“TIKVAH” – “Hope” in a Time of Hopelessness!
“For thou art my hope (Tikvah) O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” – Psalm 71:5. In Hebrew, “hope” is the word “Tikvah” (pronounced: teek-VAH). Strong’s defines it as a cord, expectation, and hope. It comes from the Hebrew root “kavah” meaning; to bind together, collect - or to expect; to tarry, to wait (for, on, upon).
Believers typically think of “hope” (Tikvah) as a feeling that something desirable is likely to happen …unlike a wish or longing, hope implies expectation of obtaining what is desired. While hope in English is abstract, hope in Hebrew provides a strong visual. A bound cord, rope, or thread cannot only be seen with the eyes, but it is something one can grasp hold of with their hands. In other words, hope is something real enough that we can cling to it. Hope is not something out of our reach!
The first occurrence of the word “Tikvah” (hope) in the Bible is in the book of Joshua in the account of the two Israelite spies and a woman called Rahab in Jericho… The nation of Israel is about to conquer the walled city fortress called Jericho. This is their first major military test after crossing the Jordan River into the land promised to them by God through their father Abraham. In anticipation of this attack, Joshua, the newly appointed leader of the nation of Israel, sent two spies into the city of Jericho. Once inside this fortress, they were provided protection from their enemies in the house of a harlot named Rahab. The men said to Rahab; “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household.” – Joshua 2:17-18. Rahab replied; “According to your words, so be it.” So, she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” Joshua 2:21. In return, as they departed, they provided her with a way to be safely identified during the coming assault on the city.
While the Hebrew “Tikvah” is used here in its literal sense as a “cord” or “thread,” it also reveals the figurative picture of “hope.” The scarlet thread was Rahab’s hope! It was her only guarantee that her household would be spared by the Israelites. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen... By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." – Hebrew 11:1, 31. Though the physical cord had been tied to ensure their safety, Rahab still had to WAIT for the realization of the spies’ promise. This is where the Hebrew root of “kavah,” for the word “Tikvah”- becomes relevant to our understanding! We can typically relate to “hope” but, we too often forget that “hope” is rooted in waiting! Being patient and waiting for an expected thing or outcome is very difficult for the majority of people. There are numerous examples of Biblical heroes that struggled with waiting and sometimes with devastating consequences. For example; Abraham and Sarah’s impatience with producing an heir and eventually agreed to use the surrogate Hagar that produced Ishmael. The effects of their impatience can still be felt today through Ishmael’s offspring of the Arab people - a persistent enemy of Israel.
Did you know there is a Messianic connection in this “Tikvah” – “Hope” beginning with Rahab?
This amazing account in the Ancient Prophetic Scriptures in which Rahab’s family is saved from death by a “scarlet” thread or cord has greater meaning. The first thing we can conclude is that God’s signature is on a mighty work that is going to bring life and that it has something to do with the “scarlet thread.” But is there a Messianic connection to be found here? Where did this particular colour originate and what is its significance?
Let’s look at Psalm 22, which was written by King David of Israel and is sometimes called the “Psalm of the Cross,” and gives us a glimpse of Messiah to come. In verse 6 the anguish of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) is displayed; “But I am a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” The word used here for worm is not the usual Hebrew word for WORM “rimmah” which means a maggot – but, instead is the word “tolah” which is called the crimson or scarlet worm (Coccus ilicus) found in Ancient Israel and even today.
When pressed the scarlet worm produces the colour of freshly spilled blood. When it is time for this short, fat little worm (about the size of a plump grain of rice) to reproduce, which will only happen once, it fastens itself to the trunk of a tree. It then forms a protective shell and lays eggs under the shell. It becomes so securely fastened that to remove it would result in its death. As the hungry offspring hatch, their only available food is the body of their parent. Within a few days, the new little ones are able to leave and fend for themselves. Before this happens, as the “tolah” worm dies, it stains the offspring and the tree underneath a permanent scarlet colour.
Here’s the interesting part; …within three days, the “tolah” worm loses its scarlet colour and its protective shell; it turns white and it drops to the ground like a snowflake. Even today there are a few weeks of the year that this tiny little worm can be found throughout the Holy Land and is gathered and used to permanently dye fabrics.
