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Vain Hope

Read: Lamentations 4:11-17

We watched for a nation which could not save. (v. 17)

In December 2008, Bernard Madoff was arrested for fraud. For years, Madoff promoted a massive Ponzi scheme consisting not of real assets but money contributed by investors. By the time the scheme was exposed, the money was gone. Thousands of investors, who entrusted entire fortunes to Madoff, were left with nothing. They placed vain hope in a payoff that didn’t exist.

Throughout the Old Testament, God’s people hoped in the wrong things. God repeatedly condemned their pursuit of idols, a term that means “worthless,” “empty,” or “vain.” They sought security in alliances with pagan neighbors, whose power Israel craved and whose gods Israel adopted. In Jeremiah 2, God says, “What do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile?” (v. 18). God reminds his people that no earthly thing can provide their ultimate hope.

When I think back over my life, I am forced to recognize that I repeatedly put my hope in things that, in the end, can’t deliver. Getting accepted to the right school, landing that first job, acquiring paychecks and cars and homes—none of these are bad. But none eliminate all my worries. And none, in themselves, make life worth living. I long for someone or something who can assure me that my life is secure, come what may. If nothing on earth can provide that assurance, what can? As Jeremiah puts it in Lamentations 3, “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases” (v. 22).

As you pray, reorient your heart to our true hope: the love of God.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon

Ben Van Arragon is the Minister of Worship and Leadership at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He preaches and teaches the Bible in church, online, and anywhere else he has the opportunity.

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series Lamentations: When God is Silent