It has always amazed me that you do not have to teach children how to talk. Language is incredibly complex—as anyone who has tried to learn a second language knows well. Yet, children learn to speak just by listening to those around them. Their mastery comes by seeing speech modeled for them day after day.
We conclude our study by returning to the place where we started, with Psalm 42. Here, the speaker expresses his longing for God’s presence. To him, God seems distant and remote. Twice the Psalmist rouses himself, saying, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (vv. 5, 11).
He realizes the need to embrace God’s promised future. He knows that ultimately, God will work things out. The psalms in Book 2 model for us how to put our hope in God. Just as a child learns how to speak by listening to others, we can learn how to put our hope in God by praying through the psalms. In these powerful poems, the Psalmists engage with God during difficult and trying circumstances: pursued by enemies, when falsely accused, as their nation is defeated, when they see the wicked prosper when they are confronted by their own sin, when they are under God’s judgment, and when God answers their requests.
They are honest with God and with themselves, trusting in God’s plan and intentions, looking to Him instead of at others for their worth and value, and by trusting that God’s promised Messiah will come to redeem and rule.
>> Biblical faith is characterized by hope. Just like the Psalmists looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, we long for His return. This gives us confidence to approach God’s throne boldly, praying that “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
We conclude this month the same way we started...with the hope we have in God! As we pray today, follow the Psalmist’s exhortation: “Put your hope in God” (Ps. 42:5, 11).