Here we begin to see why the Messiah would liken Himself to the “tolah” scarlet worm, who allowed Himself to be securely fastened to a tree knowing that the only way off it - was death? Yeshua (Jesus) gave His life so that we might live! Our Lord was pressed, suffering on the Cross until He gave His own blood and makes this offer; “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it and gave it to them, saying This is My body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.“ - Luke 22:19.
And finally, who appeared three days after His death no longer bearing the bloodstains of His death, but white as snow? The Hebrew prophet Isaiah gave us a glimpse into the future work of Messiah more than 700 years before His birth; “Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.” - Isaiah 1: 18. The scarlet colour of the thread that was to become the means of salvation for Rahab and her family was produced by the dye made from the “tolah” worm. The Messiah directed us to the “tolah” worm in King David’s Psalm because in it was a picture of His plan - His body and blood would be the means of Salvation for us.
Here’s something very interesting; The Hebrew numbers that the letters Shin, Nun and Yod represent complete the mystery found in the word “scarlet.” Shin is the number 300 and signifies the final blood “sacrifice” made by the Lamb of God. Nun is the number 50 (5X10) and signifies multiplied “grace.” Yod is the number 10 and signifies something ordained in Heaven. When we combine the message in the letters with the message in the numbers, we see the mystery revealed in the word “scarlet” cord or thread way back to Rahab in the “HOPE” of Salvation. God has identified Himself to us and ordained in Heaven a mighty work of His son; Yeshua Ha-Mashiach who through His final blood sacrifice through God’s multiplied grace has given us Eternal life! Not only was the harlot Rahab saved from death by her trust in the scarlet symbol of the “blood of Messiah,” but she later marries Salmon a prince of the Tribe of Judah and was also the mother of Boaz who later married Ruth one of their descendants will be Messiah Himself!
So, the real question is how does this help us cling to HOPE in our time especially 2020 which has brought so many difficult challenges? How do we keep from growing restless and “hopeless?” How do we keep “doubt” and “hopelessness” from over-taking us? “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” – Psalm 42:5-6. Psalm 42 is an extraordinary Psalm that reaches down to a state of total despair …but then reaches to the heights of utter joy. The Psalmist could apparently identify with having a sense of “hopelessness,” for he also wrote that his “soul is cast down within me” and he says things that many of us may have felt at one time or another, like “why have you forgotten me” and when others who don’t believe in God ask “where is your God?” Even though the Psalmist acknowledges that his soul is cast down to the ground and he is in turmoil …he still has hope in God and will, in time, praise Him. You see our “Hope” is only in the Lord our God! “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” - Psalm 31:24.
We ALL need fresh hope… Without “hope” in God we will NOT be able to face tomorrow. But, with “hope” in our lives we WILL be able to face whatever happens as “hope “is an essential ingredient in life. The times we are living in are so troubled especially with Communist China’s deliberate spread of the Wuhan (Covid-19) Corona Virus – plague into the world. The Church which is a “hope” in a time of trouble had to close as nations of the world placed under extreme “draconian” lockdown. The Government lockdowns and quarantine with isolation caused many people to lose their jobs; the stock markets fell; airlines closed; unprecedented violent riots; with natural catastrophes and uncertainty of “hope “of what the future hold brought “despair” and “discouragement” in the form of “hopelessness!” We MUST know that God is NEVER caught off guard or by surprise. God alone knows the future and He alone holds the future! Remember this saying; “Where there is ruin there is “hope” for a treasure!” Archaeologists often finds the most valuable treasure in the ruins where they least expect to dig!
The question is why is HOPE so important? It is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19) and it looks to the future (Jeremiah 29:11). Hope speaks of what is to come – unseen and things anticipated "to expect" (Hebrew 11:1). Hope is a fundamental desire and a desire within us that is accomplished by an expectation of greater or better things to come. In the military they use the word "morale" to describe this phenomenon and the troops have "hope "and "expectation" that they are winning or have the upper hand in war and so the morale is high. However, when the troops know that they are staring defeat in the face they lose hope and "hopelessness" sets in and their morale drops. Once an army has lost "hope" (morale) the chances of defeat are increased. For this reason, every effort is made to sustain "hope" – morale of the troops! You see "hope" is concerned with the future – our future – seen or unseen.
