Introduction: Do you feel that your hopes are sinking? When I was in
my early 20’s, I believed that the United States was heading into its
sunset years. Why not? All sorts of nations rise and decline. Why
should we be different? Then Ronald Reagan was elected President and
my attitude was completely changed. I had hope about the future of my
country. Now the United States, and the world in general, looks like
it is entering difficult times. How should a Christian look at these
things? We all live in different countries, does our hope for the
future turn on the future of our country? Be honest, do you want to
be sitting in a dark, cold basement holding onto spiritual hope
alone? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what kind of
hope God offers to His followers!

  1. Hope or Help?

    1. Psalms 146:5. If I offered you either hope or help, which
      would you take?

      1. Are the two different?

      2. How does this verse suggest the two work together?
        (That hope in God gives us real help.)

    2. Read Psalms 146:6. Why does the Psalmist recite God’s
      credentials immediately after talking about those whose
      hope and help is in God? (This proves God can do it. If
      God can create heaven and earth, He can work out your
      small problems!)

    3. Read Psalms 146:7. Look at the first sentence. How is the
      subject of the first part of this sentence much different
      than the last part of this sentence? (God gives justice
      and He gives food!)

      1. How does God do it? (This just might involve your

      2. After assuring me of justice, I now read that God
        releases prisoners! How is that justice? (The
        inference is that these are the unjustly imprisoned.
        God gives real justice in the face of human

    4. Read Psalms 146:8. Do you think we are talking about those
      who are literally blind? (We know that Jesus healed the
      blind ( Matthew 9:27-30), but the reference to those “bowed
      down” makes me think this verse also refers to those whose
      burdens are very great. These are individuals who are so
      discouraged about their circumstances that they cannot see
      any hope for the future.)

      1. What does it mean to “see” the future?

      2. Why does the text add, seemingly unrelated, the note
        that God loves the righteous? (God has a special
        interest in those who obey Him. Obedience helps to
        make your future clear.)

    5. Read Psalms 146:9. What do widows, aliens and orphans have
      in common? (The are the powerless in society. God has an
      interest in the powerless and He intervenes to help them
      against the wicked.)

    6. What kind of hope do these verses in Psalms 146 offer? (A
      hope of real help! God is able to help. He helps with
      justice and with food. He helps with depression. He helps
      those who do not have “power” in this world. He looks out
      for those who obey Him.)

  2. Vigilant Hope

    1. Psalms 33:18-19. Governments seem to be installing more
      and more cameras to record the activities of citizens. Do
      you appreciate the government having its “eye” on you?
      What about God having His eye on you?

      1. We had some friends with three sons. The father was
        smart, but a somewhat absent-minded. His wife
        recounted how she left the husband in the mall to
        “watch” the baby in the stroller. “Dad” got
        interested in something and walked off leaving the
        baby alone in the mall. When “Mom” returned and
        found the baby alone in the mall – well, it was a
        story repeated many times! What is your reaction to
        God assuring you He is watching you? (The good news
        is that God knows what I am going through. He is
        present in my problems and He loves me.)

    2. Read Psalms 33:20-21. Why does the text use the word
      “wait?” (It shows that God does not always act on our

    3. Read Psalms 33:22. Why do you think the Psalmist describes
      God’s love as “unfailing” in this context? (God is our
      help and our shield. Sometimes, it seems the help and
      shield are not present – thus the reason for our wait and
      our hope. The Psalmist tells us God’s love is unfailing to
      assure us that help is coming.)

  3. Hope For Our Reputation

    1. Read Psalms 39:7-8. When I was young my teachers drilled
      into me that God would forgive my sins, but that I would
      have to suffer the consequences of my sins. What kind of
      hope is being discussed in these verses? (We can hope that
      the full extent of our sins do not embarrass us. God in
      His kindness sometimes shields us from the full,
      embarrassing consequences of our sins.)

    2. Read Psalms 39:10-11. Does God remove the consequences of
      sin? (God may shield us from having other sinners laugh at
      us, but God disciplines us for our benefit.)

  4. Hope In Discouragement

    1. Read Psalms 43:5. Do you understand what the Psalmist is
      saying? Have you experienced a time when your soul is
      “downcast” and you feel unhappy and disturbed?

      1. What is our hope in such a situation? (That God will
        deliver us from discouragement and sadness. Perhaps
        praising God is the beginning of the way out. I know
        praise lifts my heart.)

  5. Hope In Old Age

    1. Read Psalms 71:9. How does hope change with old age?

      1. Imagine that you were dependant upon others for most
        things in your life. How would that affect your

    2. Read Psalms 71:10-12. This sounds like King David is
      writing (commentaries disagree with each other on this
      point), and he is concerned about his political enemies.
      Is this just the worry of old kings, or could this kind of
      thing happen to older workers?

      1. Could this be analogized to the difficulties of old

      2. Even in old age, do we have hope? What is our hope?
        (Our hope is in God, and His willingness to quickly
        rescue us.)

  6. Hope In Salvation

    1. So far, we have been studying what the Bible teaches about
      hope in God for real, concrete, help here in life. Let’s
      turn now to another source of hope. Read Colossians 1:24-27. Paul writes about his suffering for the gospel. What
      is the object of the Gentile’s hope? (Jesus. Because of
      Jesus we have hope of “glory.”)

    2. Read Titus 1:1-3. What is our hope with regard to the
      Christian life? (That we will have eternal life.)

      1. On what is that hope of eternal life based? (Before
        the beginning of time God made a promise to offer
        humans eternal life. Jesus made good on that

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:3-5. In addition to eternal life, what
      other hope do we have about heaven? (That we will have an
      inheritance that does not decay.)

      1. In the meantime, what happens to us? ( 1 Peter 1:5
        tells us that through faith we are “shielded by God’s
        power” until our salvation arrives! In spite of our
        current problems we have hope of eternal life.)

  7. Holiness and Hope

    1. How blessed we are! We can have hope in God for help now
      and we have hope for a glorious eternal life. This is all
      made possible by Jesus. What should we be doing in the
      meantime? (Read 1 John 3:2-3. We “purify” ourselves.)

      1. What does it mean for us to purify ourselves? Only
        God is pure. (We need to strive, by the power of the
        Holy Spirit, for right thinking and right living.)

    2. Friend, how about you? Are you experiencing problems in
      your life? God offers you hope and help here and now – on
      His timetable, not yours. More importantly, He offers us
      hope for eternal life. Are you living like one who hopes
      in God?

  8. Next week: Life.