Hope in God’s Steadfast Love
Bible Reading: Psalm 33
According to a study done by Brown University in October of 2021, “Depression among U.S. adults persisted, and worsened, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The study found that nearly 33% of US adults experienced elevated depressive symptoms in 2021, compared to only 8.5% before the pandemic. That’s an alarming statistic! It’d be fair to say that in these days of uncertainty many people are losing hope. But you already know this. You hear the news. You have friends and family members who’ve expressed their concerns to you about where things are headed–be it the pandemic, the divisiveness, the economy, the increase in crime, the border crisis; or the threat of pending war.
What is going to make the difference for us? Remember, hope is an attitude, a way of thinking about things. The only way we can experience confident hope in uncertain times, is when it is well-founded in our minds and hearts, based within a strong and stable source.
The Psalmist knew where and where not, to set his hope. Not in the nations. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, but the Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing. The ship of history is captained by our sovereign God. It is on course and will not be deterred from reaching its final destination. Nations come and go. They have. They will. Yet Our Creator God has always been and will always be. “Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” So we set our hope on Him.
A leader and his people could place their hope in the strength of their military or the wealth of their economy, or the supposed wisdom of their leaders and their plans, but “the King is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength” (Psalm 33:16). Even “the war horse is a false hope for salvation” (Psalm 33:17) Though I suppose most of us don’t have one of those!
If we look in any horizontal direction, it can be a struggle to find a valid place to set our hope. We are sinners. None of us are perfect. None of us is able to predict the future, let alone secure it. Instead, we must look to God for hope. Note what the Psalmist declares about our Creator! “All His work is done in faithfulness,” which means we can count on Him to always do what He says (Psalm 33:4). He will fulfill every promise. As our powerful Creator, He has the power to secure our future (Psalm 33:6-9). He is not aloof to our situation, He “looks down from heaven, he sees all the children of men” (Psalm 33:13). In fact, “the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him” (Psalm 33:18). That’s why the Psalmist declared, “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you” (Psalm 33:22).
The words “steadfast love” translate from the Hebrew word, “hesed,” a word which is sometimes translated “lovingkindness” or “mercy.” The term is rich in meaning and carries with it three different related meanings: “strength,” “steadfastness,” and “love.” The term was commonly used in the Psalms, and appears twice in this one. The heart of God is for the child of God. Our Heavenly Father is strong and loyal in His love towards us. So we set our hope on him (Psalm 33:22).
The story is told of a young man who was aboard ship during a raging storm. His fellow passengers were full of fear and worry, but he appeared to be at ease and unconcerned. When asked the reason, he answered, “The captain of the ship was his father, and he knew that his father would take good care of him.”
A Certain Hope is a Hope set on a Sure Source
Heavenly Father. We praise You as our Creator God, the One who is always faithful to do what You say! How thankful we are that You know all and see all and are Sovereign over all. We are forever grateful for Your strong and loyal love for us! Grant us the wisdom and resolve to fully set our hope on You, and that which You have prepared and secured for us. Amen.