We’re in our second day of looking at the theme of “hope” and starting from the beginning of the Bible our second selection is found in 1 Chronicles 29:14-16
“But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.
“For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.
“O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours. (NASB)
I was surprised when I read that phrase: “there is no hope.” No hope? The Bible says there’s no hope? Then what are we doing here trusting and “hoping” in God. I can see where this phrase could be misused by some and I was determined to figure out whether my initial reaction to it was sound.
After looking up several translations, it wasn’t until I found the Amplified version that I understood it’s underlying meaning: “For we are strangers before You, and sojourners, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope or expectation of remaining.’”
Ah! This gives a better perspective. The meaning is not that there isn’t any hope, but that there is no hope of remaining on this earth longer than God intends for each of us to live.
I think this is significant because so often with the Bible we read a verse or passage and we think we know what it means. After all, the words are clear. But sometimes, as in this case, we may not have all the information we need.
Along those lines, I always think of the phrase in the Bible, “there is no God.” I can see someone saying to someone who doesn’t know the Bible: “Did you know the Bible says there is no god?” “Really?” they might reply.
But the verse actually says, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (NASB)
How careful we need to be to not only quote the Bible correctly and understand the context that it’s written in, but also seek the underlying meanings of words.
And that is true with the short passage we’re looking at on hope. But the first meaning says we don’t have any hope of living longer than God intends. But also read the verse before and after. It’s fun to see if there is a connection or contrast. I think there is a contrast.
Because the word hope in verse 15 is surrounded by hope. There is hope that we can give back to God because He so generously gives to us. There is hope that He will always provide for us. The very fact that He determines the length of our days means that He is in control; so therefore, we have the hope that our loving God is in control of every aspect of our lives.
I’m buoyed up by thinking of hope in this context. We have hope for so much: God’s provision, God’s sovereignty, and God’s interest in every area of our lives, including our death. I hope it buoys you up also.