracle. It was then that I realized that perhaps I was writing this letter on HOPE for us as much as for all of you! We certainly do have hope. We have HOPE in God’s Love which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). We have HOPE in God’s Word, and we agree with King David, who proclaimed, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word” (Ps. 119:114). We have HOPE in God’s Mercy. “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy…” (Ps. 33:18). And last but not least, we have HOPE in God’s Faithfulness. God keeps His Word, He is all powerful, and nothing is impossible for Him. We can trust Him with every aspect of our lives, knowing that our Father keeps His promises. We love Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” We choose to confess Psalm 38:15 in faith, “For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.” The God who has been Faithful in the past will certainly be Faithful in the future, until the end.
Hebrew Roots of Hope
The word for HOPE in Hebrew is tikvah (teek-VAH). The verb form means to wait or to have expectation. This concept of hope is found in Psalm 62:5, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” (In Hebrew, the word for “expectation” is teek-vah-TEE.)
The first time the word tikvah is found in the Tanach (Old Covenant) is in Ruth 1:12, where Naomi tells her two daughters-in-law to return to their own country since she can no longer give them sons to be their husbands. Naomi has no hope (teek-VAH). But God had a plan. Naomi had no idea that the God of HOPE would one day place a baby in her arms, the child of her daughter-in-law Ruth, who would be the grandfather of King David and the ancestor of the Messiah of Israel.
Many of the psalms of King David include references to hoping in the God of Israel. “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD” (Ps. 31:24). “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Ps. 39:7). “For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth” (Ps. 71:5).
There are three verses in Psalms about HOPE that are almost identical: Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5. A new Bible translation, The Passion Translation, translates these verses into English with a unique perspective on God’s passionate love for us:
“So then, my soul, why would you be depressed? Why would you sink into despair? Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior. For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, for living before his face is my saving grace” (Ps. 42:5).
“So I say to my soul, ‘Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be disturbed. For I know my God will break through for me.’ Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise him all over again. Yes, living before his face is my saving grace!” (Ps. 42:11).
“Then I will say to my soul, ‘Don’t be discouraged; don’t be disturbed, for I fully expect my SaviorGod to break through for me. Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise him all over again.’ Yes, living before his face is my saving grace!” (Ps. 43:5).
Perhaps the most famous Scripture on HOPE in the entire Tanach is Jeremiah 29:11. Some of you may even embrace this verse as your “life verse”: “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 (teek-VAH).'” There is always hope for those of us who know God. “Hopeless” is not in our vocabulary!
What follows Jeremiah 29:11 is often overlooked but equally encouraging: “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jer. 29:12). The HOPE continues in the next verse, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).
The God of Israel spoke these words to His people through the prophet Jeremiah at a time when things seemed hopeless. The Israelites had just been taken into exile in Babylon. They thought they would never see Jerusalem again and were without hope. But God! He restored His People to their land, caused them to flourish, and has since fought for them time and time again.
Even when God’s people were like dry bones in a valley, the Lord God of Israel spoke, and the bones came alive. God explained this to the prophet Ezekiel: “…Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!” (Ezek. 37:11). Israel had lost hope, but God made a promise of resurrection and restoration, and He fulfilled it. He always keeps His promises!
Hope For Israel Today
Israel today is surrounded by enemies who seek her destruction. Hamas. Hezbollah. Iran. Fatah. Anti-Semitic United Nations agencies have also called for Israel’s destruction. Did you know that the U.N. has a $65 million anti-Israel, taxpayer-funded law fare slush fund?
There is an International Criminal Court (ICC) that is pursuing new, false war crimes charges against Israel, instead of against terrorists. And the terrorists continue launching rockets, incendiary kites, firebombs, and Iranian missiles on the people of Israel.
So where is the hope? In God, through the prayers of Bible believers, and through organizations that take a stand on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. One of these organizations, the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice), under Messianic Jewish Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, does a commendable job of defending Israel in the court system and in the U.N. We personally support this organization and encourage you to pray about doing the same.
Another source of HOPE for Israel is the World Jewish Congress (WJC), a traditional Jewish organization that speaks out boldly against anti-Semitism and bigotry, hatred and intolerance, demanding that leaders and governments take decisive action against these forces of evil.
Recently, a ray of hope was reported by the WJC concerning the United Nations. A recent vote condemned the use of human shields. The resolution was specifically aimed at Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that controls the Gaza Strip and has used human shields in conflicts with Israel as a propaganda tactic. Hamas terrorists hide behind women and children while attacking civilians and use schools and hospitals for weapon storage and launching sites. When truth is revealed, there is hope.
