Hope Doesn’t Just Happen.
It is chosen and formed through life’s hard places as we cling to God’s promises and presence. Hope doesn’t just happen because God wants a relationship with us where we seek Him and find peace. Hope in anything in this world is temporary.
Don’t doubt God’s goodness or existence when life is hard.
God would not bring you to something if He could not bring you through it. He has purposes that extend much further than our comfort. He is good in all He does. And He will use that hard place for your good and His glory.
Don’t crave someone else’s blessings.
Sometimes in the in-between it is hard. While we wait for deliverance and restoration, we can be tempted to crave what others have and give in to jealousy. Change your focus.
Don’t look for the blessing.
Look for Jesus. He is our blessing. Someone else’s portion will not satisfy. God’s presence in the midst of hard enables us to walk through it all. Hope doesn’t just happen because God made us to be people of a greater hope—a hope that is formed in all of life as we look to Jesus.
The Psalmist speaks to us today in Psalms 71-73, reminding us about where our hope and trust should be placed.
Psalm 71:1 the Psalmist professes where his trust is: “Lord, I seek refuge in you; let me never be disgraced.”
Other translations say the word trust or protection for the word refuge. As we continue to read this Psalm, the Psalmist is saying his trust is in God and has been his whole life. He continues to look to God for justice, rescue, deliverance and salvation. His hope and confidence are in God – not in this world or in outcomes:
Psalm 71:5, “For you are my hope, Lord God, my confidence from my youth.”
Hope in God.
Friends, we have to hold onto this hope we have in God. Many things in this world will try to pull us away.
Suffering and hardship will test our faith. Will we trust in God even then?
Scripture of the Day: Psalm 71:20-21
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. 21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.”
Does the fact that God allows pain cause you to doubt Him or His goodness? The CSB translation says “you caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes”.
God’s goodness is not based upon our blessing.
I was talking with a friend who said a family member became atheist because she had a family member that died. Friends, we need to have our expectations in the right place. Here are just a few:
- We live in a world that is under the curse. Adam and Eve introduced us to no man’s land – a fallen world.
- We have a consequence of death – 100% death rate – because of their choosing sin over God’s provision.
- And . . . we have been warned. We will have troubles in this world:
John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Hope Doesn’t Just Happen . . . God is our Hope.
We are not alone. We have God with us. Do you believe that today, friends? I know life is hard. I know that thing you are going through right now might just feel too hard. But please don’t believe the lies of the enemy that God does not care or that He is not there. And verse 21 is a sweet reward for those who choose to trust in God:
“You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.”
Remember the story of Job? He was more blessed than before when God restored him. And friends, so am I. God has brought me through horrific trials to a place of restoration.
Hope in God’s promises and that He will use us for His glory.
Don’t just hope for deliverance. Hope that God will use anything we go through down here to make us like Him and to bring Himself glory. Nothing we go through down here is in vain. This world is a red hot mess, but God can still choose to bless and heal and restore us.
Psalm 72 was written for or by Solomon – a prayer for the king.
Hope in God’s plan—not yours.
Psalm 73 is such a sweet reminder that we need to be content with God’s provision for us and not be jealous when others or the wicked prosper.
This Psalm is in 3 parts.
- The Psalmist lamented about the wicked. His comparison bred discontent and he began to doubt God’s goodness.
- The Psalmist was wondering if it is worth it to be righteous. His focus shifted to self. Self-pity blinded him and led to depression.
- The Psalmist shifted his focus back to God starting in v. 15.
Psalm 73:1-3 reveal the root sin that can tempt us all – envy or coveting:
“God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. 3 For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Friends, do you doubt God’s goodness when you look at your lot? Do you wonder why others don’t suffer as you do?
Change your focus.
David went from describing the mockery and sin of the wicked to a shift that starts in v. 15
“If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless 17 until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.”
Entering God’s presence is the difference. Reading God’s word opens our minds up to truth.
Let’s read Psalm 73:21-28
“When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, 22 I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward you. 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me up in glory. 25 Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever. 27 Those far from you will certainly perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all you do.”
Hope doesn’t just happen – it is formed in His presence.
When we let go of bitterness and trust God’s will and provision for our life, we discover that He is our portion and His presence is our blessing.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day 179: Psalms 71-73
Scripture of the Day: Psalm 71:20-21
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