The God of glory and grace is our hope for today and for eternity. All creation gazes upon the powerful promise of hope in the glorious return of Jesus Christ our Savior and King. Upon His return, we know that He will set right all things.
Yet, it feels like a long journey from here to hope. We encounter the struggles and pain of the raging winds of change in our lives. The strength of our soul is tested by the chaotic forces that push and pull against us. There is wickedness that seems to run unfettered through the streets on our journey. Yet, we who have fellowship with God through Christ have the certainty of God’s glorious provision and help.
“The Lord is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.” (Psalm 28:8)
How do we navigate through the straits of our distress so that we come to the rescuing refuge of God’s care? That is the question answered by the psalmist on his journey from here to hope. Through Psalm 28, we discover the navigation points that will help us taste the glorious fruit of hope on our journey.
1. Cry out to God for help.
There are specific seasons in our lives when we find ourselves in deep distress. The despair of life’s circumstance overwhelms us with fear. The first step in navigating from here to hope is to ask for help from God.
“To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” (Psalm 28:1-2)
The psalmist is making a plea for God’s grace to move in his life resulting in deliverance. When we are in the tight places of life, we cry out to God, who is our hope. We cry out to God because our life depends completely upon God. We know that if God doesn’t come through for us, then we will be completely destroyed.
The psalmist cries out to God who is his Rock. The picture of the rock points to the protection out of danger’s reach. Each day that we live, we need God’s favor. We need His rescuing love to set us in the firm grip of His protective care.
2. Get in the right position to experience hope.
To move from here to hope in the straits of distress, we need to get in the right position. We cannot experience hope with our own bravado and self-reliance. We need to humble ourselves before God with absolute trust and dependence.
The psalmist lifted his hands to the Lord in absolute submission and trust. This posture is a picture of a child lifting up his hands to a parent for help. Without the humility of a child, we won’t be in a position to experience God’s rescuing love which gives us hope.
We navigate toward the refuge of God’s rescue when we turn our hearts toward Christ, humble ourselves before the Lord, and lift our lives to Him in absolute submission.
3. Avoid dangers that rob us of hope.
In the story of Pinocchio, we see what happens when you don’t avoid the dangers. Even though Honest John and Gideon (the fox and the cat) promise great fun on Pleasure Island, the end result is disastrous for Pinocchio.
“Do not take me away with the wicked And with the workers of iniquity, Who speak peace to their neighbors, But evil is in their hearts. Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve. Because they do not regard the works of the Lord, Nor the operation of His hands, He shall destroy them And not build them up.” (Psalm 28:3-5)
We must avoid the danger of wickedness. The wicked are those who talk about God’s peace with others while plotting ways to destroy them. They greet you with a smile while their dagger is waiting to plunge into your soul.
The danger of wickedness is that it leads to God’s judgment. Just as the laborer puts in his hours and receives wages for the work done, so the faithless will receive from God what their hands have done.
The wicked see the reality of God but they are unimpressed with Him. They do not take God seriously. Because they don’t take God seriously, they do not live and act according to His purpose. Because they don’t take God seriously, they fail to understand the judgment of God upon their faithlessness to Him among His people.
Our journey from here to God’s rescuing refuge demands that we are not numbered with the wicked and workers of iniquity. When we embrace a lifestyle contrary to God’s will, then we can be certain that we will not experience hope in this life. We will be torn down and not built up.
4. Praise the Lord for He is our Rescuing Refuge.
The Lord hears and helps. The psalmist knows that God has heard his cry and has moved to help. When we gather together here, humbled before Christ, inspired by His Spirit through His Word, we gain the confident expectation that God delivers rescue out of love. We bless the Lord and rejoice because in our faith, He has moved to help.
He is our Fortress (28:7). The Lord is our fortress. This is the picture of “strength.” God moves with power on our behalf and pours His strength into our lives. God’s sovereignty is our strength.
He is our Shield (28:7). God is the One who provides protection as we move through the various tight places in life. He is not only the static protection provided in a particular place, but He is also mobile in His defense of His people.
He is our Shepherd (28:9). God is the true shepherd of His people who will carry us through every danger.
He is our Rescuing Refuge (28:8). Just as the children of Israel found refuge in the glorious work of God leading them from bondage and parting the Red Sea, we too find refuge in His glorious, rescuing love.
The celebration of the psalmist leads to the celebration of hope for the people of God. The entire congregation tastes the hope that has led the psalmist to praise the Lord.
If you’re in the straits of distress and need God’s rescuing love, taste hope today, and cry out for His help. If you’re struggling through the chaos of COVID-19, humble yourself before God right now and cling to Him in absolute surrender. Taste hope today as you lift your hands in need to the One who can help. Rejoice in God who is our fortress, our strength, and our shepherd, and run into the refuge of His rescuing love.