Exciting phrases, easy acronyms, and memorable lists formed from dense works of systematic theology can be helpful for the everyday Christian. While these reductions of God’s Word and His nature help us understand general frameworks, they are unable to help us understand everything the Bible teaches. It is one thing...
When anxiety or fear or discouragement or confusion abounds, the silent monologue within our hearts boils down to this one question: “What reason do I have for hope right now?”
This is why Psalm 130 is so striking. The title says it all: My Soul Waits for the Lord. In it, we find five clear reasons Christians have to hope in the Lord today and right this very moment:
Hope because God hears you.
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!” (vv. 1-2)
In Christ, God has paved the way for sinners lost in darkness to have access to him once again. And not only access, but rich fellowship! The Christian whose heart has been made new sees his or her need for salvation, sees the depths and rancor of sin, and knows that he or she brings nothing to the table. The Christian hopes in the assured presence of God who hears when they call, knowing that reconciliation has been secured by Christ’s blood. God’s continual presence is a living stream that pours into the life of the believer (Psalm 1). This gives us hope because we are never alone.
Hope because God has mercy on you.
“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (vv. 3-4).
The singer’s realization of his depravity in this verse is so helpful for us. He sees God’s glory and, therefore, also sees that he cannot possibly stand before a perfect God apart from God making a way for him. And God has, for all believers. He has extended his mercy to those who put their faith in Christ, pouring out his just wrath on his Son, instead of on us. We have reason to hope because God has offered us forgiveness in Christ and, therefore, has declared us righteous. There is now no condemnation for us, even when the battle against the flesh seems unbeatable and our own hearts condemn us.
Hope because God speaks to you.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (v. 5).
God’s living and active word is a miracle! You do not need to wait to hear from him during turbulent times because all you need is to open your Bible. God has provided a means for you to know the truth and to be sanctified by it. Christians do not travel this life alone without any resources to strengthen their fight; the Word is the sword of the Spirit. Hope because God gives you all you need to live wisely, to be nourished, and to be equipped right here and right now.
Hope because God will return for you.
“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning” (v. 6).
A watchman is simply “a person who keeps watch,” and in Old Testament times, this person would be assigned to watch over a portion of land from a high city wall. It was their job to spot intruders and guard against invasion. Christians hope for the “morning,” the day when Christ will come on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory to establish the new heavens and the new earth. The Psalm instructs us to be watchful for this day, not to sit back and despair, and not to become distracted by the world. We are to be actively engaged in waiting, which means we are on guard against the power of sin at work in the world and in our own flesh. We hope because we know what is coming in Christ’s glorious return! It is expected and sure, just like the morning.
Hope because God will finish the work he began in you.
“O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (vv. 7-8).
Our battle against sin and our foreign status in this world can be discouraging realities. But Christians place their hope in God to see their sanctification, or growth in the Christian life, through to the very end, to completion. Sin threatens discouragement and despair, but the new creation rests his or her hope in the Holy Spirit’s power to bear good fruit and empower good works. The world is not our final stop, and in the end, the Christian will be glorified!
When the journey is long and the road is hard, still there is hope abundant.
Your turn: Which of these five truths do you need to remember today?