The writer of the book of Hebrews concluded that faith is the substance of our hope. He said,
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. — Hebrews 11:1
Our faith will never exceed our level of hope, the very substance of that faith. Faith is our ability to realize in our experience the things we hope for. You might say that faith gives us real eyes to realize and lay hold of what we are hoping for. We will never develop our faith beyond our ability to have the true biblical kind of hope, the confident expectation of good that God wants us to have. The person with the most hope always prevails. Hope is essential for experiencing revival in our nation, for changing our culture, and for the transformation of our society.
True hope does not disappoint because the love of God poured out in our hearts enables us to sustain our faith until His promise is fulfilled. Paul said it this way,
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. — Romans 5:5
We must remember the father of our faith, Abraham. Like father like son, we must maintain our hope until the fulfillment of the promise, no matter how impossible it may look, feel, seem, or be.
For Abraham being beyond hope, upon the basis of hope believed, in order that he might become father of many nations, according to that which has been spoken with finality, ‘In this manner will your offspring be’. — Romans 4:16 WET
Grapes and Raisins, Promises and Fulfillments
Hope comes from believing the promises of God. The new covenant is a better covenant because it is based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). Those better promises inspire hope and faith that enable us to experience the goodness of God. God may also give us personal promises in addition to the ones in the Bible. Through the years I have accumulated a number of unfulfilled personal promises from the Lord. Once in prayer I asked why I had not yet seen them fulfilled. As I questioned the Lord I saw a picture in my mind of a scoop in Heaven pouring out raisins. I couldn’t shake free from the vision and began to ask the Lord about it.
I then realized that grapes are a clear Old Testament prophetic image representing a promise. When the twelve spies returned from spying out the promised land, they brought back enormous grapes as a tangible promise and proof of its great fruitfulness. Those grapes of Eschol were so large that it took two men to carry back one bunch supported on a long stick between them. Grapes became synonymous with the promised land and are the prototypical picture of a promise.
Raisins are dried up grapes. They don’t look nearly as good as plump juicy grapes, but they fulfill a different purpose. In the ancient world they sustained soldiers in times of war and energized people traveling distances who needed nonperishable, nutritious food. Grapes only last a short time, but raisins sustain people in dry, difficult circumstances over the long haul.
The Lord showed me through my vision a vital principle: promises come like grapes but are fulfilled like raisins. Over time our personal promises seem to dry up, much like grapes that become raisins. These promises as well as the promises in the Bible can begin to look shriveled up, puny, and of little value to us. The prophet Jeremiah said,
Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. — Jeremiah 15:16
That is what we must do to inherit the promises of God. In hope we must eat them, chew on them, meditate upon them, consume them, and make them ours. If we eat them they shall sustain us in faith until the time our fulfillment arrives. This revelation increased my hope to see all my promises fulfilled. I am sure it will increase yours.
by Robin McMillan
Originally posted at Faithgateway.com.