Impostors of Hope

I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan. He is not only a brilliant detective; he’s also a master of disguise. sherlock
One moment he can appear as an old beggar in a dark London alleyway, the next he is disguised as a dashing prince from a far away land. Disguises can be fun, until the "make believe" becomes deadly. We recently spent some time in Psalm 62 where we found David declaring that God ALONE stands as His refuge (Ps 62:1-2). As he makes this bold declaration he calls all of us to trust in Yahweh alone to be our help. Yahweh is our exclusive refuge, our only rock and salvation. He is the only source of true, unassailable safety.

Yet even as David declares these truths he finds that there are enticing imposters who pose as additional sources of security. He exposes these three imposters in Ps 62:9-10 where David sings:

Psa. 62:9-10 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

The three imposters David exposes are: People, Plans and Plenty. For remainder of this blog post we will briefly examine the first false hope for security:

People (Ps 62:9)

We are often tempted to rest our hope in people. We often want them to treat us or respond to us in a certain way. We care too much about how they might see us. In Psalm 62:9 we are told that all people, whether of the lowest degree or of the highest status, if weighed in the balances of God’s divine scale, are “lighter than breath”. In other words when compared with the weight of God’s majesty, power and faithfulness, they don’t even register. Elsewhere the Bible says, “The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” (Prov. 29:25) In other words, when facing difficulty, confusion or fear, consult God’s wishes first and foremost. Know that He can and will deal with the people you fear.

Are you resting your hope in people? How can you tell? Are you often preoccupied or anxious about the way others see you? This kind of anxiety expresses itself when we make statements like:

  • “I’m not prepared to meet this person.”
  • “What does he think of me?”
  • “I’ll probably make a fool of myself.”
  • “I can’t reveal too much of myself or she will know what I’m really like and reject me.”
  • “I can’t bear the thought of being hurt again.”
  • “I must get away from this person (those people) as quickly as possible.

Do you avoid conflict at all costs? Not all conflict is bad. Sometimes it is even necessary to help us and others. A person who seeks to avoid all forms of conflict will often think, “I better be careful to not say anything that could set things off here.” This is living a sham and leads to many long term problems with others.

As Lou Priolo puts it, “A people-pleaser is not a peacemaker, but rather a peace-lover.”

Do you treat others in sinful ways (harshly, condescendingly, sarcastically) when they hurt you? Is it a sin for someone to disagree with you? If not, then why do you treat them that way when they disagree with you?

Where do you first run when you encounter a fearful trial?

  • To God?
  • To a your ingenuity, skills, resources?
  • Other people?

Do you frequently fail to thank God in prayer after being rescued from a trial?

  • In your mind did the trial simply ‘pass’?
  • Did your own ingenuity, skills or resources rescue you?

People are made by God and can be used by Him as gifts and blessings in our lives. Yet, they cannot be the foundation of our hope. When we rest our security in people, and the way they treat us, we end up resting in one of God’s blessings, rather than God Himself. Are the symptoms of resting hope in people we discussed an ongoing part of your life? If so, it could be that you are trusting in people rather than God and you are heading for a fall. It is time to repent and reaffirm in your heart that God alone is your refuge. He is the only One who can really keep you in His almighty grace (Ps 62:1-2).

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