“O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” (Psalms 131:3 NIV)
David wrote this Psalm, and he is at peace within because of peace above (verses 1 & 2). What does he intend to do with this peace?
As a friend of mine said, “we share because we care”. Years later it was adapted in the film ‘Monsters Inc’ as “We scare because we care.” I am not sure my friend’s phrase had any influence on Pixar, but I like to think so. In any case David is spurred on by his peace to call others to that same quality of relationship with God. The concluding verse of this short Psalm is an exhortation to the community – this peace is personal, but not individualistic. David sees his peace is to be shared, promoted & exhorted in others.
Are we seeking God’s peace not simply and solely for our own benefit, but so that we can call others into the same peace we are experiencing? Whatever we are blessed with we are called to share – in just the same way Jesus did.
What if we are not at peace? Are the challenges to peace eclipsing the hope offered in this Psalm? Let us have a look at the example of the apostle Paul and find some encouragement from him.
While in jail (challenging enough in itself), he heard that so-called brothers were giving him a hard time,
“The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.” (Philippians 1:17 NIV)
Being locked up, there was nothing he could do about this. What was his attitude?
“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18)
And that was not all. As he sits in stir he hears about disunified disciples
“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Phil 4:2–3)
How does he handle this situation that he cannot control?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV)
Well, what do we learn from Paul’s approach? I think we see that putting our hope in the Lord is a decision. It must be there no matter the circumstances. If Paul could do it, we can all do it, for we, too, have the Spirit.
What is your greatest peace-challenge? Have you put it to one side long enough to find the peace God offers? A quiet place, a comfortable position, a Bible, a Psalm to pray through, a deliberate focus on God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Concerning ourselves with God, calming ourselves so He can speak to us – “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”
Let me know your thoughts on this important topic of hope by leaving a comment below….