No Longer Hoping Word on the Week 15th October 2022.
We are now entering the fifth week of our outreach entitled ‘What’s the Story’? The question raised this week is entitled “Is there Hope in the Face of Death”? Sometimes it is difficult to understand what exactly hope is. Perhaps it will be shown up in relief, looking first at a situation where it is absent.
Our first home, after we married, was on the Noss peninsula in the North of Scotland. Nearby, on the edge of the sea cliff stood the remains of Sinclair Castle. It was built of red sandstone marching the rock to which it clung. One of its claims to fame was a bottle shaped dungeon. Prisoners were lowered into it by rope. There was no way out. Archaeologists brave enough to go down into it found, apart from bones, scratched on the sandstone wall the words ‘Nae (No) Hope’.
That example of no hope in the face of death is at the physical level. The Bible takes us to a spiritual level where, whatever the physical circumstances, hope can still burn bright.
Job is an example of this hope. He is struggling with the conclusion that his misfortunes are from God. His love for God tries to cope with what he sees as injustice and he makes the memorable statement, “Though he slay me yet will I hope in him” (Job Chapter 13 verse 15).
There is a general type of hope that many adopt in the face of death. This hope is placed on the way they have lived, with what is thought to be good sufficient to purchase the imaginary ticket to heaven. It is at funerals that these deeds get an airing and no doubt the deceased merited what was said.
When Dick Keogh was on his way to mass he was stopped by a friend who has become a Christian. The friend showed Dick the passage in Hebrews where Jesus offered for all time one sacrifice for sins and sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews Chapter 10 verses 11 to 14). Dick saw that Christ’s sacrifice had once and for all time made perfect those who are being made Christian. Hope for the Christian is simply Jesus Christ.
He went on to write the popular tract “No Longer Hoping”. What he had hoped for (a new heart) had happened (Hebrews Chapter 10 verses 15 to 25).
The last word should go to the hymn writer whose old hymn modern songsters will not let go of. It was inspired by the Jesus parable of the wise man who built his house upon a rock and written by Edward Mote around 200 years ago.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,(person)
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.