There is a thrilling Old Testament story that best illustrates what it means to be kept by the power of God. We find it in 2 Kings 6.
Benhadad, king of Syria, declared war on Israel and marched against them with a great army. As his forces advanced, he often called his war counsel into his private chambers to plan the next day’s strategy. But the prophet Elisha, moved by the Holy Spirit, kept sending word to the king of Israel, detailing every move of the enemy troops. On several occasions, the Israelites escaped defeat because of Elisha’s warnings.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul writes, “Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Philippians 2:16). Paul was picturing the day when he would stand in Christ’s presence and the secrets of redemption would be unveiled.
We have learned from Isaiah 49 that the Lord knows your battle. He has fought it before you. And it is no sin to endure thoughts that your labor has been in vain, or to be cast down with a sense of failure over shattered expectations. Jesus himself experienced this and was without sin.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
We hear a lot about hope — from politicians, from books, from multimedia. But what is offered in each of these messages doesn’t seem to last. We may get fired up and encouraged by what we hear in such messages; indeed, we may find ourselves refreshed and hopeful for a season. But what is offered is not a fixed, experienced hope and it soon fades away.
“Concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).
Do you ever feel as though you haven’t accomplished much in life, and many promises are unfulfilled? If so, you’re in good company; in fact, you are standing among spiritual giants.
Many great servants of God throughout history ended up feeling that they failed in their calling. The prophet Elijah looked at his life and cried, “Lord, take me home! I’m no better than my fathers, and all of them failed you. Please, take my life! Everything has been in vain” (see 1 Kings 19:4).