I wrote yesterday that I have hope. And I can’t praise God enough for the hope I have in him.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
The apostle Paul calls that hope “blessed hope.”
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14)
As I was looking through some old files I came across a flyer from Convoy of Hope, announcing a day, December 12, to PRAY FOR HOPE. That is, to pray for those who have no hope. They don’t know where to find the hope of eternal life. Life for them is hopeless.
This year the day to pray for hope will be 12-12-12. I know there are plans to converge in Jerusalem to pray for hope. What better place could there be? In the hill of Calvary, outside of Jerusalem, Jesus gave his life for us, so we could have hope.
In Psalms 42 and 43 the Sons of Korah remind themselves three times to put their hope in God.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. (Ps 42:5,11; 43:5)
There was a Korah and certain Reubenites in the times of Moses (see Numbers 16) who became insolent and rose up against their leader. With them were 250 well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.
They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron accusing them of setting themselves above the whole assembly. They claimed everybody was holy.
When he heard this, Moses fell facedown. I’m sure he was praying to God for wisdom. Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy.”
Korah and all his followers were to take censers and put fire and incense in them before the LORD.
“The man the LORD chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!” Moses said to him.
Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they would not come! “Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert? And now you also want to lord it over us? No, we will not come!” they said.
Each man was to take his censer and put incense in it — 250 censers in all — and present it before the LORD. So also Aaron. So each man took his censer, put fire and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”
But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?”
Then the LORD said to Moses that the assembly should move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.
Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things. If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.”
As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”
And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to take the censers out of the smoldering remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy — the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the LORD and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites.”
So Eleazar the priest collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned up, and he had them hammered out to overlay the altar, as the LORD directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron should come to burn incense before the LORD, or he would become like Korah and his followers.
The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said.
But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the Tent of Meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and the LORD said to Moses, “Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” And they fell facedown.
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started.”
So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.
But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, for the plague had stopped.
“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). Korah and those who complained together with him had no time to even reflect before judgment came upon them. They were jealous of Moses the chose leader.
Could it have been these sons of this Korah who wrote about hope is the Psalms?
Pray for hope!
No one whose hope is in [God] will ever be put to shame.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Pray for those who have no hope!
If you have no hope—there is hope!
“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). Christ is the hope of glory.
“Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD” (Ps 31:24).