“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope! Today I declare that I will restore to you double.” Zechariah 9:12
In chapter two of the book of Joshua, there is a story about two Israelites who are sent to spy out the land of Jericho. Pursued by the people of the land, they found refuge in the house of an adulteress named Rahab. When the king of Jericho heard that the spies were being harbored in his land, he sent word to Rahab that she should turn them over to be taken into captivity. Instead, Rahab hid the men of Israel under stacks of flax on her rooftop; she told the king’s men that the spies had already fled the city, and sent them running in the wrong direction. After the king’s soldiers had gone, Rahab helped the two spies escape by letting them down a ~scarlet cord~ through her window and down the city wall. In return for saving their lives, the Israelites promised Rahab that they would protect her and all the members of her father’s household.
What does this story have to do with hope? The Hebrew word for hope is tiqvah (seen below). It comes from the root word kavah, which means to “trust” or “hope.” Originally, kavah meant to “twist” or “weave” the strands of a rope, in order to better be able to carry a heavy burden. Interestingly enough, this word is also used to describe the “scarlet cord” that Rahab used to help the men of Israel escape from Jericho. In the Hebrew language, Rahab saved the man of Israel by giving them hope (tiqvah!), and in the end, that hope is what earned the adulteress and her family a promise of safety.
Much like Rahab for the spies, Yeshua (Jesus) offers us a lifeline. Though the world may beat and weigh us down (in fact, He promised that it would if we were faithful to Him) and situations may seem impossible, our hope in Him is comparable to a rope. The stronger and more resilient it is, the more easily we’ll be able to to persevere. With it, we can overcome any obstacle, carry any burden. All we have to do is believe in the promise of the One whose burden is light:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-31
Readers: Has there ever been a time in your life when you were given (or gave someone else) hope? Tell us about it in the comments below!