This week in our couple's group we were looking a bit into the writings of the prophet Isaiah who spoke during the last days of the kingdom of the northern part of Israel and a resurgence of the spiritual life of the southern part. The open scene in the book of Isaiah is King Uzziah dying. Uzziah was a good king, a king that followed God and led the nation toward God. His son, who reigned for 16 years after him was also good. Then the wheels feel. Ahaz moved the nation to idol worship and made alliances with the Assyrians for protection - bad decision that led them down the path of worshiping idols with him in the lead. This was the beginning of the end for the southern tribes.
Isaiah was a prophet of hope though. I the last part of his writings, he spoke of the coming Messiah, the suffering Savior how was to be the salvation of the world. He also spoke of the restoration of Israel in the future. After recounting the re-establishment of that nation in chapter 49, he makes this statement:
23....Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.
This is an amazing statement about the character of God. It reminds me about God's challenge about tithing in Malachi 3 - test me on this and see if I am not faithful. Test me. Try me out. See if what I say is not true. See if I am truthful to my word.
As I thought about this, I wondered about what I put my hope in and why. There are times when my hope is displaced - I hope in other things. I put my hope in things or people or position or money - I want them to deliver me happiness, contentment, joy, peace - they never do (at least not for long enough duration). They disappoint. I try them and they disappoint. I try them over and over again and am disappointed over and over again - that's the problem.
My challenge to the group and to myself was - root out those things in my life that I put my hope in (another word for this would be "idol") and put my trust totally in the Lord. Then, and only then, I will not be disappointed.