The Journey of Hope - One
Psalm 33 begins with a glorious hymn of praise. It expresses sheer cloudless joy, measured entirely by the Lord’s goodness, rather than our worthiness. It praises the God who is bringing his purposes in creation to perfect fulfilment through his mighty sovereignty. It is on this basis that the psalm goes on to speak of hope.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling-place he watches all who live on earth –
he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
It is a most blessed thing to be among those who are the people of God. It is not a daunting thing to be constantly under his gaze. He looks upon us and knows each of us completely. He sees everything you and I do and knows all our motivations, both the good and the bad. The important thing is for us to recognise that our lives are under the constant gaze of the One who is perfectly righteous and who has the purpose and the power to bring that righteousness into being in all his creation – including in you and me.
In my weakness and fallibility, I need to know that the Lord watches over me. There is no point in me cultivating any false pride or belief in my self-sufficiency. For each of us, our posture must always be one of open, honest humility and vulnerability before the Lord.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
The Lord’s eye is on us not to judge and condemn, but to deliver and sustain us. That is why it is good to know that his eyes are ever on us. That is why it is spiritually healthy to live in constant acknowledgement of that reality, even in our moments of failure and shame.
The foundation of hope in each of our lives, whatever our context may be, is the Lord’s “unfailing love”. God’s eyes are on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. That speaks of a hope that is contained within the very heart of God. It is a hope that draws you and me “into” the heart of the Lord, to know him, to be surrendered to him and to love him.
It is vain to look for hope in our surrounding circumstances, and, even more so, in our broken selves or in anyone else in this fallen world. In Christ alone is where true hope lodges. That, then, calls us to wait upon the Lord and to lay our souls down in surrender, letting go of all our imperious desires to have what we long for in our own time and on our own terms.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
Yes, we all long for love; we all long to be tenderly cherished; we all need the wounds and hungers of our childhoods to be healed. But we must humbly look to him who alone can do this for us and wait for him to do it in his time and according to his plan. It is good for us to wait in hope for the Lord. The waiting is healthy. It prepares our hearts and draws us into unhurried intimacy with the Lord. It teaches us that being in his presence is more important than receiving his gifts. His presence is all I need – my hope is in him.
So, with all our flaws and longings, we come to the Lord who loves us and who is infinitely powerful, and we wait in hope. We trust in his holy name, by which he forms true righteousness in us, and, in the waiting, we find ourselves rejoicing – rejoicing in him; in the utter beauty and sufficiency of him in whom our whole hope is lodged. “May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.