"Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."
When I first read this verse, it was those first eight words that captured me. "Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope..."
There have been many times in my life that I was a prisoner to something; sin, unforgiveness, doubt, failure, rejection, anger, depression. But hope? I don't recall ever considering myself a prisoner of hope. But, if I am going to be a prisoner of something, let it be hope!
Researching the verse a little, I read this in Matthew Henry's Commentary:
"...The Jews that had returned out of captivity into their own land were yet, in effect, but prisoners (We are servants this day, Neh. 9:36 ), yet prisoners of hope, or expectation, for God had given them a little reviving in their bondage,Ezra. 9:8, Ezra. 9:9). Those that yet continued in Babylon, detained by their affairs there, yet lived in hope some time or other to see their own land again. Now both these are directed to turn their eyes upon the Messiah, set before them in the promise as their strong-hold, to shelter themselves in him, and stay themselves upon him, for the perfecting of the mercy which by his grace, and for his sake, was so gloriously begun..."
The Jews at that time were awaiting the Messiah. We live on the other side of His coming. The beautiful reality is I am a prisoner of hope! He is my fortress! Check this out:
I Peter 1:3-5 says,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."
Because of God's great mercy, we can have new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While you're reading, feast your eyes on what's to come... "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for us...!"
Let me leave you with a question. What are you a prisoner of? Join me in my Fortress, there is plenty of room, and plenty of hope!