Title: ABOUNDING IN HOPE WHEN THE WORLD LEAVES YOU HOPELESS
Text: Jeremiah 17:5-8
Have you been in a situation where it looked like you were hoping against all hope? Is there hope when the world leaves you hopeless? Listen to this story. Illus. – Letter to David Wilkerson
It may be a dead-end marriage, health problems or family problems and it seems like there is no way out. Even if we brought it upon ourselves, it may seem like we are stuck for life. The resulting depression can give you false thoughts like God doesn’t seem to hear us…nothing ever changes…it’s only going from bad to worse.
It has been said that the only things worse than insanity are despair and hopelessness. But praise the Lord we serve a God of hope! Rom. 15:13 The Greek word for hope (elpo) means to look forward to with pleasurable confidence and expectation. What an incredible idea about hope! To abound in hope with expectation! That means when we place confidence in the Lord, there enough to spare…our supply is overflowing. God is in the business of supplying hope. He’s the God of miracles, don’t you know?! When hope is alive, the night is less dark…the loneliness is less deep…the fear is less frightening!
So, how do you normally respond to a distressing situation? Most of us would respond by wanting a change in the situation. But here is the first jewel in the crown of hope that Paul gives us: Hope is to have an outpouring of patience that can wait for God to handle things His way, in His timing! The peace comes when you release the matter to His control. Let’s look at God’s hope a little further.
1. What usually happens to your emotions when you have taken someone for their word and the later didn’t keep it?
When we place our _______ (trust) in man and he doesn’t keep it, we plant seeds of _____________ (hopelessness). Jer. 17:5-6 What is the immediate result to the man who puts his trust in man according to that passage? How is his illustration fitting for the point he made?
Insight: Jeremiah introduces two laws of spiritual life here. One leads to life and hope; the other leads to death and hopelessness.
2. How do we know when we are trusting in man rather than God? (If we come apart at the seams when someone lets you down, or their actions affect your walk with God, then you are leaning on the arm of flesh.) What’s the one guarantee you can have if you put your trust in man? (You will get hurt!) What advise does Paul give us in Phil. 3:2-3?
3. Much of the hurt comes from being let down by someone close to us. But the problem is not with “them” but being cut off from God like a shrub in the desert, cut off from the supply of water (Jer. 17:6). What is Jermiah’s advice if we find ourselves cut off from our supply of hope according to Jer. 17:7? (Don’t run to man, look to God. We have cursed ourselves because we have not drawn water from His well.)
Insight: Despair has you sitting with your head between your hands saying, “God’s not doing anything for me so I will have to grit my teach and do the best I can. I’ll have to do it alone and try to survive.” Hopelessness is the curse of trusting in man.
4. When you’ve lost hope, what’s the next progression of things to follow? (It leads to being reckless with your life and wishing bad things upon those whom let you down.) Jer. 18:15 What do you think Jeremiah meant by “burning incense to a worthless god” in this context? (When abandoning God, we look for sources of help in the wrong place.)
Insight: If you remain in your hopelessness, you may listen to the wrong voice and be led to do things you never thought were possible, and it’s all “because My people have forgotten Me.” Jer. 17:10-13 Hopelessness is like a whirlpool sucking you down deeper and deeper. First despair, then you shut your ears to godly counsel, then the heart hardens, then self-pity eats away at you, then all you can see is the problem, not Jesus.
5. Fill in the blank according to Jer. 17:7 “Blessed is the man who ___________________________.”
Principle: Peace is not found in trying to manipulate others or trying to please all people. It’s found by placing your trust in God alone! Ex. 20:3-6
Just what does “God alone” mean? How do we manifest that our trust is in God alone?
6. Fill in the blanks on this treasured hymn: “My hope is built on nothing less than ________ (Jesus”) blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but _________(wholly) lean on Jesus’ name. On _______ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is ___________ _________ (sinking sand).”
Comment: Putting your trust and hope in the Lord does not mean you tell Him how to fly your plane, nor where to fly your plane. Trust says, “I’ll go where You want me to go, I’ll do what You want me to do.”
7. To what does Jeremiah compare the one who puts their trust in the Lord in Jer. 17:7-8? (Like a tree planted near a river that heals everything it touches.) The Hebrew word for “planted” (shathal) actually means, “transplanted.”
Insight: Faith and hope uproots the dry, fruitless desert-shrub that is scorched, and transplants it by the living stream of God! Ps. 46:4-5; Ps. 65:9-10
This kind of lesson does not allow you to study it and walk away. It calls each of us to examine where we have put our roots.
Are your roots in the barren soil of putting your hope in man?
Or are your roots on the banks of the river of God?
Do you need to do some uprooting and transplanting?
How is it that some believers abound in hope? Is it because they don’t have any problems? No! The truth is they probably have learned to put their roots in God’s river! If you are rooted in the river you don’t need a revival…you don’t need showers of blessings…you don’t need a special outpouring…because you are drawing from the river of life! If I had to choose between revival and roots, I’d take roots any day!
So how do we transplant our roots to His River? The secret to the river of God is to ___________ for Him! Ps. 42:1-2, 5 The answer to a despairing soul is to HOPE in God!
Listen to this song. (Psalm 63, p.21)