Tiqvah: be HOPE-filled not hopeless

Hope (expectation): Tiqvah (Strong’s 8615)

Root: qavah (to wait)

Hebrew script: תִּקְוָ֥ה (tav, qof, vav, hey)

Sounds like: teek’vah

I recently completed the Canadian Mental Health First Aid course which included a very detailed session on depression. One of the key symptoms of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. Depression is not a modern phenomenon. The Tanakh (Old Testament) is filled with individuals suffering from great despair, including Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), Hannah (1 Samuel 1:6-8), Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:2, Ecclesiastes 4:2-4), Jonah (Jonah 4:3), and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:14,18).

Feeling Hopeless?

Perhaps the Biblical person most open about his hopelessness was Job. Tested and tormented he dove into the depths of despair and wished he was never born:

Job 3:14

Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?

He pondered the meaning of life:

Job 7:1a, 3-6

Is a person not forced to labour on earth?… So I am allotted worthless months, and nights of trouble are apportioned to me. When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise?’ But the night continues, and I am continually tossing until dawn. My flesh is clothed with maggots and a crust of dirt, my skin hardens and oozes. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope [tiq’vah].

Job’s depression had manifested physically. He couldn’t sleep, his body felt awful, and the days flew by in a hopeless loop. He contemplated the weariness of life and the finality of death:

Job 14:1-2, 7, 10, 13-14

“Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes out and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain… For there is hope [tiq’vah] for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail… But a man dies and lies prostrate. A person passes away, and where is he?…

Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, that You would set a limit for me and remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my relief comes.

Finally Job had reached his breaking point; he gave up and waited for death:

Job 17:1, 15-16

“My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me… 

Where then is my hope? And who looks at my hope [tiq’vahti w-tiq’vahti]? Will it go down with me to Sheol? Shall we together go down into the dust?”

Job was clearly in gut-wrenching pain, but throughout it all he held on to the belief that the all-powerful God remembered him.

God did remember him. Seeing Job through his suffering, YHWH rewarded him doubly:

Job 42:10, 17

YHWH also restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and YHWH increased double all that Job had.… And [when the time came] Job died, an old man and full of days.


Where should you place your hope?

King David, (himself not immune to feelings of despair (Psalm 6:6-7)), held fast that God was his hope:

Psalm 62:5-8

My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my hope [tiq’vati] is from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my refuge; I shall not be shaken.

My salvation and my glory rest on God; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Another (unnamed) Psalmist placed their hope in YHWH:

Psalm 71:5-6

For You are my hope [tiq’vati]; Lord YHWH, You are my confidence from my youth. I have leaned on You since my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb;  my praise is continually of You.

God has been with us from before we took our first gasp of air, and He stays with us after our final breath. These Psalmists placed their hope in YHWH, because where else would you place your hope?

Wisdom Leads to Hope

Wisdom has a strong connection to hope. Seeking wisdom comes with many benefits. Most beautifully, it takes us by the hand and leads us in the direction of hope:

Proverbs 24:13-14 (see also Proverbs 23:18-19)

My son, eat honey, for it is good; yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; know that wisdom is the same for your soul; if you find it, then there will be a future, and your hope [w-tiq’vaht’ka] will not be cut off.

Seeking wisdom is insurance for your hope! Trust in God’s Covenant, seek wisdom, and put your hope in the consistency of YHWH!

Hope for your future!

Jeremiah lived in a tumultuous age. He saw the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians and the destruction of the Temple, built by Solomon. Personally, throughout his ministry, he was, beaten (Jeremiah 20:2), mocked (Jeremiah 20:7), his life was threatened (Jeremiah 11:21) and he was thrown into a cistern and left to die (Jeremiah 38:1-6) . It is no wonder that scholars call him the weeping prophet, but God specifically told Jeremiah to stop crying because good was coming:

Jeremiah 31:16a, 17a

This is what YHWH says, “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,” declares YHWH…There is hope [tiq’vah] for your future,” declares YHWH.

YHWH instructed His followers to hold back their tears, for His followers would be rewarded. And when it came to hopelessness YHWH’s pattern was to reward double (Job 42:10Zechariah 9:12). The message: there is hope for your future! YHWH has great plans in store for you!

Jeremiah 29:11-14a

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares YHWH, “plans of prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope [w-tiq’vah]. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will let Myself be found by you,” declares YHWH.

In your pain and in your tears, seek out God with every fibre of your being. You will find Him and He will rescue you!

Are you a prisoner? Be a prisoner of hope!

In 539 BCE Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, defeated the Babylonians and the exiled Jews were given leave to return home as vassals of the Persian King. Zechariah was a prophet during this time. Once prisoners in a foreign land, Zechariah spoke God’s words of hope to the Jewish people:

Zechariah 9:9, 11-12, 16-17a

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, daughter of Jerusalem!
            Behold, your king is coming to you;
            He is righteous and endowed with salvation,
            Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
            Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey…

As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have sent  your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, you prisoners who have the hope [ha-tiq’vah]. This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you…

And YHWH their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people; for they are like the precious stones of a crown sparkling on His land. For how great will their loveliness and beauty be!

God would render double to the God-followers who have suffered, just like Job received double at the end of his trials. But it’s not just what you receive, it’s what you become! God sees His followers as sparkling jewels in His crown. We are His flock living in His land. We are His children, waiting for Him in hope.

We may feel like prisoners on this earth but through YHWH’s Covenant there is freedom. YHWH’s lovingkindness provides us with a humble King mounted on a donkey… the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus). If you feel like a prisoner, do not give up; be a prisoner of hope!

Regardless of what comes our way, let us be hope-filled in the years to come!

Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Next week: Valour

Post Script: There is another word for hope in Hebrew, יָחַל (yachal). (See Lamentations 3:21-23). We will explore this word another time.

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