As I’ve been preparing these Advent devotions in advance, I’ve tried to follow an outline. My original plan was to spend the first full week of my devotions on the idea of Hope. After all, hope is traditionally the theme for the first week of Advent. But as I’ve been studying and researching, it is hard to separate the Biblical concepts of hope and waiting.
In Micah Chapter 7, we see the prophet Micah lamenting the decay of society. It’s not just a decline of the nation he sees, but of the people. Ultimately, God’s judgment on the Jewish people wasn’t because of their nation-state (a relatively modern concept), but because of the moral decline of the people. Micah 7:2 says, “The godly has perished from the earth, and there is none upright among mankind;” and the next 4 verses go on to describe the immorality of the people. What he paints is a sad picture: people have disregard for their God and also each other. Because of this, they will face great difficulties from God as a punishment and a means to correct their course.
Even just a surface-level look at Micah 7 would remind us of our own time. Sadly, we’ve learned little in over 2,500 years. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, Paul describes our days this way: “People will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”
But despite the lament, despite the brokenness Micah feels and sees around him, he has hope. He has hope because he isn’t trusting in society to redeem itself. He isn’t looking for a major reform or political change. He knows that the only solution is God. Listen to his declaration in 7:7- “But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
Although the word “hope” is found nowhere in that verse, you can see hope there in Micah’s statement, can’t you? In Hebrew, the words for “hope” and “wait” are closely related to words for “trust”, “believe” and the idea of putting faith in something or someone. The word Micah uses here for wait can also be translated as “hope”. The New Living Translation really does a good job of communicating this because it translates this verse as “I will wait confidently”. Confidently waiting… A pretty good definition of hope, don’t you think?
Micah is saying he is resolving to wait for His God, his Savior to act. After all, God is his salvation. And what is the Hebrew word for “salvation”? It’s transliterated as Yesha. Sound familiar? To many students of the Bible, it should. It’s the root word for the names Joshua and Jesus, which mean “The Lord Saves”. This is why in Matthew 1:21, the angel Gabriel said to Mary, “You will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
And today, we sit in the middle of God’s redemptive plan. While Jesus has already provided a way for us to experience the Lord’s salvation, we await the final day, when He will make all things right and all things new. So let us, like Micah, wait in confidence, with expectation. The King who would be born in Bethlehem is still redeeming and saving.