Finding Hope at Rope’s End
August 23, 2020

Finding Hope
“Finding Hope at Rope’s End”
Psalm 62

*** Watch today’s message at: https://youtu.be/mvqczomZc5U
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This message is something the Lord gave me over 20 years ago, and I have spoken on it several times and through several different Scriptures as God has ministered to my life and into the lives of those I have interacted with since then.

In fact, in our little study we had for the Cancer Help Society called, “Surviving Life Through Faith,” I used it as a base for several of our studies.

And so, I can’t think of a better study to begin our new series on finding hope, especially in this present environment, as I receive, almost on a daily basis, people’s concerns and fears over what they see and hear that is going on in our world today.

And so to get this message across, and to give you something to hold onto to remember to have hope when everything looks so glum, I had our ushers pass out pieces of rope.

Now, when we think of rope, for those of us who have been around the block a couple of times, we think about Mohammad Ali’s famous “Rope a Dope” and his victory over George Forman in the Heavy Weight boxing match held in Zaire. Or then there’s the infamous soap on the rope, but that’s a little bit too slimy of a subject in my opinion.

When we look at the Statue of Liberty, we’re reminded that our nation was founded on hope. People immigrate from all over the world because they hope to find a better life in America.
• In one 2nd grade class, a teacher was teaching on the liberty and freedom we have here in America, and how people come from around the world just to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
• She then talked about how one of our country’s greatest symbols represents this freedom, the Statue of Liberty, and how it was a gift from France to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. She then asked how many of them have seen the statue, and everyone raised their hand.
• Hoping to teach them what is written on its base, which is a poem written by Emma Lazarus that begins, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free …,” she asked if anyone knew the answer. Finally one brave young lad spoke up, “Made in France.”

Hope, however, cannot be confined to a place. We also have to have hope in this life if we ever want to live successfully. In other words, we can’t live life without hope. And usually the last thing to die in a person is hope.

Dr. Harold Wolf, a professor of Cornell University School of Medicine did a study on those who were prisoners of war in Japan during World War II. In this study he found that in spite of terrible situation, mistreatment, and living conditions, some men seemed unaffected. When he went back and studied them he found the one common thread, and that was a high degree of hope they each had. He concluded that a person can handle almost anything when they have hope.

This is how essential hope is.

The problem today is that most people seem to have lost their hope. Most no longer hope for the best; but rather that the worst won’t happen. They’re feeling like there are at the end of their rope.

How then can we find hope when we’re at the end of our rope?

I believe that part of that answer is what God designed the church to be in our gathering together to worship Him and to hear His word. That is, during these times of gathering He provides a spiritual filling that is necessary for our souls that have been emptied through the trials and tribulations of this life. This is part of the reason why God told us not to stop our gathering together.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

To put this promise into practice and receive God’s encouragement, I’d like to look at Psalm 62 with you, because it gives us some practical advice when we get to the end of our rope.

But before we get there, the key to it all is found in verse five.

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.” (Psalm 62:5 NIV)

It is vital that we put our hope in something that’s reliable. Nothing’s worst than putting our hope in something that’s going to let us down, which is what we see when we put our hope in anything or anyone else other than God.

Speaking of putting our hope in something that’s going to let us down, someone said, “Nothing builds more false hope than the first day of a new diet.”

Therefore, we have to put our hope into something that lasts, something that’s reliable, and when we have time to think about it, only God is reliable, it’s everything and everybody else that will fail us. Therefore, we need to put our hope in God alone.

In the rest of our time together, I’d like to look at three things from Psalm 62 that we need to do when faced with a crisis and our hope is on the line. And the reason is because there are generally three that we give way to, and these are panic, pity, or pessimism. Panic is worry in overdrive. Pity is when we wallow in our misery, and pessimism is when we see life in a cynical way.

1. Don’t Give Into Panic

When we’re at the end of our rope, let’s not give into panic. Instead, let’s lean on God for His stability.

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2 NIV)

Normally, when we experience a crisis our first temptation is to panic and run. That’s why all the doors in public buildings open outward. Now, most people run from their problems. They try to escape through thrills, pills, alcohol, or to other addictions like gambling, pornography. They also try other diversions like playing Internet games for hours, or watch an inordinate about of T.V and movies.

In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, it was found that during the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are turning to TV and movies, rather than the Bible to occupy their time. Roughly 75% of those surveyed say that watch TV or movies on a daily basis, whereas only round 25% read the Bible on a weekly or daily basis, and less than half of those who identified as Christians read the Bible regularly to help them cope.

Instead, what we need to do is that instead of running away, we need to run to the stability that a relationship with God brings, because only God is our rock that cannot be moved, and that cannot be shaken.

I think it’s safe to say that none of us like changes. Change produces stress, and stress produces instability and shakes us up. So it’s reassuring to know that God never changes. He is our rock and our fortress, as David points out for us. Even through problems come and go, the one thing that remains constant is God. He even said so. Though the prophet Malachi He said, “I am the LORD, I do not change.” (Malachi 3:6 NKJV)

Because God never changes, He will remain faithful through the storms of life. Therefore, we need to grab hold of Him in the times of our crisis.

Years ago on the South Sea Islands, whenever a typhoon or hurricane was coming, the people would tie themselves to the big palm trees to remain safe, because these palm trees had survived the storms of the past. And while they may lose everything else, they remained safe because they tied themselves to something solid.

Maybe life is battering us around, and the storms are tossing us back and forth. Instead of trying this or that to find safety and rest, we need to tie ourselves to Christ. We need to grab onto the Rock and find our refuge and safety in Him.

David had such a trust, and grabbed onto God for stability in his life.