In an essence there are things that we have NO control over – like the whole world shutting down with the spread of the Wuhan Covid-19 Virus from China – BUT, God does and because of this we CAN have "hope" even in a time of "hopelessness!" There is one thing that goes with HOPE and that is COURAGE. To "hope" takes "courage!" It may mean that we need to face situations or circumstances that look completely the opposite and still have to believe God in the situation! We have said this hope refers to anticipation of the future BUT this does not mean that the present just disappears! This brings a great dynamic of WAITING into play – between the present and the future. So, "hope" however has to often has to walk side-by-side with waiting and for this we need to be courageous; "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" - Psalm 27:13-14.
The truth is that we CAN cling to the “hope” we have in the promises of Elohim (God). Like grasping onto a strong rope - the scarlet cord - just like Joshua and Caleb did because our hope is secure. Nevertheless, we MUST WAIT upon God for fulfilment and NOT grow weary and trust that God will intervene in the affairs of man with those things which we are unable to do on our own? “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” - Psalm 25:5. We are finite creatures and cannot look beyond today but God has planned every step we take. He guides us and protects us, even in areas where the dark shadows of death seem imminent in the lowest valleys (Psalm 23). We might plan our own course but God Himself determines where our steps go (Proverbs 16:9).
Did you know that we are not the only ones that felt there was no hope in times of trouble… even Bible heroes had times when they wanted to give up; Job, Moses, Jonah, Jeremiah, even the powerful Prophet in the Old Testament Elijah! King David himself was in a time of “hopelessness” “…For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” – Psalm 62:5. If our “hope” is in anyone but God, then we are indeed “hopeless?” Once again, the Psalmist declares that his hope is in God and Him alone. Like many of us who are going through a dark night of the soul, we wait for Him in silence …but the source of our hope is NOT our own wishful thinking but rather, “hope is from Him,” and our hope doesn’t find its source in us.
When we read the Word of God – the Bible, we can know for sure that we have a secure and certain future… Our Abba Father will never allow us to suffer beyond our own capabilities to handle it. There is nothing on this earth more certain than “hope” in God as He will NEVER leave us nor will He ever forsake us and He is our anchor in the present and for the future. “Put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”- Psalm 130:7. Hope is for now, it is for today, and it is for tomorrow too. Yeshua (Jesus) clearly tells us that He will NEVER leave us, NEVER forsake us, and will NEVER, ever cast us away (John 6:37). This promise is for tomorrow, next week, and next year! This hope is the believer’s hope that covers their entire life and is without end and will stay with us until Yeshua (Jesus) comes for us.
“But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” – Romans 8:24-25. As believers our faith is NOT a “hope-so faith” but a “know-so faith” …and even though we’ve never seen Yeshua (Jesus Christ) - we believe in Him! Our hope is in Him Whom we have not seen! Like the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 62:5 - we wait patiently and sometimes in silence. The real difference from those whose hope is in other people or things of the world is that our hope rests upon the promises of God, and we can trust Him, even though we haven’t seen Him …at least yet! “Put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” - Psalm 131:3. If we have our “hope” in the right place, that is not in ourselves, our jobs, our circumstances, but in God alone, we will never be disappointed. We will never be ashamed for placing our “hope” in Him because He has the power to deliver us out of all our troubles. We do not possess that power. God owns the whole earth, He owns every animal in the forest, and He is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills; “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.” – Psalm 50:10-11.
The first Book of Ephesians in particular gives us the Eternal perspective of how God sees things that are not yet as though they already exist (1:4) because of the precious Blood of the Lamb of God that cleansed us (1:7), which assures our eternal inheritance in Him (1:11). “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” – Ephesians 1:18-19. And for this reason; “So that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory” – Ephesians1:12. Truly, believers have such a glorious future with the inheritance that is incomparably great and can hardly be described! “The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” - Psalm 147:11
We are to stand upon God’s Word if we are feeling “hopeless” and worried about tomorrow, next week, or even next year! Let’s read the rest of these verses and see how far having “hope” in God goes;
(1) “You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Saviour, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.” - Psalm 65:5.
