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“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:18-19 NKJV)

People everywhere are looking for hope in these troubling times. Sadly, for many, they are looking in all the wrong places or should I say in the wrong person(s) or ideology. It doesn’t matter if you are on the political left or on the political right, if one’s hope is not in God and His mercy, then it will be a vain hope, a false hope. This is not an ideological hope; this is reality! This is truth!

Only God can deliver us from our enemies in this world and in the spiritual realm. Yet, many are looking to be rescued from corrupt policies and evil politicians of our day by the military or by a strong individual who will lead us out of the darkness that is quickly engulfing our days. According to the verses that immediately precede the ones quoted above, we are told that “No king is saved by the multitude of an army. A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength” (vs. 16-17). Though God may use an army and/or the might of a strong man, such as Samson in the Old Testament, or a strong leader such as what we saw with President Trump to deliver us and our nation from the evil and corruption of our day; it is ultimately God who delivers us from our enemies as He works His perfect will for the good of His people and His glory.

Our hope, therefore, must be in God! Our hope must be in His mercy for though we deserve and earned only the full weight of His wrath and punishment both now and forever, He is a merciful God. He is a merciful God who does not show mercy at the expense of His justice. In His mercy, He sent Jesus Christ, the Second person the Triune God, to make full satisfaction to God’s justice. Therefore, hope in God’s mercy for the hand of the Lord God is mighty and powerful to save us not only from the misery of our sin, but also from the tyranny of wicked men and women who have exalted themselves above the law and have abused their positions of power for their own personal gain at the expense of the citizens they are to serve, without partiality, from the poorest to the richest, from the downtrodden to the affluent.

The Lord God is the only One who can save us from tyranny. He is the only One who can lift the foot of oppression from our necks.  He is the only One who delivers us from the enemies of freedom, who are not satisfied with just suppressing the truth by proclaiming and promulgating lies concerning the realities of our day; they are compelled by the darkness that has engulfed their minds to censure the truth being proclaimed by faithful truth-tellers.

With the truth proclaimed by faithful believers in Christ, God will expose those who sit in darkness claiming to be light-bearers and truth-tellers, spreading half-truths, misinformation and outright lies. They not only practice their sinful ways unrepentantly; they revel it! On the other hand, there is such desperation for “hope.” People are looking for any signs of deliverance from the evil and darkness that has overtaken this nation, even throughout the world; and there are many sincere people offering those signs of hope. They think they are helping, but in reality, they are not because much of what is offered is based on false premises, misinformation and man-centered wisdom and solutions, which is being spread like wildfire around on the internet. As sincere as they may seem, those who promote these “signs of hope,” who say “trust the plan,” are being used of Satan to misdirect and give us false hope in someone or something other than God, who is able to save us to the uttermost.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will agree that it is very difficult, many times, to discern the difference between truth and error; to discern between what is a well-founded hope and a pseudo-hope in which to place one’s confidence. We tend to place our hope in pseudo-hope because it knows what we want to hear. It tickles our ears with words that calm our fears for the moment. It is distressing to see people put their hopes and dreams in a so-called rescue plan that has been contrived by human innovation and imagination, because there is so much deception and betrayal. Putting one’s hopes and dreams in a person, the military, or some other object of one’s hope is a formula for discouragement, disappointment or worse, despair, depression, and a total loss of hope – hopelessness leads to skepticism and fear. Once fear is in control it will only lead to destruction on an individual level as well as on a national and societal level.

Further, a pseudo-hope will, without exception, lead to superstition. A pseudo-hope is a man-centered hope requiring a certain activity to produce a desired result, especially in our favor. If the desired result happens we will continue in that activity believing it is what caused the desired result. Then superstition grabs hold of the heart. Once superstition takes hold of a person or society that person or society can easily be manipulated to perform actions, or embrace mindsets, that are meant to alleviate the crisis, or so they have been led to believe. However, more often than not those actions and mindsets have little or no actual effect on solving the crisis but only make the person or society feel good about himself or themselves, and their situation. In fact, many times those who live in fear are told that their problems and feeling of oppression are caused by others, who don’t subscribe to that superstition. That fear is stoked by pitting one people group against another people group or elevating one cultural bias above another human bias. We see this happening in the cancel culture and woke movement where others are blamed for the problems in society. Social justice is the buzzword of the day. However, social justice is not Biblical justice, neither is it about justice, at all. Rather, fear is stirred up, which will only lead to division and strife, hate and bitterness. Through this fear-driven movement, one group seeks to control the other group(s) through fear and intimidation, which only exacerbates the problem, not solve the problem.

So, you see that man’s solutions to the problems of our day are not really solutions at all. They only serve to deepen the hopelessness and despair and elevate a few to control the many. The question then is, “In whom or what should you place your hope?” We find the answer in the Bible.  Specifically, in Psalm 33 we find in whom and in what we are not only NOT to put our hope, but also in whom we ARE to put our hope; that is, the Lord God.

It doesn’t just declare we are to put our hope and trust in Lord God, but it also gives us well-grounded reasons why we should hope in Him.  In fact, most of the psalm is devoted to telling us why He is our only hope; not just in this life but also in the life to come. From verses 4 through 15, we see that the Lord is the Mighty One, who speaks all things into existence and sets the boundaries of the heavens and the waters of the earth by the power of His word – He speaks and it is done. So also His counsel stands, not man’s counsels. He makes man’s plans of no effect, verse 10. There is nothing God has purposed that will not be accomplished much less be thwarted by man and his worthless schemes.

So, it is with confidence that we are able to put our hope in His mercy that not only delivers our soul from death and keeps us alive in famine, as we read in verses 20 and 21. It is with confidence that our soul is able to wait patiently for the Lord; for He alone is our help and our shield. Only then will your heart not fall into disappointment, despair and fear; but rather will rejoice in Him, because we will have trusted in His holy name through Jesus Christ. Christ alone is our hope for He is our living hope, for all who are in Him by true faith. He alone is our assured hope of salvation and everlasting life, because of His one atoning death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection from the dead three days later. It is He who now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven and who possesses all authority and power over all thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, both in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible (Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:16; 2:15). Therefore, there is good reason to place our hope in Him alone for He is in control, directing all things for the good of all who are in Him by faith alone, and for His glory – He is Sovereign over all things, over all nations and people; for He upholds “all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3) being Lord of lords and Kings of kings!

Let’s, therefore, pray with the psalmist: “Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You.” (Psalm 33:22) – Especially in these uncertain, fearful and troubling times.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Author: Rev. Richard Stetler

Rev. Richard Stetler is an ordained minister of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS). He is CEO of Reformation Gospel Ministries (“RGM” - not a ministry of the RCUS) located in Sioux Center, IA. RGM was established by Rev. Stetler in 2016 as an evangelism outreach ministry to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through various means on a worldwide basis working in partner with local Reformed congregations. RGM is a non-denominational Reformed ministry and a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization funded solely tax deductible donations.