The first two verses of this week’s study are a parable of sorts that illustrates what was taught in the first six verses of the chapter. This parable brings to a close what had been a healthy rebuke for immaturity and the sad truth that there are some that fall away. The author then shows us clearly his love for his readers and the pastoral nature of his letter. He does not leave them discouraged or point out only their “thorns”, he then commends them for their fruit of love and encourages them to become diligent in their hope.
What does diligence in hope look like? The author first tells us that we are to become imitators of those who have inherited promises through “faith and patience”. He then uses Abraham as our example and tells us that after Abraham had “patiently endured he obtained the promise.” It seems to me that hope is defined by patience and endurance, two things that many of us would rather avoid than have built in us.
I think the real key to this entire passage is the promise of “better things”. The readers were suffering persecution, they were battling doubts, they had seen defection from some beloved members of the church and the author first warns them of immaturity, then commends them for their love and finally gives them a promise of better things. The problem with promises is that they require hope and as Romans tells us “hope that is seen is not hope at all”. The promises of God are secure and settled, but our hope in the midst of those promises is often shaky and a little wavering. The answer to shaking hope is the steady anchor of Jesus and the work that He has done and is doing on our behalf. We can be stable in the midst of storms and trials because the anchor of our souls has been set and He has finished the work of defeating sin and death and is interceding for us as we continue on the journey to get to the place that He has prepared for us. For all of us today there are “better things”. All of those “better things” are in Christ and they all are found by hope, by the patient endurance that leads to fulfillment. I encourage you today, don’t lose hope through impatience, hold firm to the anchor of Christ and don’t give up, we will all reap a harvest at just the right time, if we simply don’t give up!