H – HOPE and HALLELU’YAH!
The Promise of Hope
It is fitting that we conclude our season of summer growth with a confirmation of the source and reason for our hope, and with a resultant outpouring of our hearts in gratitude and praise.
In his very relevant book Future Tense, Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of England, quotes economist Alan Greenspan’s observation that we are entering an age of turbulence, which can engender fear. However, as Rabbi Sacks describes, “The antidote to fear is faith, a faith that knows the dangers but never loses hope.”  He connects this hope to the Jewish people and says: “The Jewish people are ancient but still young; a suffering people still suffused with moral energy; a people who have known the worst fate can throw at them, and can still rejoice. They remain a living symbol of hope.” Significantly, the stirring and beautiful national anthem of Israel is simply entitled HaTikvah, “The Hope.”
The greatest aim of the enemy of God and His people, the enemy of our souls, is to rob one of hope. To be rendered ‘hopeless’ can be likened to being ‘lifeless’. There is indeed truth in the axiom, “Where there is life there is hope” and vice versa. Central aims of the perpetrators of terror and violence in the world today are to instill fear and to extinguish hope. We know, however, that the One who promised is faithful; He who said,
“I know the plans I have for you… plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). The Lord’s love and truth cast out all fear. As Yeshua proclaimed, “Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36). He assured us, “Shalom I leave with you; my shalom I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John14:27).
The apostle Paul beautifully expresses our peace and hope in Messiah in his epistle to the Romans,
“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord and Messiah Yeshua. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God” (5:1-2).
Paul continues his exhortation with the acknowledgement that it is through our trials and challenges that we are strengthened and grow in character. In turn, this growth strengthens our resolve and our hope. He writes:
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
Yes, our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy Name. Let Thy steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in Thee.
Dear brothers and sisters, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
The Joy of HalleluYah!
Inherent to our faith is a recognition of the infinite greatness of God and the astonishing realization that God believes in us as well. Just as His Presence was evident to the Israelites at the shore of the sea, God our Father and Redeemer is with us and actively assists us in achieving His plans and purposes for our lives. This knowledge should cause a personal song of praise – one’s own HalleluYah – to rise up and go forth to harmonize with God’s great, eternal symphony; the all-encompassing song of Creation that lifts up endless, glorious praise to the great Creator. When we are “in tune” with our Father’s calling and fulfilling His mission for our lives, our souls will sing in resonance with His Spirit of holiness. It will be a song of grateful praise and celebration – a healed and jubilant HalleluYah!
The Hebrew letters of the word Mashiach, mem-shin-yod-chet, can be rearranged to form the word yismach – to rejoice! The Song of Messiah is a full and glorious crescendo in the Symphony of God – the song that will burst forth at the Final Redemption, when all will be brought into one, whole, free and joyful Psalm of Praise!
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes!
…He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his truth.
The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
(Psalm 96:11-13; 97:1)
Clasp your hands together, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy! (Psalm 47:1)
~Keren Hannah Pryor
1. Johnathan Sacks, Future Tense, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 2009, 10.
2. Tamid 3:8
3. 2 Samuel 23:11
4. John O’Donohue, Beauty – The Invisible Embrace, Harper-Collins, NY, 2004, 71.