Introduction: One of the most famous quotations on hope is found in Alexander Pope's "Essay on Man." It was written 250 years ago:
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest."
This fatalistic pessimism is clearly depicted in what Pope called "the ninth beatitude," which he wrote to fellow poet John Gay. It says "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." What a despairing view of hope!
I like Cicero's line on hope much better than Pope's. Cicero's famous line, "While there's life, there's hope," is much more encouraging. But the great preacher and writer, John Bunyan, gives the better insight to hope when he wrote, "Hope is never ill when faith is well." I believe, "Where there's faith, there's hope."
No doubt, there are experiences of life which leave us with a sense of hopelessness and challenge our faith. But a faith which reaches out to God amid distressing circumstances will experience a personal victory and renewed hope.
This was the experience of the great King of Israel and writer of the Psalms -- David. Amid tragic and personal conflict, David experienced personal victory through his faith relationship with God.
From his experience, we learn that when the circumstances of life leave you with a sense of hopelessness, you can find help in God.
Let us look at the ...
I. Feeling of hopelessness which threatens us
Explanation: If anyone was justified in feeling hopeless because of dire circumstances, David was. He experienced ...
1. A negative situation - v. 1. Assault by kin and enemy. Absalom, David's son had garnered support all over Israel in his rebellion against his father, the King. The enemies of David were in the wings ready to join the rebels in overthrowing David's reign. The army of Absalom was so great that David could not defend the capital city. Therefore, he had to flee the assault of Absalom.
During the night, he made flight with a few faithful followers. II Samuel 15:30 paints the pitiful picture of David as he departs Jerusalem and ascends the Mount of Olives. A distressing and depressing scene! There was cause for feeling hopeless!
Transition Statement: But the assault on David was not the only circumstance of seeming despair David faced. He also experienced the ...
2. Negative accusations - v. 2. Accusations by others. Many were saying God had abandoned David. In II Samuel 16:5-8, the King was stoned and cursed by Shimei (read text.) The railing accusation pierced to the very soul of David.
Armyless, throneless, David faced the darkness of despairing circumstances. His situation was all but hopeless.
Transition Statement: Being a Christian does not exempt you from tough times or strength-draining situations.
Application: There are times when life's circumstances are so difficult that you are turned toward despair. The situ ...
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