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Claiming the Bible’s Legacy of Hope

God compiles a remarkable résumé in the pages of Scripture—not just for His own glory, but for our benefit as well. Time and time again, He proves Himself to be faithful. He honors His Word. He fulfills the terms of His covenants.

God Comes Through Even When It Seems Impossible

God proved Himself faithful to Abram (Abraham) and his descendants. Genesis 12 records the covenant God made with Abram. He instructed Abram to leave his homeland of Ur for a new land—a land called Canaan, where Abram and his descendants would dwell. Descendants were part of the covenant, too—a nation of descendants as innumerable as the stars in the night sky (Genesis 15:5).

Abram and his wife Sarai (Sarah) were childless at the time. Abram was 75 years old. Yet Abram took God at His word and moved his household to Canaan. Twenty-five years passed.

During that period, Abraham and Sarah lost sight of God’s timetable and concocted a plan whereby Abraham would father a son (who was given the name Ishmael) with Sarah’s handmaid. They convinced themselves that it was the only way for God’s covenant to be fulfilled.

And then Sarah became pregnant.

She was 90 years old. Abraham was 100.

They named their son Isaac. Isaac later fathered a son named Jacob, also known as Israel. Jacob, in turn, fathered 12 sons—and a nation was born.

Abraham learned that God’s faithfulness isn’t bound by time or the laws of nature.

God Comes Through Even When His People Don’t

Abraham’s descendants—the nation of Israel—proved themselves to be anything but faithful. They turned their backs on God and embraced idols. They rejected His kingship and demanded human rulers. They abandoned His teachings and forgot the stories of His great works.

Through it all, though, God remained faithful. He sent prophets to warn them of the dire consequences of their disobedience. When the people wouldn’t listen, He allowed their enemies to conquer them and carry them away into captivity.

Even at that point—arguably, Israel’s lowest—God would not give up on Abraham’s descendants. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God Comes Through Even When It Costs Him Dearly

God’s faithfulness didn’t stop there. Passages such as Isaiah 49:5-6 reveal the extent of His love for His people—and for all people. Through His prophet Isaiah, God promised to send a Savior, One who would “restore the preserved ones of Israel,” serve as a “light to the Gentiles,” and bring God’s “salvation to the ends of the earth.” He fulfilled His promise centuries later by sacrificing His only Son to pay the price for sin—faithful beyond measure.

Malachi 3:16 assures us that God doesn’t change. He is still faithful to His people. So there is always hope to be found, no matter how bleak things may seem. We may not know what that hope will look like, when to expect it, or how it will change our circumstances, but we can put our trust in a faithful God.

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This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.

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Which Bible Characters Struggled with Depression?

The heroes of the faith loom so large in the consciousness of believers that it often comes as a surprise—and a comforting reassurance—to realize that they were every bit as human as we are. After all, if God worked in the midst of their struggles and weaknesses to accomplish his will—often in extraordinary ways—he can and will do the same in our lives.

Case in point: if you’ve ever struggled with depression, you may find comfort and encouragement in knowing that several well-known Bible characters seemed to struggle with it as well.

David

In Psalm 42:11, David asks, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” The beloved king of Israel seemed to have it all. He had enjoyed more victories and success than any other leader in Israel’s history. He was revered by his subjects and respected by his enemies. He had wealth, prestige, and family. God called him a man after his own heart.

Yet David was no stranger to the dark night of the soul. All of the accomplishments and adulation in the world couldn’t insulate him from bouts of depression.

Elijah

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah scores one of the most decisive victories in the Old Testament. He challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest. He will prepare one altar; they will prepare another. The God (or god) who sends fire to receive his offering will be declared the God of Israel. The prophets of Baal are unable to elicit so much as a spark from their god. Elijah’s God, on the other hand, sends a fire that consumes everything in its path, leaving no doubt as to who deserved Israel’s worship.

When his mountaintop experience ended, Elijah crashed—hard. A few verses later, we read this: “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’” (1 Kings 19:4).

Naomi

Naomi’s future looked bleak. Her husband had died. So had her two sons, leaving no one to provide for her. She was stranded in a foreign land with no clear sense of how she was going to survive. Naomi’s story is found in the book of Ruth. At the center of the story is the bond between Naomi and Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who is also widowed.

Yet even that bond is not enough to lift the spirits of Naomi. Her bitterness and despair pour out in Ruth 1:20–21. When Naomi and Ruth return to Naomi’s hometown, the women recognize Naomi and greet her by name.

But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Jeremiah

StormsThe ministry God called Jeremiah to was a difficult one. Nicknamed the “weeping prophet,” Jeremiah was often the bearer of bad news. He was rejected, despised, and punished by the people he was sent to minister to. He remained faithful to God and resilient in the face of ridicule, but he felt the pain of loneliness deeply. His words in Jeremiah 20:14, 18, will resonate with anyone who has struggled with depression:

Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! . . . Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

Each of these people has an important story to tell—one that involves depression but doesn’t end there. Their stories also include wonderful, thrilling, and heartwarming accounts of how God worked in and through their lives to accomplish his will.

 

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INTERESTED IN KNOWING MORE ABOUT THE WRITERS AND CHARACTERS IN THE BIBLE? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES:

WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF ROMANS?
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF JOSHUA?
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF JOB?

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This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.

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