Hope in Another

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Daily Reformation, Isaiah 62:1-5

From the Reformer

That sad captivity being at hand, which was almost to blot out the name of the whole nation, it was necessary to confirm and encourage believers by many words, that with strong and assured confidence they might rely on these promises under the burden of the cross. Here, therefore, the Prophet, discharging that office which had been entrusted to him, openly declares that he will not be slack in the performance of his duty, and will not cease to speak, till he encourage the hearts of believers by the hope of future salvation, that they may know and be fully convinced that God will be the deliverer of his Church. He too might have been dismayed by the unbelief of that people, and might have lost courage when he saw that matters were every day growing worse, and when he foresaw that terrible vengeance. But, notwithstanding so great difficulties, he will still persist in his duty, that all may know that neither the massacre of the people nor their unbelief can prevent God from executing his promises at the proper time.

—John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Pulling It Together

Promises provide hope and courage. Goals are formed; vision is established. “Just one more term and you will graduate,” gets the stressed student through the course of study. “I promise I will wait for you,” gets Johnny home from war. “Your God will deliver you,” encourages steadfastness in the faithful. It is no wonder enslaved peoples so readily turn to the gospel story for hope and courage.

If one only hopes in her own strength and effort she will eventually lose all hope. Yet when hope is in another stronger, fairer Spirit, hope is sustained. When hope is sustained long enough, even slaves move on from captivity—though they are still in chains.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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