Hope thou in God
Hope thou in God. Ps. 42:5
Here was a man who was in real trouble, and yet whose hope was in God. This is obvious in the text, but is perhaps the most important point to take note of. If his hope had been in men, he certainly would have broken. Men failed him. If he had hoped in his own ability to deal with it, he would have broken, because he had failed. On the other hand, God is a rock (verse 9) that cannot be broken no matter what is thrown against him.
To have hope in God is to have hope beyond the grave, and the only real hope anyone can have is hope that reaches beyond the grave. This is why those who don’t know Christ have no real hope (Eph. 2:14) and is why Paul said that if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15). I don’t see why if this life is all there is to it that we shouldn’t despair. But Jesus is the only one who has conquered the grave. The Son of God is the only one who can give true hope in the sense of offering resurrection and eternal life. And though the psalmist did not have the New Testament and the full revelation that came with Christ, yet he had true faith enough. He recognized that no matter what happened, he could hope in God, because “I shall again praise him” (vs. 5, 11).
And that is true hope. It is being able to say, “No matter what happens to me, I shall yet praise him. I may lose everything, but I shall yet have cause to praise him. I may lose my friends, my wealth, my health, but I will again praise him. I may lose my reputation, it does not matter in the end: I shall yet praise him. I may even die, but I shall then truly praise him and enter into the joy of my Lord.” Is there anything on this earth that can offer that kind of hope? Can anything give that kind of assurance? Hope in Christ is of such a nature that there is no conceivable defeater to it (cf. Rom. 8:35, ff). As Spurgeon put it, “If every evil be let loose from Pandora’s box, yet is there hope at the bottom. This is the grace that swims, though the waves roar and be troubled. God is unchangeable and therefore his grace is the ground for unshaken hope.”
And that is why we must set our hope in God, and in Christ. To set your hope in anything or in anyone is just to set yourself up for disappointment.
That does not mean that once we set our hope in God that our problems disappear. That certainly wasn’t true for the psalmist. But it does give faith something to grip when the going gets hard. And it will keep you persevering when others will quit.
My friend, is your hope in God? Then it must be in Christ for there is no hope in God apart from God's Son. And on the other hand, those who trust in Christ need fear no ultimate evil for he is working all things for our good and his glory. Therefore, in the face of present trials or future unknowns, let us say to our troubled souls: "Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him."