28 November 2022

Psalm 146: Look forward in hope

Lieutenant Nazia Yousaf

Lieutenant Nazia Yousaf reminds us to focus on who God is.

Key text

In today’s impatient world, we expect instant solutions to our problems. When results are not immediate, we become impatient. If solutions seem further down the road, we can be tempted to lose any hope that things will ever change. Let’s not lose hope, though.

Hope keeps us moving forward expecting that something will happen or that truth will be confirmed. Hope is future-focused and allows us to believe, and strengthens faith in the likelihood that it will be realised. We prefer to be hopeful but sometimes it can be so hard.

Pause and reflect

  • The psalmist writes: ‘Blessed are those … whose hope is in the Lord’ (v5). What does that mean for us and how do we live it out?

I love how the psalmist just talks right to his soul when he praises the Lord and states his intention that this will be ‘as long as I live’ (v2). It is good to be reminded that God is worthy of our praise.

If we are honest, we don’t always feel like praising and worshipping the Lord. Our feelings change as our emotions are affected. We need to focus on who God is and seek to understand his ways.

When we prioritise God in our lives, we are truly worshipping him. Then his words are more important than those of others and we put his plans and purposes ahead of our own.

Someone looks out over a beach during sunrise or sunset

Psalm 146:2

I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Read the passage

Jesus reminds his hearers of this when he commands: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ (Matthew 22:37).

Pause and reflect

  • When hope is lost, how does this affect our worship?
  • How can worship give us a renewed sense of hope?

Honest self-examination can be healthy for our soul, but we often neglect what could be our spiritual strengths, while ignoring – or excusing – our shortcomings or even our sin. Remember what Jesus asks: ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye’ (Matthew 7:3).

Is this something we need to fix?

Self-examination helps us discover who we are putting our hope and trust in. The psalmist warns: ‘Do not put your trust in … human beings who cannot save’ (v3).

We put our trust in our families, friends, governments and other people. Therefore, we can experience hurt, disappointment and lose hope.

Even when we put our trust in powerful people, they cannot keep themselves alive. They might make all kinds of promises but we know that, when they die, there’s nothing they can do to fulfil their word. Therefore, the psalmist concludes: ‘Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God’ (v5).

Pause and reflect

  • Where does your hope lie?
  • How might we be the cause of someone’s hurt and pain and the reason behind their losing hope in the Lord?

Sometimes life is tough or fast-moving. We tend to forget things quickly and move on to new ventures. We might face a new challenge and start to feel hopeless.

Daily, there are distractions that can take our eyes off Jesus and shift our emphasis on to our own needs, comforts and conveniences. They can be hindrances to our spiritual growth. Although we might begin the day with good intentions, we soon become overloaded with data that obstructs our thinking, stirs up unhealthy feelings, and stunts our development.

In remembering God’s goodness, we change our focus from our current concerns, fears and anxieties to consider his faithfulness. Too frequently we focus on our immediate problems while God sees the concerns of entire nations and generations and provides us with an eternal lens through which to observe them.

In verses 6 to 9, the psalmist helps us to focus on God’s faithfulness. He reminds us that God is a creator, provider and protector. He is a God of justice, and his Kingdom reigns for ever.

Pause and reflect

  • How has God helped you and what wonders has he done in your life?
  • How can remembering the Lord’s faithfulness and focusing on who he is help you revive your hope in him?

Spending personal time with God every day is the first discipline we need in order to keep our hope in the Lord. Also, practising a cycle of spiritual disciplines – worship, self-examination and remembrance – will help us keep our hope in the Lord in times of pain and of joy.

‘The Lord reigns for ever … for all generations. Praise the Lord’ (v10).

Bible study by

A photo of Nazia Yousaf in Salvation Army uniform

Lieutenant Nazia Yousaf

Corps Officer, Stockport Heaton Norris

Let's pray

Our Father God, we bring to you those in our world who have lost hope. We pray that through your Holy Spirit they will find Jesus and the wonderful hope of eternal life.


More Bible studies

Discover more

Psalm 145: every day I will praise you

Major Paula Knight reminds us that praise takes us deeper into our relationship with our Creator.

Bible study
21 Nov 2022

Psalms, Prayers, Coffee and Chat

A simple way of creating a conversation around scripture using the Book of Psalms.

Older people's ministry | Discipleship

Introducing the Old Testament Psalms

This Open Learning course explores the psalms of the Old Testament to prompt reflection on Christian life and support practical ministry. 

Distance learning

Advent and Christmas 2022

Teaching, prayer, worship and video resources to help congregations explore the theme of 'Peace' this Christmas.

Key dates | Corporate worship