>Hope as the Soul’s Anchor

>Although I’ve read every verse of the Bible several times, it often happens that circumstances and the Lord’s leading will make even a familiar verse take on new meaning and strike me as if I’m reading it for the very first time.

That happened during my devotions yesterday morning when I read Ligonier’s Tabletalk devotional focused on faith as “A Hopeful Vision.” The meditation was based on Hebrews 11:1-2, but it also mentioned Hebrews 6:19.

In vivid imagery, Hebrews 6:19 describes the “hope set before us” as a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”

The “two unchangeable things” (v.18) on which this hope is based are God’s word and his oath. John Calvin writes in his commentary on Hebrews, “What God says as well as what he swears is immutable.” He notes that when God adjoins his oath to his already certain word, it is an “overplus added to a full measure” (p. 151).

In his usual lucid and eloquent manner, Calvin goes on to discuss the image of hope as an anchor:

It is a striking likeness when he compares faith leaning on God’s word to an anchor…as long as we sojourn in this world, we stand not on firm ground, but are tossed here and there as it were in the midst of a sea…for Satan is incessantly stirring up innumerable storms, which would immediately upset and sink our vessel, were we not to cast our anchor fast in the deep. For nowhere a haven appears to our eyes…waves also arise and threaten us; but as the anchor is cast through the waters in a dark and unseen place, and while it lies hid
there, keeps the vessel beaten by the waves from being verwhelmed; so must our hope be fixed on the invisible God. There is this difference,—the anchor is cast downwards into the sea…but our hope rises upwards and soars aloft…to rest on God alone…. Thus when united to God, though we must struggle with continual storms, we are yet beyond the peril of shipwreck…. It may indeed be that by the violence of the waves the anchor may be plucked off, or the cable be broken, or the beaten ship be torn to pieces…on the sea; but the power of God to sustain us is wholly different, and so also is the strength of hope and the firmness of his word.

The image of hope as an anchor for the soul, based on the immutable promises of God’s word and his oath, was impressed on me through this beautiful and precious promise.


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