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” (Psalm 125:1 NIV)

When thinking about this, a well-known advertising slogan came to mind that plays off this biblical theme. It says, “You’re in good hands with Allstate.” The only problem is that Allstate cannot protect us from the harm or consequences that come from a crisis.

But with God, we are in good hands. He’ll protect us, help us, and is faithful when all else fails. We can rest in Him and in His hands while we regain our equilibrium. So, instead of panicking, lets’ grab hold of and lean upon God for His stability.

2. Don’t Give Into Pity

Instead of throwing a pity party we need to look to God for His deliverance, for His salvation. This is what David found in Psalm 62:7.

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.” (Psalm 62:7 NIV)

God wants not only to stabilize us, but also to be our salvation. He wants to be our deliverance, the solution to the problems we face.

Now, you might be wondering what this verse has to do with not giving into pity. But what salvation means is deliverance. It means to be set free. It means to be released. God wants to help us out of our problems, not for us to wallow in them.

How are we to go about this? Well, David gives us the answer in verse 8.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8 NIV)

Instead of allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us where we find ourselves throwing a pity party, we need to pray, that is, we need to pour out our hearts to God. Which is exactly what we see David doing in the midst of His crisis.

I’m sure most everyone is familiar with the story of Jonah. Instead of turning to and grabbing hold of God, he was running away from God and His calling upon his life. And so, where we find Jonah is on a Mediterranean cruise, but this cruise has a somewhat fishy ending.

After a few days, instead of finding himself floating peacefully on the waters, he finds himself floating on the inside of a giant fish. Now while he was in the fish’s belly, he started to throw himself a woe-is-me pity party, but after three days Jonah poured out his heart in prayer asking God for deliverance. Look at what he said.

“As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to You in Your holy Temple.” (Jonah 2:7 NLT)

And it says when he finished with his prayer; the fish spit Jonah out onto dry ground (Jonah 2:10).

And that is what we need to do when we find ourselves in these times of crisis. We need to turn our thoughts away from the poor-is-me syndrome, and onto the Lord. Sometimes we just need to pray the basics, “Lord, help me in this situation. Lord, save me.”

To help us remember this, and our need to pray in these times of need, let me give a short acrostic for Hope.

HOPE – “Holding On Praying Expectantly”

And so instead of throwing a pity party, let’s look to God for His salvation, for His deliverance. Think about it, we’ve trusted in everything else, why not God who is trustworthy.

Someone said that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. The Bible tells us that if God is for us, then no one can stand against us. So it doesn’t matter what is opposing us. It doesn’t matter what situations we encounter. It doesn’t matter how hopeless something looks. If we have God, then we’re going to make it.

Many years back, huge sailing vessels navigated across the oceans. I was reading a story of a young sailor who was told to climb the mast and set the sails. As he was climbing he made the mistake of looking down. He began to see the ship tossing to and fro and he began to lose his balance. But a seasoned veteran shouted out to him, “Look up, son. Look up!” And as he looked up he regained his balance and was saved.

That’s good advice for us. When we’re in a situation that’s knocking us around, let’s stop looking at the situation and instead look up. Let’s look to God for His salvation.

The Psalmist said, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) And the reason was so that his foot would not slip.

And so, the first thing we see is that we’re to grab hold of God for His stability so we’re not shaken. And then, we’re not to throw ourselves a pity party, but instead we’re to look to God for His salvation, for His deliverance.

3. Don’t Give Into Pessimism

Basically, we’re not to give into hopelessness, rather we’re to go to God and listen for His directions.

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Psalm 62:11-12 NIV)

When David took time with God, and stopped having anxiety over what he was going through and throwing himself a pity party, he listen to what the Lord was saying, and what he heard is that God is both strong and loving, and that He will reward the faithful in the end.

And so we need to be open and let the Lord speak to us and guide us through the crisis that we face, that is, those situations that see us losing hope.

Now, there are two beautiful statements in what David says that should give us hope. First, God is strong, that is, there is no problem too big for Him. And second, God is loving, that is, He loves us and cares about what we’re going through, and He desire is to help us through it.

The Lord said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

And the Apostle Paul tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV)

Now, Paul doesn’t say that all things are good, because that simply isn’t the case. There’s a lot of bad things happening in our world, but what he does say, and that which has been proven time and again, is that God can take these rotten situations and turn them around and use them for good in our lives and for His kingdom sake.

I have always loved what Corrie Ten Boom said, “No matter how deep the pit is that you fall in, God’s love goes deeper.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

Conclusion

When we’re depressed and at the end of our rope, we need to start praying to God, and start talking to our souls about the faithfulness of God. This is what David did as we saw in our key verse in Psalm 62, verse 5. But I believe that it is best seen in Psalm 42, verse 5.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5 NIV)

And then in verse eight he goes onto say something that should bring us hope today.

“By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.” (Psalm 42:8 NIV)

Day and night God is there for us, so we need to direct our attention away from our problems and unto God’s promises. How? It’s through taking time to talk with Him and allowing Him to talk with us.

Let me just say, that if we can’t get to sleep at night, let’s stop trying to count the sheep, instead let’s talk to the Great Shepherd.

And so, where do we get the power to keep going when all we want to do is to give up? We get the power from our hope in the Lord and in His plan for our lives.

And so to end, when we have Jesus Christ in our lives it produces stability. But God wants to do more than stabilize us, He wants to save us, He want’s to deliver us. He wants to be the answer to what’s plaguing us. And for this to happen we have to start praying and listening to His ways for our lives, because God’s ways are both strong and loving.

So, when we find that we are at the end of our rope, let’s place our hope in the Lord, because He truly is our only hope. And when we hope in the Lord, then He’ll tie a life preserver to the end of that rope for us to hang onto. And here’s the really neat part, we’re not hanging onto God, He’s hanging onto us, because while we might let go of God, God will never let go of us.









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