I can easily close my eyes and envision churches all across the country yesterday morning singing the powerful hymn whose first line is, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness …” Yet, I can also picture that in every one of those congregations stood people singing away, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand” while they themselves are in fact living life on the sinking sand.
These folks are over-burdened by the struggles of life. Family issues abound, lives lived in the flesh rather than in the Spirit, children abandoning the faith, husbands and wives straining to maintain their relationships. Jobs, school, paying the bills, and the constant bombardment from Satan and his minions, all combine to make this “solid rock” thing seem like a fairytale rather than the life we have been given to live in Christ.
I had the privilege to preach last night from Psalm 27. A psalm in which David declares to God and those that would read later what he had written, that God was his light, his salvation and the strength of his life, and then asked the probing questions, “whom shall I fear?” and “of whom shall I be afraid?”
The answer to this one question (asked two ways) will declare the answer to the title of this post, “Where is your hope built?”
You see, the definition of both the words fear and afraid have two meanings: 1. to be afraid and 2. to be in awe, to reverence. So, if you cower when the enemy comes. If you look for a place to hid. If you surrender to the desires of the enemy to spare yourself from harm, your hope is not in Christ.
Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Paul tells Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” (2 Timothy 1:7-8)
David said it this way in Psalm 27, ” When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident … For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.” (vs. 2-3, 5-6)
In stead of focusing on the burden, the problem, the enemy, or the darkness, David turned to the one in whom he should fear, the Lord who is his light, salvation and the strength of his life. David makes this most clear in verse four where he says, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”
No matter what the enemy threw at him, no matter the burden, no matter the cares of this life, David’s fear was in the Lord and his hope was built on his relationship with God. This is a powerful lesson today for all who will hear. I know that the cares of this life can be overwhelming and that struggle seems to be the way of it all, but David declared that even in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death that he would fear no evil. The reason for his courage: “… for thou art with me …” It was then and is now the presence of the God of heaven (and our proper fear of him) that allows us to plow right on through, knowing that God is always good, and that he will always protect us in the way.
So, the question for you today is: “Where is your hope built?”