Our Hope

For Thursday, July 26, 2007
Proverbs 23:17-18

Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.

It is easy to envy sinners. Consider what they have. They may sin without guilt. They may even recast sin as good and natural. They have no commands to obey. They have no responsibility for their neighbor. The only responsibility they have is what they place upon themselves, which they may remove at any time. They may give thought to their pleasure without considering anyone else, including an omniscient God who watches them. They can make life to be the way they want it to be.

Believers, on the other hand, are saddled with the two great commands to love God with all that one has and to love one's neighbor as oneself. We cannot do anything without taking these commands into account. We live in the world, but are not allowed to be of the world, which greatly complicates our lives. Furthermore, we have an omniscient God whom we know will judge us.

What do we get in return? We are given a sure future; we have a securce hope of eternal joy and even glory, living in the presence of our God. But if we are perceptive enough, we will see that our hope lies not only in the promise of God about the future, but in the present blessings of today. Blessed is the man now who walks in the path of righteousness because his life now is filled with purpose. Now he is a blessing to others. Now he is rendering profitable service to his Lord. Now he is filled with the Holy Spirit, knows God as his Father, and experiences the blessings found in his Redeemer. It is because we glimpse the present glory that we can feel in our hearts the future glory and know that our hope will not be cut off.