By Not Known

“You are hopeless!” – When a parent spewed these words at her child, what might she mean? When an employer sized down an employee with these words, what might he mean? When a teacher threw her arms in the air as she sentenced her pupils with these words, what might she mean?

It might mean, “You just wouldn’t learnt!” or “You are fired!” or “You are stupid!” Whatever it might mean, to be labelled ‘hopeless’ signals that one person has given up on another, whether for a moment or forever. Those are hurtful and painful words which should not be carelessly said out of a moment of emotional upheaval. The damage to a person’s esteem and  relationship can be great and irreversible.

Psalm 78 presents a terrible description of Israel – God’s chosen representative on earth to all nations. The Israelites were stubborn, rebellious, disloyal, and unfaithful (v8), continuously sinning against God and wilfully testing him (vv17-18). Their repentance was neither sincere nor lasting. Anyone reading this psalm would have rolled his eyes, shook his head, and exclaimed, “What a hopeless people!”

Indeed, Israel was a ‘hopeless’ people; hopeless in that they just would not change. Hopeless also in that God had abandoned them to themselves (v60). And just when it seemed that all would be lost, God awoke as from sleep, as a man wakes from the stupor of wine (v65), and exclaimed, “Not quite!” He then chose David from the tribe of Judah and through him shepherded his people with integrity of heart and with skilful hands (v72). Hopelessness turned into hope because God never once declared, “I have given up hope on you!” In fact, he declared in Judges 2:1 I will never break my covenant with you…

Without hope, a person perishes. Without hope, life will be a constant reminder of our failures. The New Testament has the word ‘hope’ repeated no less than 80 times depending on English versions, and it is often than not linked to proclaiming the Saviour Jesus Christ.

In Christ, we are never hopeless. Love him, trust him and obey him.