HaTikvah, The Hope
HaTikvah is the name of Israel’s National Anthem. It literally means “The Hope.” The lyrics to “HaTikvah” were written in 1886 by Naphtali Herz Imber, and the music is by Samuel Cohen. A beautiful rendition of the song is sung by Marty Goetz and Misha on their Live from Jerusalem album. “The Plans I Have For You” (Jer. 29:11) is also on the album. Order your CD this month, and receive HOPE in song!
Jews all over the world sing “HaTikvah” because they look to Israel, their spiritual homeland. Jerusalem has a spiritual tug that transcends time and place. God’s HOPE and Israel’s HOPE merge there.
Hope for the Unborn
As we thought about HOPE for 2019, we realized that the local pro-life centers that we support here in Fort Lauderdale are called HOPE WOMEN’S CENTERS. Their website states: “Our mission is clear. Hope Women’s Centers exist to encourage and equip women and men to make informed decisions regarding unplanned pregnancies…Our desire is to provide hassle-free, no-cost services in a convenient, confidential atmosphere.” The centers are operated by strong Bible-believers who are fulfilling the mandate to “be a voice for those who have no voice.”
This is a crucial calling, since more than 838,000 babies were killed in 2018, over 2,250 per day. The abortions are taxpayer-funded. Hundreds of millions of our dollars are spent on the murder of defenseless infants! Unthinkable, but reality.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion mills have been referred for criminal prosecution for illegally selling the body parts of aborted babies for profit. Please pray that “Big Abortion” is exposed and shut down, across the U.S. Pray also that the FDA will be exposed if this agency is indeed buying aborted babies’ body parts to use in creating human immune systems in mice.
Is there any HOPE? There is a bill called the “Heartbeat Bill” that was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives in Nov. 2018, which would ban women from receiving an abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. This is a potential challenge to Roe v. Wade and a sign of HOPE for life. In other states, like Iowa, similar bills have been signed into law.
Pray that the Supreme Court, with a conservative majority now, takes a stand for life, considering what the Bible says in verses such as these: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb…My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret…” (Ps. 139:13, 15). And pray for organizations such as Operation Rescue who put their very lives on the line taking a stand for the unborn. Their theme scripture is Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Operation Rescue, led by Troy Newman, uses peaceful, legal means to uncover abortion clinic wrongdoing, expose it to the public, and bring the offending abortionists to justice. They need our prayers.
The Messianic Hope
For religious Jews, there is a Messianic Hope. A hope of a Messiah who is a future King from the Davidic line. This king is expected to be anointed with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age and the World to Come. This Messiah is often referred to as “King Messiah” (Melech Mashiach, MEH-lekh Mah-SHE-akh). Over three hundred prophecies in the Tanach point to this Messianic King. They have been, or will be, fulfilled in one person: Yeshua of Nazareth. He is the answer to the Messianic Hope. Yeshua is the long-awaited Redeemer, HaGoel.
Yeshua is called a “Better Hope” in the Brit Hadasha. (See Hebrews 7:17-19.) There was hope in the Torah, but not until Yeshua came, died, and rose again was their hope of sin being defeated once for all time, eternal life is available to all who believe, victory over the flesh and the devil, and light that would dispel all darkness. The Covenant sealed by Yeshua’s blood is a “Better Covenant.” Yeshua is God’s “Better Hope.” “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which is established on better promises” (Heb. 8:6). This is referring to the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-33 through which God’s law moves from the outside on tablets of stone to inside the human heart. The gift of the Holy Spirit, as the seal of this New Covenant, is our HOPE of being able to please God and keep His commandments.
The incarnation of the Son of God brought the “Better Hope” down to earth. Good tidings. Good News. The Gospel (in Hebrew, beh-so-RAH). In Aramaic, the Good News is called “the joyful message of hope.” Messiah has come to set us free, to give us peace and life in abundance. Through Him, we have HOPE in both this life and the next. (See John 11:25.) Hope is a Person: Yeshua HaMashiach. Rabbi Saul (Paul) called Yeshua “our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1). The Apostle Peter also refers to Messiah as our hope (1 Peter 1:3). Yeshua is hope for both Jews and Gentiles. (See Romans 15:12 and Ephesians 2:12-13.)
Hope, An Anchor for the Soul
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Yeshua, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19-20). Our soul is secure in our Savior. Our anchor holds, in every storm that we face. Our God is with us—Immanuel.
We have a glorious future HOPE: the return of our Messiah for His bride. The Bible calls this the “Blessed Hope.” “…Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Yeshua HaMashiach…” (Titus 2:13).
P.S. We covet and appreciate your prayers! Love in our HOPE,