George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
The God of Hope
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost--Rom 15:13
In the Hebrew language, as scholars know, there are several different words for rain. From which we gather that in Hebrew life rain was something of very great importance. It is the same, though in the realm of spirit, with the names of God in the letters of St. Paul. The variety of divine names there betrays the deepest heart of the apostle. Think, for instance, of the names one lights on in this fifteenth chapter of the Romans, all of them occurring incidentally. He is the God of patience and of consolation (Rom 15:5). I trust my readers have all found Him that. He is the God of peace (Rom 15:33), keeping in perfect peace every one whose mind is stayed on Him. He is the God of hope (Rom 15:13), touching with radiant hopefulness everything that He has made, from the mustard seed to the children of mankind.
The Hopefulness of God in Nature
Think, for instance, how beautifully evident is the hopefulness of God in nature. Our Lord was very keenly alive to that. There is much in nature one cannot understand, and no loving communion will interpret it. There is a seeming waste and cruelty in nature that often lies heavy on the heart. But just as everything is beautiful in nature that the hand of man had never tampered with, so what a glorious hopefulness she breathes! Every seed, cast into the soil, is big with hopefulness of coming harvest. Every sparrow, in the winter ivy, is hopeful of the nest and of the younglings. Every streamlet, rising in the hills and brawling over the granite in the valley, is hopeful of its union with the sea. Winter comes with iciness and misery, but in the heart of winter is the hope of spring. Spring comes tripping across the meadow, but in the heart of spring there is the hope of summer. Summer comes garlanded with beauty, but in the heart of summer is the hope of autumn when sower and reaper shall rejoice together. Paul talks of the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain together. But a woman in travail is not a hopeless woman. Her heart is "speaking softly of a hope." The very word natura is the witness of language to that hopeful travail--it means something going to be born. If, then, this beautiful world of nature is the garment of God by which we see Him, if His Kingdom be in the mustard seed, and not a sparrow can fall without His knowledge, how evident it is that He in whom we trust, who has never left Himself without a witness, is the God of hope.
The Hopefulness of the New Testament
Again, how evident is this attribute in the inspired word of the New Testament. The New Testament, as Dr. Denney used to say, is the most hopeful book in the whole world. I believe that God is everywhere revealed--in every flower in the crannied wall. But I do not believe that He is everywhere equally revealed anymore than I believe it of myself. There are things I do that show my character far more fully than certain other things--and God has made me in His image. I see Him in the sparrow and the mustard seed; I see Him in the lilies of the field; but I see more of Him, far more of Him, in the inspired word of the New Testament. And the fine thing to remember is just this, that the New Testament is not a hopeless book. Hope surges in it. Its note is that of victory. There steals on the ear in it the distant triumph song. It closes with the Book of Revelation where the Lamb is upon the throne. And if this be the expression of God's being far more fully than anything in nature, how sure we may be that He is the God of Hope.
Christ, the Gloriously Hopeful One
And then, lastly, we turn to our Lord and Savior. Is not He the most magnificent of optimists? Hope burned in Him (as Lord Morley said of Cromwell) when it had gone out in everybody else. There is an optimism based on ignorance: not such was the good hope of Christ. With an eye that sin had never dulled, He looked in the face all that was dark and terrible. There is an optimism based on moral laxity: not such was the good hope of Christ. He hated sin, although he loved the sinner. Knowing the worst, hating what was evil, treated by men in the most shameful way, Christ was gloriously and sublimely hopeful till death was swallowed up in victory; hopeful for the weakest of us, hopeful for the very worst, hopeful for the future of the world. Now call to mind the word He spake: "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. "He that hath seen into that heart of hopefulness hath seen into the heart of the Eternal. Once a man has won that vision though there are many problems that may vex him still, he never can doubt again, through all his years, the amazing hopefulness of God.
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