Recognizing the truth in this statement made by CB Glick about ongoing internal Israeli settlement conflicts, Hope is Not Strategy, I am triggered into thought. The point in her title speaks volumes beyond her conclusions.
If strategy is not made up of hope and hope is definitely not a strategy then is hope even important to strategy?
Strategy, I defined as a plan; more than a bare-bones idea but not as developed as an operation. It is the blueprint from which a plan operates.
What is hope? The scriptural definition of faith commences as things hoped for… So does ‘hoped for things’ initiate faith? Hope is essential to faith. Faith is birthed in hope. Without hope, faith will not form up. And yet, hope does not necessarily lead to faith even as simply hoping does not lead to strategy. Without hope neither faith nor strategy advance. Just as it is impossible to please God without faith, it is impossible to have faith or strategy without hope. Like the first step of a tottering child, hope advances; a first link in a chain which then continues to bind the process of faith, strategy or goals to completion.
The first Biblical translation of the word ‘hope’ is recorded when Naomi says to her daughters-in-law that there is none… no hope that either women can marry one of her future sons. Here, this Hebrew word literally means “cord”. First mentions are important! The first recorded use of this Hebrew word is found in Joshua when the spies give Rahab the harlot a way of escape from the inevitable overthrow of her city. “Bind this scarlet cord…” – Literally; bound by bright red expectation. All of our expectations, dreams, agendas, strategies and even faith are connected by cord, like an umbilical cord to life. The scarlet cord was Rahab’s strategy. There was no Plan B.
When I read Jewish history of Rahab’s surviving the supernatural defeat of her community, I think she must have felt like she was caught up dream-like in superstitious reality. The community was abuzz with fearful anticipation and emotional chaos; the leaders were scrambling to no avail. For Rahab, caught up in an atmosphere of despair, a window of opportunity was discovered. She began playing a part in a significant historic event rather than being an unwilling, unfortunate statistic… The city is to be razed and all the people and animals destroyed, as per the modus operandi of God’s armies taking her city, Jericho. God’s eternal purposes were proceeding and there was no pause button. The day of reckoning arrived and there was to be no more delay. The ungodly lifestyle of the inhabitants had reached a tipping point and it was to be judged by military defeat.
Let’s assume Rahab was a pragmatic woman. More than most, she knew a few things. Her home was like a lighthouse to gossipy travelers. Her dinner table was like a newsroom; her bed, a confession booth… Just saying.
With a little conniving, maybe I can survive the battle to set-up shop once again… She hopes.
Can the reader of history, conclude that she was a pious woman? Or honorable? Or even, honest? Absolutely, no. Assuming the opposite and in spite of her deficiency toward all things holy, we understand she acted in hope.
Well, not quite BINGO yet.
Still, hope was the first step in winning the initial prize – survival.
Rahab’s hope was apparently like no others at the moment. Her hope led to action and her action led to strategy. A plan began to form up. Not very logical and if these spies were as fickle and corrupt as the men of Jericho, her hope was groundless. Surely there was diversionary opportunity for her fears, doubts and experience to take another more rational course but at the first diversion, faith was added to her circumstance. The germination of faith in hope and then its ongoing contact point was the bright red cord.
Blood red expectation in spite of her sin. We have no way of even guessing at what took place in her heart and mind as her surreal experience came to a close when she and her family were led from the ruins of her old life and then, adopted into the Israeli clan.
Rahab’s story of hope is our story. Seriously. The world can be on the verge of crumbling about our ears and the so-called foundations under our feet giving way, and yet, our strategy can be one initiated by hope.
Hope is not strategy but without it, there is no plan. To survive life one must have a plan. To survive judgment one must have hope; to please God, one must have faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen. New Testament letter to the Hebrews 11:1