The search for happiness is something that many people search for their entire life. While many look to the government, material possessions, drugs, or pleasure to fill that longing, they quickly find that these only lead to temporary distractions on a lifelong quest for happiness.
Never have so many people been discontent with the status of their life as they are today. As their situation in life changes, they keep looking for that one illusive thing that will bring them contentment. Perhaps the true source of despair and hopelessness among many people is simply the recognition that life isn’t what it ought to be. Some of the things that promised them satisfaction and joy have not delivered on the promise.
One thing I can tell you for certain is you can’t live very long without hope. Hope is a main ingredient in life. It is the very core of who you are and your existence as a person.
Psalm 146 is called one of the hallelujah psalms, meaning they “praise the Lord.” And the hallelujah psalm in Psalm 146 portrays a wonderful picture of hope. It is an invitation to those who know despair all too well. It presents an opportunity to take another look at the hope that can only be found in God.
Let’s work through this psalm together on three key points, all of them leading to the One who can and will provide.
1. There is a strong resolution to find hope in God.
In verses two and three the psalmist writes, “Praise the Lord, oh my soul, while I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” Hope in God is a decision that we make. Sooner or later in our life we come to a fork in the road where we have to make a choice. Either we will put our faith in our own strength or we will make our journey toward God. The psalmist here, with great resolution, says, “I will praise and sing unto my God.”
2. There is a strong resolution to reject placing hope in man.
The psalmist writes, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.” It is a very interesting day for us at this particular juncture in history. If you examine the lives of our leaders, you will discover they have glaring flaws. The psalmist challenges us not to put our hope in these mortal men or women, but rather we should put our hope in God who lives forever and reigns throughout all generations.
3. There is a strong resolution that man’s plans will end, but God’s truth lasts forever.
The last part of the psalm contains some of the most encouraging truth I have read on this subject of hope. The question is, “What can God do for those who look to Him for help?” The description given for those whom God helps makes room for all of us. The psalmist writes, “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow.” God allows hope to spring out of hopelessness for all people.
Life has a way of setting us on the course of hopelessness unless we have God at the center of our lives to hold us steady. I want to challenge you that if you don’t have hope in your life today, begin to cultivate it by looking to God as your source of strength. When you feel you are sinking into despair, ask yourself the question of the Psalmist in Psalm 42, “Why art thou cast down O my soul? Hope thou in God.”
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
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