I was wrong.
In a post last week, I said that the writer of Psalm 25 knew nothing about the hope we have today. I was thinking, of course, that our knowledge of God and our hopes are now based on Christ’s life, teachings, death, and resurrection. Our relationship with God is quite different than what the Old Testament characters experienced.
So I was preparing for this next post, which was going to take a look at exactly what it is that Christians hope for. I thought I’d start with New Testament Scriptures; that seemed a natural place to go. Instead, I ended up reading Psalm 23. (Yes, I really believe that the Spirit directs our reading and study.)
And there it was! A neat little outline of everything we hope for. Exactly the points I was going to make. Yes, the writer penned this long before Christ lived, and we today see everything through the lens of our relationship with Christ. But this Psalm wraps it all up, in beautiful imagery, covering all of life. That must be the reason Psalm 23 is so well loved by people everywhere, in every age. In a few short verses, it is everything we hope for, everything that God has for His children.
I was asked the question, “What do Christians hope for?” That pushed me to verbalize the hopes I have. How would you answer the question? Here’s my list:
* God knows what we need and provides for His children.
* The Spirit of God lives in us, guiding and protecting our lives.
* Jesus Christ is alive today and always with us.
* We’re in good standing with God.
* We have a life with God, after this life is over.
Those are the things I believe God will do and does for His children. I base all my hopes on this.
People have called such ideas preposterous, simplistic, ignorant, absurd, silly, ridiculous, and even fanatic and bizarre. Yes, I guess that’s how such statements will sound, if you do not believe.
Here is Psalm 23, everything Christians hope for. I’m quoting a version slightly different than the well-known King James. This may lose some of the musical quality for some of you, but I think reading it in a different version also helps us to think about it more carefully:
The LORD is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
Scripture: Psalm 23 (NLT)