~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Andy Davis. You can hear the whole sermon, What to Expect When you’re Expecting, from by clicking here.
What Expectation Is and Isn’t
Expectation is such an important part of faith!
Expectation is looking forward to something that will happen. Another word for expectation is “anticipation.” An expectant person is anticipating something that will happen. It is worth noting, however, that sometimes we hear the word “expectation” and associate it with the concept of “demand.” But, Biblically, expecting is not the same as demanding. If we go outside one day and take our umbrella with us, it is because we are expecting it to rain – not demanding it to rain! We expect the rain because the meteorologist said there is a 100% chance of rain today.
We need to expect the things that God says! “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.” (Deut. 28:6) Expectation is very similar to what the Bible refers to as “hope.” Now, we culturally use “hope” to mean a “wish, desire” – which doesn’t conjure up confident expectation of something that will happen, that’s “for sure.” Scripturally, the Hebrew word Tiqwa literally means a cord (as an attachment), and figuratively: expectancy, expectation, expected, hope, thing that I long for. If we look at Tiqwa, it’s translated 23 times as hope and 7 times as expectation. Hope in a biblical sense has a confidence to it – an expectancy to it. Similarly in the Greek, Elpizo means “to expect or confide; hope (for), trust.” Elpis (from elpo – to anticipate, usually with pleasure) means “expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence: – faith, hope.” Expectation is meant to be a confident hope.
Why Should we Expect of God?
1. Because He tells us to! Look at Mark 11:24. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
2. God stands by His Word. God makes good on His Word! Look at Numbers 23:19. “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Matthew 5:37 bears this out to. “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No,’ ‘No’. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one”. God tells us to let our yes be yes, to be people of our word because all else is from the evil one. Is there any evil in God? NO! So, His yes is yes! That is why 2 Cor 1:20 says “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
3. Jesus already paid for it all! It is “in Jesus” that all the promises of God are yes to us! “He was wounded for our transgression. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. By His stripes we are healed.” Those promises of God were paid for – by Jesus! We have an all access pass to the promises of God because Jesus paid for us to have an all access pass to the promises of God!
4. He is Faithful. Deuteronomy 7:9. “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” God is a faithful God! His faithfulness is the bedrock of our confidence in Him!
Why We Don’t Expect
1. We don’t think that God has time to focus on little old me. We can tend to think He’s got bigger problems to deal with and don’t have time for us and our personal needs. First of all, you’re right, God doesn’t have time . . . He doesn’t even LIVE IN TIME. He lives in eternity! Of course, if any of us asked a loved one to help with 17 billion things in a single day, they would run out of time and be forced to prioritize their schedule for the big, important things. But God doesn’t run out of time in eternity. Look at 2 Peter 3:8: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” So God does have time for you, He has time for your every need, your every prayer.
2. We are afraid to be disappointed; it hurts. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” The reality is, when we don’t see our expectation come to pass (even temporally), it can be very disappointing. And that disappointment (which we have all felt) can cause us all to “back off” in what we are expecting in life. A young baseball player likely dreams during the day about hitting home runs, but during the game, he may find himself afraid to get up to bat after striking out. Disappointment hurts. But, when the desire comes, it is a tree of life! My grandpa always exhorted me “you can’t catch a fish if your line’s not in the water.” JP Morgan said “half of business is showing up.” Sometimes the mental fight to get (back) in the game – ti raise our level of expectation again – is a major road block to expectation . . . that we need to recognize and address head on! And remember who we are we expecting from – Him who is perfectly Faithful and True!
How Should We Expect of God?
1. Earnestly. Romans 8:19-21 says, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” So if we look at this section of scripture, it says that the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits – this is like a picture of a kid who has just been offered ice cream, they are sitting there drooling, waiting for it, seeing it coming, pulling up to the store, seeing the tubs of ice cream, watching it scooped…knowing it will be in their little hand soon! That kiddo is EAGERLY waiting. This is a great picture of how we are to hope and expect in the Kingdom. We can hope and expect eagerly!
2. With Perseverance. Romans 8:25 says: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” We wait eagerly and with perseverance. And that’s the second aspect of how we are to expect and hope in the kingdom. With perseverance. We are to carry on hoping, carry on expecting steadfastly. Perseverance is about “keeping going.” Look at Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering”. As you persevere in hope, in expectation, don’t waver. Stay the course.
3. With Patience. And lastly, as we eagerly and perseveringly wait, hope, and expect, we also do it with patience. That’s the way that we likely differ from the young child who is hoping for his ice cream. Patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit that lives within us. Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience) . . .” Just because we can expect the promises of God with great confidence, we don’t wait impatiently. We eagerly hope and expect with patience and perseverance.
What We Can Expect
Hope (expectation) is a precursor to faith. Look at Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” You have to have something “hoped for” in order to release your faith! That’s really powerful! To operate in faith in our lives, we need to hope, we need to expect. And what do we need to expect, what do we need to hope for? Well, in a word…the WORD. We need to expect all the great and precious promises in God’s Word!
We need to expect 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who Calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”
We need to expect and hope for eternal life. Titus 3:7 says, “that having been justified by his grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
We need to expect that we are never alone. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth , nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Joshua 1:5 says, “I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
We need to expect that we have boldness and confidence. Proverbs 3:26 says, “For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have a place of refuge.” Look at Hebrews 10:19. It says, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.”
And the list goes on and on. We know so many of these promises. Now let’s lay our hope and expectation on them. Let’s find those promises that we don’t know and lay our hopes and expectations on those too!