18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
Hope is an emotion characterized by positive feelings about the immediate or long-term future. Often hope is coupled with high motivation, optimism, and a generally elevated mood.
Psychology tells us that hope is a compound attitude, consisting of a desire for an outcome and a belief in that outcome’s possibility. Trusting in an all powerful God is a great foundation for the desire and belief in the possibility of unexpected outcomes
Romans 8:24-25 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
22-25 It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realised our full sonship in him. We were saved by this hope, but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we haven’t yet got. But if we hope for something we cannot see, then we must settle down to wait for it in patience.
The bible is rich in metaphors that call us to hope in Him
Humans are born wired for connection – it’s in our DNA, as strong a need as food, water and warmth. And if you look at a newborn baby, that makes sense. Unless babies successfully attach to their mother, they won’t be able to survive – human infants are born completely helpless, so we are entirely reliant on our caregivers. A loving, secure relationship is literally a matter of life and death for babies.
We all need:
- A Secure Base – The attachment figure acts as a base of security from which the child can explore the surrounding environment.
- A Safe Haven – Returning to the attachment figure for comfort and safety in the face of a fear or threat.
God is our ultimate secure base and the perfect attachment figure for life long connection, identity and security.
God reaches out to man to bring stability, consistency – an anchor for the storms of life.
So, as well as a secure base (point 1 above), we said we need a safe haven (point 2 above). The Lord is our safe haven as we are reminded in the psalms above.
In the Old Testament, the establishment of the Cities of Refuge originated during the territorial distribution of the Promised Land of Canaan amongst the 12 tribes of Israel. There were 6 cities and they were named and known by all. To run into them was to be saved. This is the picture set for us in these psalms. The Lord is aligning himself with this picture of refuge, strong enough to offer security to any one who enters. The Cities of Refuge can be viewed as a foreshadow of God’s plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ.
Through the shedding of His blood, Jesus offers us protection from eternal death and separation from God if we confess our sins and take refuge in Him (Hebrews 6:18). He is our High Priest who acquits us from the condemnation of the law (Psalm 34:22).
To accept the refuge of Christ through salvation, we enter into the other endowments available to the redeemed children of God. One such endowment is the Lord is your shepherd. Psalm23 is written by David, himself a shepherd in his youth. His picture for us is that of the shepherd who constantly tends the sheep, searches for the lost ones and brings them into the fold, lays down his life for them. The shepherd is completely in tune with his sheep, knows them and cares deeply for their safety, he knows there are dangers and he is not afraid.
Some of the translations have the words in verse 1 The lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.
David seems to say; He owns me and I belong to him. He directs me. I listen to him
Do we know his direction (have a look at John 10v4)
Do we listen to his voice (have a look at 10v27) ?
Every warrior knows the benefit of hiding behind and trusting in the strength given by the shield. Trust in the Lord as your strength and shield; not in your own strength and righteousness; but in the Lord God, because he is pure source of righteousness and strength.
5. Lion & Lamb
The powerful “Lion and the Lamb” passage is Revelation 5:5–6. The Lion and the Lamb both refer to Jesus Christ. He is both the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb who was slain. The Lion and the Lamb are descriptions of two aspects of the nature of Christ. As the Lion of Judah, He fulfils the prophecy of Genesis 49:9 and is the Messiah who would come from the tribe of Judah. As the Lamb of God, He is the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin.
In Revelation 5 When the angels asks “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” John begins to despair when no one comes forth to answer the angel’s challenge. One of the 24 elders encourages John to “weep no more,” and points out that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has come to take and open the scroll. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is obviously a reference to Christ. The image of the lion is meant to convey kingship. Jesus is worthy to receive and open the scroll because he is the King of God’s people. Christ’s victory at the cross is symbolized by his appearance as a “Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). Prior to the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were commanded by God to take an unblemished lamb, slay it, and smear its blood on the doorposts of their homes (Exodus 12:1–7). The blood of the slain lamb would set apart the people of Israel from the people of Egypt when the death angel came during the night to slay the firstborn of the land. Those who had the blood of the lamb would be spared. Fast forward to the days of John the Baptist. When he sees Jesus approaching him, he declares to all present, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus is the ultimate “Passover lamb” who saves His people from eternal death.
So when Jesus is referred to as the Lion and the Lamb, we are to see Him as not only the conquering King who will slay the enemies of God at His return, but also as the sacrificial Lamb who took away the reproach of sin from His people so they may share in His ultimate victory.
This Lion and lamb is also the light. Christ is in the highest sense, the light of the world; the original light, the great light who, like the sun, has light from himself and does not need it from another source.
The light of the world often denotes the sun as in John 11:9. The sun renders objects visible, shows their form, their nature, their beauties, their deformities. In Matthew 5 it is pre-eminently applied to Jesus because as Barnes reminds he is in the moral world, what the sun is in the natural world. However, the meaning extends to apostles, Christian ministers, and indeed to all Christians, who are to be lights of their world, because they by their instructions and example can show what God requires, what is the condition of man, what is the only way that leads to heaven. Shine for him today.
God is love. Both to know and to believe are essential in the life of a Christian believer. We must believe in who Christ really is, for salvation. We must know Him through obedience and fellowship in order to be accepted by Him.
John adds in the second part of this verse his refrain from verse 8. Namely, that ‘God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.’ The person who continues in love is also continuing in God. In other words, love for God and others is the way to remain growing in the Lord. Those who do so have God abiding or living in them. Great, godly love is a powerful sign that a person is a genuine believer in Christ. So let us love one another.
God’s love for us resulted in the ultimate provision for sinners and the greatest demonstration of love ever conceived. Giving his life for you; grafting you in to his eternal plans; making available the benefits we’ve mentioned and giving you the hope of a future with the creator of all things.
The Christ we have thought of through these metaphors originated the whole plan of salvation, and he will determine its close; he formed the world and he will wind up its allotted time. From the beginning, throughout its continuance, and to the end of the present earth, he will be recognised as the same being presiding over and controlling all. That makes him the perfect secure base, safe haven, shield, shepherd and perpetual light of this world and the world to come. Bless his name and give him the glory and worship he alone deserves.