Psalm 38 and 39 … Consider Him, Our Only Hope

originally posted: 10/14/2020

For I hope in You, O Lord;
You will answer, O Lord my God,

And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You,

Sickness, sin, separation, agitation, anxiety, torment, disease, dismay, evil, enemies, opposition. This is the backdrop that emerges behind both these Psalms. And it is out of this place that David petitions his God, acknowledges his sin in confession, and professes that his Only Hope is in his God, his Lord, his salvation.

This word, hope, is used as both a verb and a noun, in our English language as well as the Hebrew. In the Hebrew, these words do not share the same root, however their definitions match well with our own understanding of this word, hope.

38:15 Hope: “3176. יָחַל yāḥal: A verb meaning to wait, to hope, to tarry… In the Psalms, it frequently means to wait with hope.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Hope (verb): to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to cherish a desire with anticipation; to expect with confidence; to want something to happen or to be true, and usually have a good reason to think that it might; to want very much; to believe, desire, or to place trust.

39:7 Hope: 8431. תּוֹחֶלֶת tôḥeleṯ: A feminine noun meaning hope. This word is found most often in the Wisdom Literature of Proverbs. Hope is associated with the prosperity of the righteous…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Hope (noun): desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; expectation of fulfillment or success; grounds for believing that something good may happen; a person or thing that may help or save someone; someone or something on which hopes are centered; trust, reliance.

And as David lists a litany of ailments and problems, still, in his writing we can hear Hope. Even though he is sick and crushed to the point of death, even though he admits he has brought much of this upon himself and is deserving of God’s wrath, even though he is pursued and taunted by the enemy, even though his own family and friends have deserted him, even though he is full of anxiety, still we hear Hope. How is this so?

David understood and believed some significantly powerful realities that enable Hope to rise from out of the ashes of despair. This life is not all there is. There is a promise of prosperity awaiting the righteous who live by faith. There is One Who is greater than every trial and affliction, and there is One Who hears and answers; Him, Our Only Hope.

Consider Him, Our Only Hope 

  • He is the God of Hope Who fills us in believing to abound in Him, Our Only Hope.
    • Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, (Romans 15:13).
  • He is Our Only Hope Who does not disappoint.
    • And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us, (Romans 5:5).
  • He is Our Only Hope, revealed in the Scriptures.
    • For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, (Romans 15:4).
  • He is Our Only Hope, in Him we are saved by faith.
    • For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it, (Romans 8:24-25).
  • He is Our Only Hope of righteousness.
    • For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness, (Galatians 5:5).
  • He is Our Only Hope, our One and Only Hope.
    • There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all, (Ephesians 4:4-6).
  • He is Our Only Hope of eternal life.
    • in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, (Titus 1:2-3).
  • He is Our Only Hope of inheriting eternal life.
    • so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life, (Titus 3:7).
  • He is Our Only Hope, our sure and steadfast anchor for the soul.
    • so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, (Hebrews 6:18-19).
  • He is Our Only Hope; He is Jesus.
    • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, (1 Timothy 1:1).

How do we respond to Him, Our Only Hope?

Biblical hope implies waiting and believing that because of Him, something good will happen. Biblical hope means waiting in full expectancy for Him, Our Only Hope, to answer our prayers as only He can. He knows our deepest needs and all our frailties; so, we can be honest, like David, and ask Him to answer us quickly.

Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!

Jesus assured us that our Hope in Him would move us to petition Him with anticipation that He would make haste to respond.

“now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly…” (Luke 18:7-8).

In these times of hoping, in the waiting for Him, Our Only Hope, He has provided much instruction on how we are to put our hope in Him, Our Only Hope.

  • Let us ask Him to grow our faith, that even when it seems an impossibility, even in hope against hope, we would be like Abraham, believing Him, Our Only Hope.
    • (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be,” (Romans 4:17-18).
  • And sometimes, we just have to remind ourselves… remind ourselves that in His perfect time, He will answer us, and we will again praise Him, Our Only Hope, for His help.
    • Why are you in despair, O my soul?
      And why have you become disturbed within me?
      Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
      The help of my countenance and my God,
      (Psalm 42:11).
  • And as we redirect our hearts to the truth of Him, Our Only Hope, He will direct our hearts to continual hope and ceaseless praise.
    • But as for me, I will hope continually,
      And will praise You yet more and more,
      (Psalm 71:14).
  • Let us ask Him to direct our hearts during our time with Him in His Word, believing we will be protected from the lies of the enemy, and strengthened to put all our hope in Him, Our Only Hope.
    • You are my shelter and my shield;
      I put my hope in Your word,
      (Psalm 119:114 HCSB).
  • As we grow to see Him as the answer to every need, and that we have been allotted every good thing in Him because He is faithful, we will set our hearts above all else to seek Him, Our Only Hope.
    • The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
      “Therefore I have hope in Him.”
      25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
      To the person who seeks Him,
      (Lamentations 3:24-25).
  • As we hope in Him, He will enable us to live above the woes of this life in renewed faith and strength in Him, Our Only Hope.
    • Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
      31 but those who hope in the LORD
      will renew their strength.
      They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint,
      (Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV).
  • Let us pray that He would convince us of all He has called us to and of all that we have in Him, Our Only Hope.
    • I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:18).
  • Let us obey His instructions, convinced that as we look for Him, Our Only Hope, we can live in His righteousness, even in the midst of evil, as we deny ungodly, worldly desires.
    • instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, (Titus 2:12-13).
  • May our hope be entirely fixed on Him, Our Only Hope, that we would grow in our desire to live in His likeness and purity.
    • And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure, (1 John 3:3).

When we live in the purity of our Savior, with our hope fixed on Him, we should be ready to answer when people ask why we are different. Let’s be prepared to share the truth of the amazing God we serve, Who loved us and gave Himself for us that our hope would be sure. Only in Jesus do we have real hope; only in Jesus do we have the promise of eternal security. May we always be ready to gently and respectfully defend the truth of Him, Our Only Hope!

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (1 Peter 3:15).

Let’s Grow Together!

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