Prisoner of hope

““As for you also, because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.” (Zechariah‬ ‭9:11-12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

God saves us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. We are set free from the bondage of death by the blood of Jesus covering our sins. What was once scarlet, has now been made white as snow should we choose to step into this covenant with God. And that’s just the beginning..

This scripture is perfect for me right now. This morning I finished reading the story of Jacob wrestling with God. Some believe it to be God, others an angel or Jesus, and some say it is Jacob wrestling himself.  Without getting into all of that, we can clearly see that Jacob is grappling with his fears and this match is how he finally does that. Over the entire course from exile to his home land, Jacob trekked in fear of what his brother, Esau, would do to him upon his return. Jacob and Esau left off on bad terms because of Jacob’s trickery and betrayal. How many of us can relate to past mistakes haunting out present lives?

Jacob allowed his ancient fears to consume his present life and influence his every move. He spent years building wealth and a family, and yet this fear ate at him so much that he sent everything that he had and loved ahead of him to face this assumed enemy. His misplaced hope was in the approval of man instead of the approval of God. God does not want us to live like that. He does not want us to be prisoners stuck in a waterless pit. There is something dehydrating about living afraid, living without hope or faith. Fear sucks the nourishment of life’s sweetest moments. Every thought and every action become subject to the authority of fear.

Yet there is still hope for the hopeless. God came in at just the right moment. God showed up after Jacob practically accepted his doom by isolating himself. He pushed away everything and everyone based off an assumption driven by fear. Jacob is pretty much me when I dramatically huff and puff my way around the house hoping someone will notice I’m upset. God noticed. And He came to redeem and restore! I believe that Jacob wrestled with God until his faith finally overcame his fears. Faith became the bridge to a renewed hope in God being who He always said He was. God then gave Jacob a new name. The name of the promise, the name of the double portion, Israel.

So much can be taken from this story! It is no coincidence that God brought Zechariah 9:11-12 to me during the same week in which I lived out my own wrestling match with God. Tuesday night I had three awful dreams. I immediately wanted to give satan the credit and probably would’ve dismissed them as nightterrors had God not swooped in and given me supernatural revelation. He showed me that each dream revealed a different fear rooted in my heart from past pain. Fear of death, fear of inadequacy, and fear of being hurt. Living a life of fear is living without hope.

The Hebrew word for ‘hope’ used in this Zechariah scripture literally means a cord, or figuratively meaning expectancy. To have genuine hope is to be connected with God and fully expectant that God is who He proclaims to be and will do what He proclaims to do. Jacob grappled with fear and faith, with doubt and hope. By continuously proclaiming what God promised him, and facing his fears head on, hope won the battle. Hope will always win!

Having a parent in prison, I will never forget the helpless feeling of seeing my loved one trapped. He was the same person, and yet he looked different. He had the same name, but the facility issued him an identification number. He was still my dad, but he couldn’t fill that role completely because he was stuck in prison under their authority. And that is just a super vague description of an extremely challenging time in my family’s life. Praise God that season was short lived, and my dad and I met the Lord during that time.

Being a physical prisoner will shake up any person and their family. I believe the same applies to spiritual prisons. Jacob’s fears not only damaged his thought life, but also his actions which affected his family and his livelihood.

What are you a prisoner of?

God wants you to return to Him. Return to His fortress and submit to His authority. There is true freedom in becoming a prisoner of hope. Let hope in God transform your identity. Grapple with your fears and release them once and for all through faith and hope in the Lord! Become fully expectant that God will do exceedingly, abundantly more than you could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

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