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Studying on the court

Dear Parents and Students, our theme for Thanksgiving 2020 was ‘hope’. I had a look at some of the acronyms for HOPE in popular culture. Some of the examples included ‘Hackers On Planet Earth’, ‘Helping Other People Excel’, ‘Helping Other People Eat’, ‘Helping Others Prepare for Eternity’, ‘HUMMER Owners Prepared for Emergencies’, ‘Harnessing Optimism and Potential through Education’, ‘Hold Onto Prayer Everyday’ and ‘He Offer Peace Eternally’. Which one is your favourite?

Followers of Jesus should look for answers to any of life’s questions in the Bible first! So, what does the Bible say about hope? Well, there are many references to hope in the Bible. I am going to spend some time with you on Psalm 16, in an effort to communicate some aspect of Biblical hope.

In Psalm 16:1 we read, ‘Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust’ (emphasis mine). Biblical hope is not based on luck, chance or persistent optimism. It is actually based on a Person, specifically knowledge of the Most High God and our experiences of His faithfulness as we make an intentional effort to live according to His Word.

Therefore, Biblical hope is built on a relationship with God that is cultivated through talking with Him (prayer), learning more of Him in the Bible, and supported by the evidence of God’s persistent faithfulness in our lives when we make an effort to live according to His instructions. 

We have members in our school community, who are intentional about their relationship with God, who can testify to you how God has taken care of, and provided for, them despite being made redundant or losing their business due to COVID-19. Has it been easy to go through that hardship? Of course not! Do followers of Jesus have a trouble-free life? No, Jesus never promised us a carefree life, but He has promised never to leave us or forsake us when we put our trust in Him. There is a silver lining to hardship: every answer to prayer, or act of provision outside of our control, builds our hope in God and, in return, our hope for every day.

‘O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight’ (Psalm 16:2-3).

Biblical hope implies that we understand that hope is not founded or built on our goodness. Yes, we are expected to display goodness as followers of Jesus to others, it is a fruit of the Spirit after all, but we cannot force God’s hand to love us with our efforts to be good.

In addition, verse 2 and 3 teach us that Biblical hope is fuelled by delighting in the work of followers of Jesus, implying that we need to make an effort to stay up to date with what God is doing in this world instead of giving too much of our time to the news in and of the world. This year has been a powerful example of this. Many of you know how watching the news on COVID-19 and other world events do not encourage hope in our lives but actually lead us to a place of despair. In fact, Psalm 16:4 encourages us, ‘Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips’.

On the other hand, there is nothing as joyous as hearing of students who, prompted by the Holy Spirit, have decided to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and are able to say ‘The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot’ (Psalm 16:5)!

Why is it important to give thanks? We need to acknowledge that God is the one who enables us to have success and achieve. Despite the challenges of 2020, we have no choice but to declare with David, ‘The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage’ (Psalm 16:6). Our school and our students have been blessed with amazing achievements and academic growth this year! Living from a place of gratitude enables us to have Biblical hope.

‘I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope’ (Psalm 16:7-9).

Biblical hope is a natural product of a lifestyle in which I intentionally choose to ‘set the LORD always before me’. How do I do this? I do my best to make an effort to spend time with God by (1) talking to Him through prayer continually, (2) studying His Word daily, and (3) making an effort to live according to the principles in the Word with integrity. If we live with this level of intentionality, we will be able to echo David, ‘I shall not be moved’ and our lives will be filled with consistent joy!

‘For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore’ (Psalm 16:10-11).

In Acts 13, the apostle Paul explains to the crowd that Psalm 16:10 actually prophesies about the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and goes on to explain to them how Jesus is the hope of the world.

The Scripture teaches us clearly that ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’.

Jesus is the source of all hope because He shows us the path of life, in His presence is fullness of joy and in His right hand there are pleasures for evermore. What or who is your source of hope? If it is not Jesus, there will be limits to your hope. Why not put your trust in the One who is limitless in His ability to give us hope regardless of our circumstances?

It has been an absolute honour and privilege to partner with your family and serve you in Christian education in 2020. We hope that you will be able to spend quality time as a family during the summer holiday and we look forward to partnering with you again in 2021.

Barend Blom


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