“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” — Psalm 33:18–22 (NIV84)
Three times the psalmist used the word “hope” in these verses. The needs he mentioned are deliverance from death and protection from a famine. His hope was that God would be a “shield” for him. He recognized the painful things that occur in a broken world and was asking God to protect him from them. Has God ever been a shield for you? Has He ever protected or delivered you from what seemed to be certain pain and suffering? If so, what would have been His motivation to do so? Why would He have spent the energy to break into time and space to shield you from what was going to occur?
The answer to those questions is stated twice in the verses for today. The psalmist implied that the Lord is a shield to “those who hope in His unfailing love.” God loves you! I know that phrase is said and heard more times than it is truly understood, but it is important that we do not take this fact for granted. It is important that we do not minimize its importance in our lives. If God were not in His very character loving, we would have no hope. God’s love for us is unfailing. Even though we fail on a daily basis, He doesn’t! His love is not contingent upon our love. He loves us unilaterally and unconditionally. He loves you and me no matter what the circumstances might be. This is why we, as a broken people living in a broken world, can still have hope. We can hope that God, who loves us unfailingly, will hear our cries and see our need and come to shield and protect us.
Once again, we look at the concept of biblical hope and find it to be real. It touches real people living in a real world. Today, may we hope in God to be our shield.