"The hope of the righteous brings joy,
but the expectation of the wicked will perish."
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have something more than an "I hope so" concerning salvation, our future home, or even our lives here on earth. We have hope! Now, I know that sounds redundant, but it really isn't, because hope for goes much deeper than merely an "I hope so."
Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary (by now you must know that it's my favorite) defines hope for us:
1. A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.
2. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God's gracious promises.
Actually, that definition pretty much defines both kinds of what we call "hope":
One kind brings pleasure and joy because we recognize the benefits of God's Word and what obedience to it will do for us.
It is the confident expectation:
- That He will do what He says. "For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory." (2 Corinthians 1:20)
- That He will not desert us. "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
- That He will come again. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14:3)
- That He will bless us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 1:3)
- That He will supply our needs. "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:13)
- That He will do above all that we could ask or think. "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20)
On the other hand, the expectation (the "I hope so") of the ungodly will perish. There is no joy because there is no real hope, only vain expectation. Let's not fail to pray for those we love who have no hope.
No wonder we can have such joy as we live righteous (in right standing with God) lives! He is our Source for all things hoped for!
To finish the satement that Paul was making in Ephesians 3: 20-21:
"to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, forever and ever.