The Gift of Hope

A Bible Study from Anne Graham Lotz

As we approach Christmas, our nation has weathered a brutal political election cycle. We have a new president-elect who will usher in a new administration. But in a world of turmoil, upheaval, terrorist attacks, anarchy and war, change can be unsettling at the very least—sometimes even unnerving. Which is why God’s gift of hope seems more precious and priceless than ever.

I. GOD WILL RESTORE US

Joel 2:18-27

  • Describe briefly the reasons God’s people needed restoration. See Joel 1:6, 10-12, 16-20. Although Joel is describing the effects of a locust plague, what else could this symbolize?
  • In what way does the church today need to be restored? In what way do you need to be restored?
  • What moves the heart of God to restore His people? Read Joel 2:18 and Psalm 72:12-14.
  • How does 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 specifically relate to the condition of God’s people?
  • Give the phrase in Joel 2:19 that indicates God kept His promise and answered His people’s prayers.
  • Compare the following verses that reveal the difference a restored right relationship with God makes in a nation: Joel 1:10-11 with 2:19; Joel 1:5, 8, 11, 12 with 2:21, 23; and Joel 1:9 with 2:25-27.
  • Name some of the blessings that result when an individual is restored in a right relationship with God. Consider Psalm 14:7; 23:1-3; 53:6; 32:1-5.
  • What have the “locusts” eaten in your life? Apply Joel 2:25 to yourself. What missed opportunities, spiritually wasted days, sinful acts and attitudes are in your past?
  • What hope does Joel 2:25 give you? Would you claim God’s promise of restoration in Joel 2:25 for yourself in prayer? Now?

II. GOD WILL REVIVE US

Joel 2:28-29

  • Who is the source of true revival? Read Joel 2:28-29.
  • Is revival something we can “do” or produce? If not, why?
  • Who will experience revival, according to Joel 2:28-29?
  • When does the Bible first introduce us to the Spirit, and what was His role at that time? See Genesis 1:1-3.
  • What incredible promises did Jesus make concerning this same Spirit, in John 14:16-17; John 16:13-15; and Acts 1:8?
  • What is one obvious result of the fullness of the Spirit’s presence in our lives? Read Joel 2:28; John 15:26; and Acts 4:31.
  • What evidence of the Spirit’s revival in your life is obvious to others?

III. GOD WILL RETURN FOR US          

Joel 2:30-3:16

  • Describe the Lord’s return as described in Joel 3:16; Revelation 19:11-16; and Zechariah 14:3-4.
  • How do we know God will return for us, in the person of His Son? See John 14:1-3; Acts 1:10-11.
  • What signals will God send to alert us that His return is imminent? Read Joel 2:31-32; Matthew 24:29 and Luke 21:25.
  • How are we to respond to the hope of His return? Consider Luke 21:28; Matthew 24:42, 44; 2 Peter 3:14 and Titus 2:11-15.
  • What will you do to keep watching? To keep working?

IV. GOD WILL RESIDE WITH US

Joel 3:17-21

  • What phrase in Joel 3:17-21 appears twice?
  • What additional information do the following verses give? Revelation 21:3-4; 22:1-5.
  • What do you think the river of water symbolizes in Joel 3:18?
  • Give characteristics of the river, and its impact, from Revelation 22:1-2; Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1-5; John 4:10-14; 7:37-39.
  • Compare Joel 2:9-10 with Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:4-9. What differences are there between when man rules, and when God rules and resides among us?
  • What is one response we should have to the hope of living with Him? See Revelation 22:17, 20.
  • Give valid reasons for believing the truth of these promises, from 1 Kings 8:56; Psalm 119:140; 145:13; and Revelation 21:5; 22:6.
  • Take a moment to thank God for the thrilling hope that one day we will live in the Home of our dreams … a Home where He is.
  • Which of the above Scriptural promises is most meaningful to you, and why?

Two thousand years ago, God gave us His gift of Hope in the form of a tiny Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. A Baby who was the incarnation of God, the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. A Baby who demonstrated by His birth, life, death and resurrection that God pursued us with His love. We are not cosmic accidents going nowhere. Human history has purpose and meaning and will one day be summed up in the Baby who is now Lord and King: Jesus.

This year, celebrate Christmas by sharing God’s gift of Hope with someone else.

©2016 Anne Graham Lotz