I have been taking the book of Psalm one chapter at a time. I thought I would blow through this, but my disdain for strict schedules seems to creep up in about 20 days. By then I was missing days and even battling the whispers of legalism. I have decided that God gets me. He really understands that I am a wild child and any “type A” I had in me most likely vanished with the birth of my first child. With that said, about 70 days in and I am on Psalm 33 — I know what you’re thinking, grace abounds!
When I read though the chapter, I like to write out any verse that jumps out at me. Most of them are a declaration of truth about who God is. It seems that even though David can be quite the whiner at times, he almost always give at least one line of declarative truth even amongst his lament. I have come to look for this even in the darkest of Psalms. Today, chapter 33 was more truth and less lament. The verse that stood out to me was the one pictured above, Psalm 33:18. I decided to dive a little deeper into the verse. First I took a look at the word fear. When I was younger and someone asked if I feared the Lord, my response was easily, “Yes!” I was terrified of my demise by God’s wrath. (Think Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God). I felt as though I was walking across a landmine — blindfolded. I feared making the wrong decisions and falling out of the perfect will of God. This is no way to live and not what the word fear means here at all. This fear is an awed reverence. Like when the people of the bible encountered angels. Sure some probably wet their robes, but most were just awestruck and fell on their faces because their human eyes could scarcely take in the magnificence of the heavenly bodies before them.
I fear God now in the sense that I don’t want to disappoint him — because I love him, not because I am afraid he will punish me.
Then the word hope stuck out to me. Do you hope in his unfailing love? The definition of hope has a second meaning. The dictionary called it an archaic definition — I will take the Bible as archaic. It defined hope as “a feeling of trust.” What? So maybe this makes me out of the loop, but I have never seen hope defined this way! This turns hope on its ear to me. When I think of hoping for something there is a thread of anxiety and anticipation woven in to the whole experience. The first definition even says a feeling of expectation. I feel expectant for sure, but the anxious, anticipatory feeling I get — the one I have lumped in with hope is not hope at all. If you combine the two actual definitions, I think we get the biblical picture of hope.
Hope is the feeling of trust and expectation.
We can have expectations and desires of something to happen, but we trust as well as expect. We don’t toil and fret as we cautiously expect — this is not hope. I am now visualizing hope as a braided cord of emotions. Trust, Expectancy, Confidence. When all three of these emotions are anchored in our knowledge of who God is, they can stand firm regardless of the actual outcome of the situation. Hoping in his unfailing love is a wild fire of holy power! Just soak in that concept. I have feelings of trust and expectancy that the unfailing love of God will prevail.
The other great thing about having true hope is that it is contagious! When I have hope, I tend to bubble over. I am excited to see what God will do! Not everyone will receive it right away, but keep at it. People enjoy positive people. If you choose to encourage those around you, you will find yourself with more people to encourage. Especially with women, we are dry flowers looking for sprinklers of life. Be a sprinkler, spew hope, love, and encouragement to others and watch what God does in your own life. If you think this sounds draining, I dare you, spend one whole day spreading hope and see if you don’t feel full to overflowing by the day’s end. Hope — like love — is multiplied when you set out to give it away freely.