Friday, June 17, 2011

Hope in the LORD!


“Hope in the LORD!” (Psalm 130:7)

Where is your hope? When the circumstances of life seem to be smooth sailing, where is your hope? When the weight of the world seems to be crushing you with anxiety and trials, where is your hope? When life seems to be mundane and normal, where is your hope? If we were to answer honestly I bet in all those circumstances our hope may shift from one thing to another or maybe more accurately one person to another. But here we see in Scripture: “Hope in the LORD!” It is hoping in the LORD that brings us true rest in all circumstances.

In the immediate context we read of the deep anguish of the Psalmist in the first part of the Psalm. He is wrestling with what seems to be a deep awareness of his own sinfulness. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!” This seems to be the idea of the weight of his sin in light of knowing the holiness of his God. Have you been in this place before? Maybe you’ve read a passage of Scripture becoming aware of a certain sin you have been oblivious to for many years. Maybe a sermon was preached where the Holy Spirit convicted you of a pattern of your life you were unaware of. I know I’ve been there before and the weight is heavy because we see how unworthy we are compared to holy God. The Psalmist seems to be in this position as he cries out to the LORD to hear his pleas for mercy.

Next the Psalmist goes on to ask a question that really requires no answer whatsoever: “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” If you are contemplating the answer right now let me help you out with the correct answer: Nobody. Simply put not one person could stand before God if he were to guard (mark) our sins. Another translation says, “Keep a record of sins” (NIV). The Psalmist does not stop his train of thought after the question but rather brings in the hope all Christians can cling to tightly. “But with you there is forgiveness.” “But” is a word of hope. We not left to own to stand before holy God in judgment if we place our trust in his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The Psalmist is struggling over the weight of his sin but he finds “hope in the LORD” when he remembers the steadfast love the LORD has for his people. His pleas for mercy are met with this promise: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-5). The reason the Psalmist pleads with Israel to “hope in the LORD” is because he understanding the mercy and grace God gives in pardoning sin. Not only did he pardon our sin but he also “made us alive.” The Psalmist comes to the same conclusion when he says, “That you may be feared.” This is the purpose of God’s forgiveness so that he may be feared. God wants us to be awed by him and wants us to show him the reverence he alone deserves. The gospel is an anchored hope because it is a “hope in the LORD.”

To answer the question above: Where is your hope? Whether times are good, bad and just plain normal we, as Christians, should be anchored in our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. He is sovereign over all of life and he is good so we can completely trust him in all circumstances. So with the Psalmist I will conclude:

O readers, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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