It's very, very tempting to shift our hope from the One who saved us to the things He has given us.
Take homeschooling, for instance. It's a gift. A method. An opportunity to possibly log more hours with our kids than if they were in a traditional school. But too many times we shift our hope to this method, taking our eyes off the One who saves to what He has given us. Years later when we see homeschooled kids walk in the complete opposite direction, we wonder what happened. We're bitter. We feel abandoned. Our hope has let us down! Our misplaced hope.
The Israelites hope-shifted well. It never occurred to me until a recent sermon series that those Israelites were still hanging out in Egypt 400 years after the famine had ended. What were they still doing there??? Certainly, once the famine was over, they could have gone home. The famine only lasted 7 years... but the food was plenty, the atmosphere was comfortable, and the society was advanced and interesting. Their focus shifted, slowly perhaps, from the One who saved them to the things He had given them.
And it's more than ironic that 400 years later we see them building the Egyptian storehouses. Slaving over the very thing that had been given to them as a gift by the One who saves so many years before. Lo and behold, they were in bondage.
We can be in bondage to anything. We call them idols of the heart, and they are that. But they become those false gods to us when we shift our hope from the One who saves to what He has given us. It's all too easy to let our marriages, our children, our schooling methods, our churches, our diets, our home environments... become our sources of hope.
I've been there. I am there. We all shift our hope from day to day, looking for what we're doing or how we're being treated to give us what only Jesus can: Value. Worth. Significance. Identity. Hope.
Where are you putting your hope? If it isn't in Jesus, it will fail you. Guaranteed.