In the last post in our What is Hope series, we asked ourselves an important question. How do we view the cost of discipleship? Do we view it through the lenses of the rich young ruler or through the lenses of true Biblical hope?
Hope is an Absolute
Last week, we looked at the truth that Biblical hope is an absolute. We can trust it and rest in it, because God’s words are absolute. True hope motivates us to obey God’s words. David understood this.
I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law. (Psalm 119:162-163 NASB)
David not only trusted God’s words, he deeply rejoiced in them. Let’s examine David’s statement. It might seem at first glance that he is contrasting his love for God’s word to his hatred for evil. But in reality, he is making two very emphatic statements. This isn’t an either-or situation. He hates all evil while deeply loving God’s law. The important thing he is communicating to us here is that God’s law is the absolute nature of our hope and that is why he loves it so much.
Let’s take a look at the wording he uses. We see David use word, promise, and law interchangeably. David doesn’t shrink from the word law, neither does Jesus in the New Testament. Only the modern-day church seems to have a problem with God’s law.
Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances. (Psalm 119:164 NASB)
As we move on to this next verse, we see that David praises God seven times a day because of God’s law. This is a pretty cool idea. Seven times a day, David is bowing before God, honoring God, worshipping God. Why? Because David understands the absolute hope of God’s righteous ordinances. Let’s connect what David is teaching here to what his son, Solomon proclaimed in Proverbs 24:16.Why does David love God's law so much? #hope Click To Tweet
Stand or Fall?
When we study Solomon, we are presented with a man who had gleaned much of his wisdom and understanding from the teaching of his father, David. In Proverbs 24:16, Solomon tells us, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”
As we look at this verse, I want to challenge you with an idea. The righteous falling seven times and the wicked stumbling has nothing to do with calamity. This is actually speaking of humility and pride. Why?
We see this idea over and over again in the book of Proverbs, that the righteous exhibit humility while the wicked are full of pride. The righteous are falling down and worshiping the Lord with humility in times of calamity but because of their pride, the wicked are stumbling.
Tie this back to David in Psalm 119. As a righteous man, David is already falling down before God in worship seven times a day. A righteous person will bow before God, but as a humble worshiper, he will always rise again. It doesn’t matter what he faces, he’ll still face calamity just like the wicked man does. But he won’t be overtaken by calamity because he trusts in the Lord. We see this in David’s own words as we move to 119:165.
It is the wicked who stumble. The righteous fall down out of worship. David is teaching us that because of the hope of God—the words, ordinances, statutes, laws, promises—we should fall down in worship. And this act of humbling ourselves before God is a safeguard to us in times of calamity. It will keep us from stumbling. In humility, we will rise again. This brings us to a question. As Christians, should we stumble? The answer is no. We should be a people who no calamity, no circumstance causes to stumble. Why?Humbling ourselves before God is a safeguard to us in times of calamity. #worship Click To Tweet
Faith that means something
God has declared that his humble servants will be protected and cared for by him. Again, Psalm 119:165 says, “Those who love your law have great peace and nothing causes them to stumble.” We must mean something by our faith and in order to mean something by our faith, we have to have an absolute hope. When we have truly understood what that absolute hope is—the word of God—we will finally have peace.
The world is looking for peace and they’re looking in all the wrong places. Everybody on social media, even professing Christians, are looking for the next funny thing to bring them peace, the next purchase, the next direction from the government, the next uplifting news story, etc.
But the truth is that only God’s word will bring us peace and hope. The reason we can’t seem to get peace is because we habitually ignore God’s law. We keep ignoring God’s word, keep pushing it off, keep saying we don’t have time to study. Then we wonder why we stumble.
Our faith must be in the hope of God, which is communicated through the word of God—his law, ordinances, statutes, precepts, etc. When we begin to meditate on these, when we get them in our heart, peace will come. This is what Isaiah tells us.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4 NASB)
When we keep our minds steadfast on those things that are pure and lovely and holy, then we will be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We will be transformed into a people who mean something by their faith. Who trust in the absolute hope.The reason we can’t seem to get peace is because we habitually ignore God’s law. #biblestudy Click To Tweet
Our Rock & Our Safety
God himself is our Rock, our absolute and unchangeable truth. In the New Testament, Peter reaffirms this when he wrote, “For in Scripture is says: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. Now to you who believe, this stone is precious.” 1 Peter 2:6-7 NASB
Jesus is the Word of God. He is the Logos. He is the law and everything all rolled into one. What a beautiful truth. This precious stone. This Pearl of great price. Jesus’s words and truth are for us. When we believe that, we obey. Our faith will mean something.
Peter continued, contrasting those who don’t believe with those who do. Those who disbelieve reject the stone, Jesus. The Rock then becomes a stumbling block and a rock of offense to them. This is what happened to the rich young ruler. He stumbled because of his unbelief.
Peter finished with, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NASB
We are chosen because we have believed. But now that we have believed, we must do something with it. We are to proclaim the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness. This is the same idea that we see in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
The Old and New Testament writers combine, all singing the same song. When we mean something by our faith, we trust. When we trust, we meditate on and obey the words of God. Through obedience and with peace, we proclaim our hope to the world.
Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
I hope for Your salvation, O Lord,
And do Your commandments.
My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.
I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You. (Psalm 119:165-168)
Do you know what happens when we see the peace and hope of the Kingdom of God, when we realize that we can spend every day in the presence of our King? We abandon everything and run into what Jesus is doing. Do we want perfect peace in the midst of chaos? Then run to the Word, trust him, obey him, proclaim him. This is what hope is all about.Do we want perfect peace in the midst of chaos? Then run to the Word, trust him, obey him, proclaim him. This is what hope is all about. Click To Tweet
How are you resting in the absolute hope of God. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.