Our Only Hope Is Jesus

January 2-6


Where can we turn in a world that is hostile to the Gospel?

O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.” – Psalm 7:1-2 (ESV)

Successful Roman generals were sometimes granted a “triumph.” They were permitted to parade their armies, with gangs of captives and wagons filled with loot, through the very streets of Rome. But in the chariot of the general, standing just behind him, was an officer whose duty it was to whisper constantly in his ear, “You are but a man.” (Brian Bell)

There is no man who can protect us like God. King David is the author of Psalm 7 and even though he had won many battles he knew that he was just a man and God alone could protect him. When David was under attack from Cush the Benjamite, all he could trust was God. Every other support was gone, but he needed no additional support. The psalm opens with an expression of solid confidence in God. The psalmist addresses Yahweh as his God and says that in Him he trusts. The word rendered “refuge” is applied to taking shelter under the shadow or protection of one. The idea here is that he felt safe under God’s protection.


It is easy for any of us to become too self-reliant and too reliant on worldy resources. Pastor Jim reminded us in the sermon that God is our only reliable protector. Who or what are you tempted to turn to instead of God when life gets tough?


Praise God for protecting you in your past battles. Ask God to grow your natural desire to run to Him first when trials come.


Deliver Me

“O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.” – Psalm 7:1-2 (ESV)

Two explorers were on a jungle safari when suddenly a ferocious lion jumped in front of them. “Keep calm,” the first explorer whispered. “Remember what we read in that book on wild animals? If you stand perfectly still and look the lion in the eye, he will turn and run.” “Sure,” replied his companion. “You’ve read the book, and I’ve read the book. But has the lion read the book?”

David had read the book on lions. David also knew what it was like to overcome a lion. “The metaphor of the lion is common in the psalms attributed to David, and is, at all events, natural in the mouth of a shepherd king, who had taken a lion by the beard.” (Maclaren) David prays that God would deliver him from his enemies who were like lions. David believed there would be grave consequences if he were not delivered from these lion-like enemies.


Urgency drove David’s prayer request for deliverance. God sometimes allows difficult circumstances, so they will awaken this urgency in us. When has God used an urgent situation to drive your prayer life? Did you turn to God first when the urgent situation presented itself?


Thank God for the times He has delivered you from attacks from the enemy. Ask for God’s deliverance in any urgent situation you are currently dealing with.


Who can we trust to help us navigate the difficulties we face?

“His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull, his violence descends.” Psalms 7:16 (ESV)

Emperor Charlemagne wanted to have a magnificent bell cast for the church he had built. An artist named Tancho was employed by the church to make it. He was furnished, at his own request, with a great quantity of copper, and a hundred pounds of silver for the purpose. He kept the silver for his own personal use, however, and substituted in its place a quantity of highly purified tin. When the work was completed, he presented the bell to the Emperor, who had it suspended in the church tower. The people, however, were unable to ring it. So Tancho himself was called in to help. But he pulled so hard that its tongue fell down and killed him. (The Gray and Adams Commentary)

Psalm 7:16 says, “His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.” David knew that ungodly people would eventually experience the consequences of their ungodly choices. People who attack the gospel will eventually reap what they sow. Sinners who refuse the grace of God will have to face God’s wrath with no mercy.


Without the grace of God, we are all doomed to a fate similar to Tancho. God is the only one we can turn to for help against sin. When have you seen someone experience the consequences of making choices without God?


Praise God that you don’t have to fear His wrath because of the grace you have received through Jesus. Pray for those you know with a heart of rebellion toward God to come to the realization of their need for Jesus.


What do we think is in store for our church in the future?

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” – Psalms 7:17 (ESV)

Civilla Martin, who wrote the lyrics to the hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” said this about her inspiration to write the song. Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship with a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle – true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheelchair.  Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them.

One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” was the outcome of that experience. (Phil Kerr, “Famous Living Hymn Writers”)

Psalm 7:17 is an all-encompassing prayer of thanksgiving. David was facing the attacks of his enemy but remained hopeful about the future. This psalm is essentially saying “thank you for everything.” David was thanking God for his past protection but also for his future protection. David based his confident prayer about the future on the righteousness and character of God. He knew that God would always do the right thing.


If our church has the same mentality as David, how will we feel about the future of our church?


Praise God for His consistency and righteousness. Ask God to give you the same type of gratitude and confidence in the future that David had.


What do we think is in store for our church in the future?

 “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.”  – Psalm 7:17 (ESV)

Researchers Wolfgang Kirchner and Axel Michelson performed a number of experiments to test a theory. The way in which explorer bees “dance” to tell other bees where to find flowers, sugar, or other food has long been studied by scientists. The bees’ dance conveys information–one part directs other bees where to go, and another part tells them how far. But how is this accomplished? Kirchner and Michelson believed the answer lay in noises pitched lower than the buzzing we hear. The bees could sense this, via their antennae, even in the dark. To test their theory, the two built a tiny robot bee that imitated an explorer bee’s informational dance in every detail. The robot bee worked perfectly. When it danced, the real bees “listened” and went straight to a pan of sugar water in a field. (Today in the Word)

David praised God in the face of adversity leaving us an example to follow. This psalm began in gloom but ends on a high note of praise. He could praise God because he took his cause to God and in faith left it there. Even though David had not experienced deliverance yet, he was confident that God would come through.


What was one of your big takeaways about the future of our church from Pastor Jim’s sermon?


Share a word of praise with someone else today as a way of encouraging them to trust God. Ask God to give our church clarity about where He wants us to go in the future.