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Opinion Blog: What Is Hope?

I’ve been reading Psalms 1-72 An Introduction and Commentaries by Rev. Derek Kidner.  It is to me like a detailed treatise on the Psalms – both overview and verse by verse.  This book is intended for the “student of the Bible who has no specialized training in biblical theology, history and language.”  So now you know my qualifications to read such a book.  In short, this book is loaded with the ideas contained in each Psalm and causes, most of the time, mental overload.  That’s because it’s meant to be a “handy commentary,” I guess, and I’m trying to read it straight through.  After about four months I’m on page 223 out of 257. 

Today on page 223 in Psalm 62 (only ten more to go in this book), one of the thoughts I read smacked me.  Part of Rev. Kidner’s comments on verse 9, the first two lines, says “Breath (my translation says vapor) is the word translated “vanity” in Ecclesiastes, where, as here, it might well be rendered “a puff of wind”.  The New Testament speaks in such terms in James 4:14.  The word for a delusion is “a lie”.  The point, then, is not so much that we have nothing to fear from man as that we have nothing to hope from him” (my underline).

Fast forward to today from King David’s adversity.  We hear the word “hope” thrown around a lot.  In today’s context, it means that we anticipate a better MATERIAL life.  So we have the “bail me out” hope.  More specifically: “Help with my mortgage” or “give me a better paying job” or “I need a better car” or “I need better health care.” 

What Rev. Kidner is pointing out is the “hopelessness” of this anticipation promulgated by our secular media and denounced in this Psalm.  So the signs you saw and are still seeing about hope are a huge misuse of the word.  I can safely say that a majority of Americans, at least those who voted in 2008, failed to realize the fact that no man can deliver true hope.  Only God can.  If you put your hope in man, any man, here is an old warning: “you are cruisin’ for a bruisin’.”

Many of the same Americans, who bought the secular meaning of hope, now realize that they bought “a puff of wind” and “a lie”.  What are they doing about it?  I can only tell you what I do.  Once I realize that I’ve been deceived, I stop listening first.  Now I have to see if there is any damage done because I was deceived.  If so, I have to start trying to correct it.  Could it be like buyer’s remorse on a new or used car?  I may have to suck it up so to speak.  But in the case of our leadership, I can begin the process, with the help of the newly repentant converts, of removing the leader from the position for which he/she lied to obtain. 

Even though I did not buy the “lie” myself, I can help those with the buyer’s remorse.  Isn’t that the Christian thing to do?  Well, yes, but for the right reasons – justice versus revenge? 

Bill Bramer

Retired Naval Officer

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