“Hope is pictured as an anchor of the soul,” Derek explains. “And it’s described as sure and steadfast and it enters in within the veil. It passes out of time into eternity. It’s fastened in the Rock of Ages in the very presence of Almighty God.” So, run to the altar when the enemy is breathing down your neck! Don’t miss this encouraging broadcast.
It’s good to be with you again as we draw near to the close of another week. Today I’ll continue and complete the theme that I’ve been following for the past two weeks, that is, the theme of Hope.
In my talk yesterday I shared on hope as a helmet, a vital piece of the spiritual armor that protects our mind. I spoke of my own personal struggle against depression and of the double remedy that God showed me. First of all, God identified the power that was oppressing me, the spirit of heaviness. Then God showed me, first of all, that I could be delivered. He gave me Joel 2:32:
“Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”
I called on the name of the Lord: I was delivered.
Then the Lord showed me I needed to protect my mind against that dark force and that I needed the helmet of salvation. And when I looked in Ephesians 6 and saw that there was a helmet of salvation I still didn’t know what it was. But when I turned to 1 Thessalonians 5:8 I found that the helmet of salvation is hope. And so, I learned to train my mind, to reprogram my mind, from being an habitual pessimist. I became a convinced Bible-believing optimist. Now, I keep that helmet of hope on my mind day and night.
Well, in my talk today I’m going to present you with another beautiful picture of hope as an anchor of the soul. I’m going to read quite a lengthy passage from Hebrews 6:11-20 which actually gives us two pictures of hope. The first one is as the horns of an altar and then the second one is as an anchor of the soul.
I’ll go back a little bit in the sixth chapter to give you the context and the background. Hebrews 6, beginning at verse 11:
“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end...”
Notice the emphasis is on hope and maintaining hope until the end, which I spoke about last week.
“...that you may not be sluggish [or lazy], but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
And then the writer goes to the example of Abraham:
“For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you. And thus, having patiently waited, [Abraham] obtained the promise.”
And then the writer goes on to explain why God swore, why He gave an oath]
“For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath...”
Some translators say, “interposed Himself with an oath.” Going on:
“...in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.”
Notice there some of the teaching in that verse before I complete the reading. Hope must be maintained until the end and it’s associated with diligence, faith, perseverance and patience. In fact, hope is the key to perseverance and patience. And then notice that God desires our confidence be based on two unchangeable things. The first is His word, the second is His oath. His word, really, is sufficient. But in certain situations, to encourage us, to convince us that He absolutely means what He says and He’ll never go back on it, He first gives His word and then confirms it by His oath. And then the writer of Hebrews says about that:
In order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.
And there’s the first picture of hope there, it’s the refuge. Now, we have to understand that’s taken from an Old Testament custom. When a man was being pursued by his enemy who was out to take his life, there was one place where he was guaranteed security. If he could run to the altar of God and catch hold of the horns of the altar [for on the altar there were four horns, one at each corner] then no one dared to pull that man away from the horns of the altar. And the writer of Hebrews says hope is like that. When the enemy is pursuing you, when he’s almost breathing down your neck, when you feel there’s no way of escape, the place of refuge is the horns of the altar. Find it, cling on to it.
What are the horns of the altar? The hope that God has given us in these two immutable things: the first, His word; the second, His oath. So if today you feel pressured, you wonder where to turn, I recommend you turn to the altar, the place of sacrifice that represents the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf, and lay hold of the horns of hope that come out of that altar and you’ll be secure. The enemy and the avenger will not be able to follow you there.
Now we’re going to look at the second picture of hope which is given us there in the 6th chapter of Hebrews. This is in verses 19 and 20. I think this is the most beautiful of all the pictures of hope. It’s one that means so much to me personally because of my own struggles in this area over the past. This is what the writer of Hebrews says:
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil [that’s the second veil into the Holy of Holies], where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
So, here hope is pictured as an anchor of the soul and it’s described as sure and steadfast and it enters within the veil. It passes out of time into eternity. It’s fastened in the Rock of Ages in the very presence of Almighty God.
Now, when I was struggling with this problem of mine and I found this beautiful passage, I, by background, was a philosopher so I was used to analyzing things and considering them logically. I said to myself, “It’s an anchor.” And then I said, “What needs an anchor? What kind of thing needs an anchor?” Then I said to myself, “A boat needs an anchor.” And I said, “Why does a boat need an anchor?” Because a boat is made to float on water and water is a totally unstable element. There is nothing in water that you can fasten to that will hold you secure. And so, in order to be held secure the boat has to pass its anchor through the water into some other secure thing that will hold it. A best example is the rock.
And then I thought about my own life and I said to myself this, “I’m like that little boat. I’m there tossed to and fro on the waves. I’m in a world of the temporal, of the impermanent, of the insecure. There’s nothing in this world that I can fasten to that will guarantee me security. So I have to have an anchor that passes out of time into eternity, passes out of the temporal, the material, the unstable, the changeable, out of that whole element into something that is permanent, unchangeable, totally stable and secure. Out of time into eternity. What is that anchor?” And then I saw so clearly, so beautifully that anchor is the hope that I have in Jesus. It’s not restricted to time, it doesn’t depend upon material things. Its security is not found in the frailty of human beings and human institutions. It’s based on two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie: His word and His oath. And so I can pass my anchor right out of time into the immediate presence of God within that second veil and there Jesus has already entered, my personal representative, my forerunner, my high priest. I’m not limited to this world, I’m not limited to the things of time. They’re all transient, they’re all going to pass away. But my anchor of eternal hope reaches out beyond this world and into the immediate presence of God.
And then it’s so blessed that the writer of Hebrews says “Where Jesus our forerunner has entered for us, a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” Do you know what the function of a high priest is? It’s to represent to God those who trust in Him. It says elsewhere in Hebrews, “He is able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by Him seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” I have a high priest who is in the immediate presence of God. He’s always making intercession for me. He never sleeps. He’s never going to die, he lives forever. He’s my personal representative before Almighty God. And my hope is anchored to Him. My hope is anchored to the eternal, unchanging Christ.
Right near the end of the epistle to Hebrews the writer says this, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.” That’s the rock, the eternal rock in which my hope is anchored.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll be sharing with you on another rich and exciting theme from the Word of God.
My special offer this week is my book, Chords From David’s Harp. This beautiful, hard cover, illustrated book opens up the inner secrets of the Psalms. You’ll find in it new strength, courage and inspiration for living. That title again, Chords From David’s Harp. Also, my complete series of talks this week on “Hope, Part 2” is available in a single, carefully edited cassette. Stay tuned for details.