Hope and Praise
But I will keep on hoping for your help;
I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71 is a prayer for deliverance offered by an unnamed poet who has repeatedly experienced God’s help throughout his long life. Now he needs the Lord to protect and save him once again.
In verse 14 this psalmist writes, “But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more.” The verb translated here as “to hope” has a basic sense of “to wait.” It implies an extended time of looking to God and God alone for deliverance. The second line of verse 14 literally translates, “I will add on to all of your praise.” The NLT’s “I will praise you more and more” captures the sense of the original.
Notice closely the relationship between hope and praise in this verse. The psalmist does not say, “I will praise you more and more after you answer my prayers, when my hope is fulfilled,” though this would surely be true. Rather, his growing praise comes in the midst of hoping, as he is still looking to God to save him. His praise, in fact, strengthens his hope, because it helps the psalmist to remember God’s greatness and glory. When he praises the Lord for all he has done, the psalmist is inspired to hope in God more faithfully and earnestly.
When we are in difficult situations, when our desperation drags upon our hearts, it is sometimes difficult to praise God. Yet if we focus more on him and less on ourselves, if we remember his goodness to his people, including us, if we meditate upon his character, we will be stirred to praise the Lord even in hard times. Our praise will, in turn, help us to keep on hoping, because it makes the reality of God even more real to us.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How have you experienced the relationship between hope and praise? What helps you to praise God even in the midst of difficult times?
PRAYER: I praise you today, O Lord, because you are the all-powerful creator of heaven and earth.
I praise you today, O Lord, because you have created beauty and given me the ability to delight in it.
I praise you today, O Lord, because you have been ever faithful to your people, including me.
I praise you today, O Lord, because you give me not what I deserve, but so much better.
I praise you today, O Lord, because you have delivered me from all measure of snares in this life.
I praise you today, O Lord, because you are sovereign over heaven and earth and are working out your design for the cosmos even today.
I praise you today, O Lord, because you have chosen me, of all people to be part of your kingdom effort.
I praise you today, O Lord, because you have saved me through Jesus Christ, that I might belong to you and serve you with all my life.
I praise you today, O Lord, because in you I experience a hope that will not disappoint me.
I praise you today, O Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen.
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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.