December 15, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Psalm 71:4-6, 14
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you. . . .
But I will hope continually,
and will praise you yet more and more.
“For you, O Lord, are my hope . . . . But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more” (Psalm 71:5, 14). “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Today’s devotion is part of the series: Advent in the Psalms.
I began this series on Advent in the Psalms by sharing how much I love Advent. Not only is Advent a time for me to quiet my heart in anticipation of the birth of Jesus, but it is also an opportunity for me to rekindle my hope in the Lord. I’m grateful for the fact that Christians have set apart Advent as such a special time.
Yet, if we were to hope in the Lord only during Advent, we’d be falling short of what biblical hope is really all about. Consider this portion of Psalm 71, for example: “Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you” (71:4-6). In this passage the psalm writer cries out to God for deliverance. Why? Because Lord is his hope. Parallel to this affirmation we find, “My trust, O LORD, from my youth (Psalm 71:5). Given the way Hebrew poetry works, we understand that the writer has hoped and trusted in God from the time of his youth.
This passage of Scripture suggests that hoping in the Lord should be, not just something we do in certain seasons of life, but rather something we do throughout our whole lives. This suggestion is made explicit in verse 14, “But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more.” Even as the psalm writer hopes in the Lord continually, so should we, moment by moment, day after day.
Advent, when rightly understood and practiced, doesn’t limit our hope to four weeks before Christmas. Rather, Advent helps us nurture a hope that continues throughout the year. It’s a little like what married people do when celebrating their wedding anniversary. On that particular day, they do things to communicate their love in a special way and, Lord willing, rekindle the feelings of love they had when they got married. But it would be sad if spouses were to love each other only on their anniversary day. Rather, the feelings and experiences of an anniversary are meant to stir up love that flourishes throughout the year.
So, by all means get in touch with your hope during Advent. Remember the hope of Israel for a messiah, the hope that began to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Moreover, stir up hope for what will happen when Christ comes again, bringing the fullness of God’s salvation, justice, and peace. But don’t let your hope disappear when we leave Advent in order to celebrate Christmas. Rather, let the good news of the birth of Jesus increase your hope even more. Christmas reveals the truth that hope is not incidental to God’s nature and action. Rather, hope is a direct and fitting response to God’s faithfulness and grace. As the Apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Rome, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Because God is “the God of hope,” we can and should “abound in hope” by the power of God’s Spirit within us.
Yes, Lord. May that be true for me!
Would you say that you are in general a hopeful person?
What helps you to maintain your hope in the Lord, even in the midst of difficult and painful times?
How might your life be different if you were to abound in hope?
Take some time to talk with God about your hope. Ask the Lord to help you abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Gracious God, thank you for the season of Advent. Thank you for a time to rekindle my hope in you.
But, dear Lord, may my hope not be limited to this season. Rather, may what I feel and express in Advent spill over into the rest of the year.
Because you are the “God of hope,” may I abound in hope with the help of your Spirit! Yes, Lord. Yes! Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Our Prayer as We Get Older.
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.