(2) “May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord…” – Psalm 69:6.
(3) “But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” – Psalm 71:14.
(4) “For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.” – Psalm 71:5.
(5) “But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.” – Psalm 9:18.
(6) “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12.
(7) “You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” – Job 11:18.
(8) “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.” – Psalm 33:18.
(9) “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” – Psalm 33:22.
(10) “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.” – Psalm 119:74.
When we hear the words “fear in the Lord” or “those who fear him” we must know that this is not a fear of punishment or retribution but is simply a reverential respect and standing in awe of God. That is what “fear of the Lord” means! It means that those who reverence God and His Name have NOTHING to fear at all; No evil, No pestilence or Wuhan Covid-19 – Corona Virus plague. God’s children have His promise of provision and No begging for bread, - No fear of want. His unfailing LOVE is upon those that fear or revere Him. God’s love never fails and His eyes are fixed on every one of us in a permanent gaze that is transfixed upon our today and our tomorrows. God says that we His Church like His beloved Israel are the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10, Zechariah 2:8).
When God restores or give us “hope” in His Word we begin to live with expectation …and this expectation is what makes life worth living. In this we have the fulfilment of what God has spoken and we begin to move. If we wait upon His intervention and never doubt it then “hope” will find its expression even in these difficult days of trial and testing of 2020. “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” - Psalm 62:5. As believers we can rest assured that God’s love is unfailing and He will deliver us in these days of calamity and un-surety. Either way we win God and has promised an Eternal home with Him. Instead of using ink, God has signed this redemption with Jesus’ own blood which seals you permanently. When our “hope” is in the Lord and NOT in us, it is a rock-solid hope! We want to encourage you, strengthen you, and give you “hope” in a future that words cannot begin to describe. Each one of us WILL go through times of “hopelessness.” We are NOT alone in this, and we are never alone in our despair and hopelessness because God is always near the broken-hearted and those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18); of that we God’s true Church can be sure of!
We know that even decisions made by our Government Leaders or Politicians are in God’s sovereign hands; “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” - Proverbs 21:1. The king thinks he might be in charge, or the boss might think he or she is making their own decision, but in God’s sovereignty, they do nothing that is not in God’s divine plan for us. They are subject to the Lord’s will whether they know it or not. The many “what if’s” that haunt us especially with the corrupt lying Media who rehearse the day’s events and cause many to worry about what happens tomorrow “if…?” But worrying about tomorrow is borrowing trouble from tomorrow and spending it on today! So, when we begin to realize that tomorrow is already taken care of by God alone and the hope, we have is in Him, and then we can find rest for our souls knowing tomorrow is already in God’s hands.
God’s Word is true! He IS watching to see how the nations are treating His people – Israel. God will have mercy on Israel through Gentile believers acting as mediators towards them! This is one of the most amazing revelations ever given to the Church – an opportunity to do something that carries the highest priority in the heart of God. Yet, sadly, so few have seen the potential and the rewards of serving God in this manner - as agents of mercy to Israel and the Jewish people! Israel was and still is despised today and a despised nation continually turning away from God BUT nothing ever altered the purpose of God for that nation. The despised element is always a noticeable element in the purpose of God. When the Saviour of the world came, He came of that despised nation; like Israel… He Himself was; “despised and rejected by men,” …and there is that despised element; “…things that are despised God has chosen,” 1 Corinthians 1:28. Now, more than at any time is the time to support Israel and the Jewish people - the Lord’s Brethren! We are witnessing the nations and people turning their backs on Israel. Thank you for your prayers and generous financial support especially during these very difficult times. With “lockdown” and difficult “recovery” still lying ahead we ARE reminded that the Wuhan Corona Virus has caused many dire needs and continue to increase here in Israel upon the already most vulnerable! Once again – Thank you!
We hope that you enjoy and become more informed by our work. We serve an awesome God and we are humbled by this opportunity to bring you this information. With Shalom to you and your family always,
Alf & Julie Saunders
01st July, 2020
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