Thursday, January 28, 2016

Prisoners of Hope

There is a verse in Zechariah which has previously not caught my attention but last week Kris Camealy used the verse in her post, Prisoners of Hope.

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope.” - Zechariah 9:12

I have planted myself on this verse. I meditate on the three words: Prisoners of Hope. I have weaved this verse in to many conversations lately and most times I weave it in as I hold back tears. I'm not sure how to explain why. It may be a new favorite verse or even an appropriate life verse.

It could be the story behind when I first read the verse which has me meditating on those three words.

Twelve marines lost at sea. Here one day, gone the next. Twelve families are grieving. In Kris' post she grieves for these families. She grieves for one family member she knows personally, a writer with a book scheduled to release soon.

In Christie Purifoy’s new book she writes, "God walks with them always ready in the darkest places. He is especially present in the very places we imagine he cannot be” (Roots and Sky). How could she have known how much she would need the truth embedded in her words?

But God knew, right? The mysteries of our God… I have no words.

I am studying the Book of Revelation with Bible Study Fellowship. While a hard book to study, I find embedded in this book the fullness of who God is, or the fullness of His character which He makes known. He is a God of love, grace and mercy but also a holy, just, and righteous God. In Revelation we read of the great day of wrath and vengeance and retribution. “Who is able to [face God and] stand [before the wrath of the Lamb]?” - Revelation 6:17

We could think these attributes contradict themselves. Yet we know God does not contradict himself.

Last Sunday my pastor delivered a sermon on how we are to fear God. I know this. I have read the many verses in the Bible which tell us so. I did not grasp what it meant to fear God though. Respect God? Worship Him in awe?

No, (well,those too) fear God means fear God.

My time in Revelation has made this clearer: we will tremble with fear on the day we are finally in His presence.

“The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’” - Hebrews 12:21

There is more. (As my dear friend Michele says often, there is always more.) Right after we are told to fear Him, we are told, "Fear not."

Our God of indescribable, unmatchable, power lives in us and is actively working on our behalf, so we do not need to fear Him.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” - Romans 8:31

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” - Romans 8:37

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” - Philippians 4:13

So I return back to the words from Zechariah 9:12.

Like Kris, the words captivate me. "What is a prisoner, but someone confined or kept in the custody of another. God keeps us in His custody; we are confined by the Holy." - Kris Camealy

I am captivated only because I know God’s character more fully. I know the refuge and protection we find in Him because His Word makes this truth clear. We see it over and over again in Revelation. We won't find anything or anyone able to match what God is able to give and do.

Our God, our Almighty God, is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

When we find ourselves in a place of fear, doubt, brokenness or heartbreaking sorrow, we return to Him. He is our stronghold, our hope. We are held forever and ever by Him. Nothing will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of Hope.” – Zechariah 9:12

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  1. I was just listening to Lauren Daigle's song, Trust, before I popped in. One line stood out to me today, "There is no place I go where God has not already stood." That line, and your beautiful post speak such hope. Truly our God is to be feared. He is not a tame idol or a genie in a bottle. He is oh, so much more. So worthy of our worship, praise and, love. Bless you, my friend, as you continue to seek Him. Love you.

    1. All so good, June. Thanks for your visit this morning. It really encouraged me at just the right time. Love you so. xoxo

  2. I have a mix of emotions - on one hand I cannot wait to see God and on the other, I fear I'll fall flat on my face and dissolve into a helpless puddle of tears! I am in awe of Him and even at all the different ways I feel physically and emotionally when reading about Him in scripture. Thank you for sharing this, Beth!

  3. These verses, your words and photos expand my heart in this moment. Thank you friend. What a pleasure to read your blog!

  4. Only in God can being his prisoner be liberating! Poignant, hope-filled post Beth!Praying that God give you refreshing this week, that he calm your heart, and take care of the unexpected that arises in the daily!Shalom dear friend!

  5. I'm loving your beautiful new space here, Beth! Crisp and clean, this black and white ... and warm and welcoming, too. So cool!

    I'm hoping this means you'll be writing more?


  6. How lovely to see you writing a bit again, Beth! Made me smile to see your picture in Barbie's linkup this weekend.

    Our God is awesome and mysterious. I think of how Isaiah fell to the ground when he saw him and said he was a man of unclean lips. He is a whole lot more than we can handle.

  7. Beth, kinda speechless here. Your beautiful words, woven with the precious Word of God, have touched my soul today. I've been battling another time of severe anxiety, and it's hard to battle that kind of fear. But, the One whom we fear, because He is so mighty, is also the One who battles earthly fear. He is fearsome indeed. And perhaps never more so than when He is protecting us from the attacks of the enemy.

    I will gladly be a prisoner of hope. For indeed, the bars that hem me in are really the arms of a Savior stretched out on a cross...


  8. There are so many words here that are speaking directly to me. But knowing this... "Our God of indescribable, unmatchable, power lives in us and is actively working on our behalf, so we do not need to fear Him." fills my soul with peace. God is working on my behalf and what could be better? Thank you for filling my soul this evening with your words. Much love and many hugs!


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Much love to you.