The Lord Is Our Hope
By Rich Carmicheal
This issue of the Herald focuses on the importance of a true knowledge of God. I hope the messages not only increase your understanding of His attributes, but lead you into deeper reverence toward Him and into closer fellowship with Him. Some of the articles are very weighty and will require extra effort to read, but promise to yield precious treasure to those who take them to heart.
The Lord has put it upon my heart to share in this article some truths about Him from Psalm 71 that may be very encouraging to readers who are in the midst of trials and troubles. The author of this psalm is himself in a very dire situation. He has real enemies seeking his ruin (vv. 4, 10-11, 13). He has most likely reached old age in which his own strength is failing (v. 9). He has experienced many troubles and distresses, and feels he is in the depths of the earth (v. 20). He needs to be delivered, rescued, saved and helped out of his present situation (vv. 2-4, 12). He is in need of the Lord’s comfort (v. 21).
And yet, instead of giving in to despair under the weight of all of this, he is filled with hope – “But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise Thee yet more and more” (Psa. 71:14). Why so? Because he has his eyes set upon the Lord and has placed his hope in Him. And not only is his hope in the Lord, his hope is the Lord: “For Thou art my hope” (v. 5).
No matter how difficult our circumstances, we can, like the psalmist, always have hope when we turn to the Lord. If you are even now in the midst of trials that are pressing you, perhaps even threatening to overwhelm you, may the following truths about the Lord deepen your hope in Him:
The Lord is a Strong Refuge. “In Thee, O Lord, I have taken refuge…” (v. 1); “…Thou art my rock and my fortress” (v. 3); “…Thou art my strong refuge” (v. 7).
How good it is to know that in the midst of the storms of life, there is One to whom we can go and find refuge – One who is good and a stronghold in the day of trouble (Nah. 1:7); One who is a place of safety (Prov. 18:10); One who is “a shield to all who take refuge in Him” (Psa. 18:30); One who covers us and protects us (Psa. 91:4). The Lord is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride” (Psa. 46:1-3).
The Lord is always accessible. “Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come…” (Psa. 71:3).
As much as such wonderful access was available to the psalmist, how much more for us who are in Christ! Because of Him, we are able to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). The Lord does not leave us alone to fend for ourselves, but welcomes us into His presence to enjoy His fellowship and to receive all of the divine resources we need for life. As we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (Jas. 4:8), and His presence, His peace, and His provision make all the difference! “…The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:5-7).
The Lord is faithful to sustain you. “By Thee I have been sustained from my birth; Thou art He who took me from my mother’s womb…” (Psa. 71:6); “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength fails” (v. 9).
You are the work of the Lord’s hand, and He knows you intimately and cares for you deeply (Psa. 139:1-16). Though you (as with everyone else) have sinned and been unfaithful to Him at times in your life, He has always been a faithful God over your life. His “lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him’” (Lam. 3:22-24). His promise is, “‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid…’” (Heb. 13:5-6). He will see us through the highs and lows of life as we entrust ourselves and our situations to Him. As the words to an old gospel song put it, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us.…”
The Lord is able to strengthen you. “And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Thy strength to this generation, Thy power to all who are to come” (Psa. 71:18).
Whereas our strength inevitably fails (v. 9), the Lord’s strength is limitless and unending. “Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary” (Psa. 96:6) and He is “abundant in strength” (Psa. 147:5). By His strength He sustains the stars, and He is a God who gives “strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power” (Isa. 40:26, 29). When we wait upon Him, we gain new strength (v. 31) – His strength! And we do not just receive His strength, but the Lord Himself is our strength – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped…” (Psa. 28:7); “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psa. 73:26). We can do all things through Him who strengthens us! (Phil. 4:13). And when His strength is at work in us and through us, our lives become a testimony to His grace and glory! (1 Pet. 4:11).
The Lord is able to work good out of your troubles. “…O God, who is like Thee? Thou, who hast shown me many troubles and distresses, wilt revive me again, and wilt bring me up again from the depths of the earth” (Psa. 71:19-20).
Our God is a wonderful God who has the power to transform situations! He gives “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3). What the enemy means for evil, the Lord is able to work through to accomplish His purposes (Gen. 50:20). When we turn over our trials and troubles to Him, He is able to work through them for His glory and honor. He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). As we trust Him with all of our heart, He is able to make our paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6). As we persevere through suffering, we eventually see “the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (Jas. 5:11).
The Lord is able to deliver, rescue and help. “In Thy righteousness deliver me, and rescue me; incline Thine ear to me, and save me” (Psa. 71:2); “…O my God, hasten to my help!” (v. 12).
Our God is able to deliver us from our enemies (Psa. 18:17), from our fears (Psa. 34:4) and from our troubles and afflictions (Psa. 34:17, 19). When we cry out to Him, He is able to bring us out of our distresses, no matter how difficult and hopeless they seem (see Psalm 107). Our help comes from the One who made heaven and earth, so nothing is too difficult for Him! (Psa. 121:2; Jer. 32:17).
The Lord is able to comfort you. “Mayest Thou…turn to comfort me” (Psa. 71:21). God is fully aware when we are distraught, and He is able to provide deep comfort to us. He is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction…” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Whether the situation improves or not, and even if we face afflictions on every side, conflicts without, fears within, our God is able to comfort us (2 Cor. 7:6).
Dear friend, let your circumstances press you all the closer to the Lord. He will be faithful to care for you, and as He does, your life will become a greater testimony to the wonderful God that He is! “But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise Thee yet more and more”! (Psa. 71:14).
May We Hear from You?
The Herald staff considers it a great privilege to share messages each month through this ministry, and we are always encouraged and blessed to hear from readers. We hope to hear from you soon!
Herald of His Coming
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