Day 5

I Put My Hope in Your Word

from the Psalm 119 reading plan


Psalm 119:73-88, Hebrews 4:12-13, Genesis 18:9-15, Genesis 21:1-7

BY Ellen L. Taylor

I grew up going to church three times a week and met some of my closest friends (even to this day!) in youth group. Most of my Facebook statuses in high school were inspirational Bible verses that I hoped would encourage my friends at my public high school who weren’t believers. I went to a Christian university for my undergraduate degree, where mandatory chapel was held twice a week, and every student was required to take six semesters worth of Bible classes. I interned at a local church and even earned a minor degree in the Bible. And then, I went to graduate divinity school.

But somewhere along the way, I stopped delighting in Scripture. I saw it as something to be studied, but not something to be taken to heart. I began to think of God as something to learn about rather than someone to know. To date, this was one of the most confusing times in my life so far.

After a time spent in this confusing season, I was given a special project at work; I was instructed to go through the entire book of Genesis, chapter by chapter, writing discussion questions along the way for kids aged eleven to fifteen.

I don’t know the last time you read through the book of Genesis (maybe in January when we read it together, as an SRT community), but there are some stories in that book that are, well, a little less than age-appropriate for young teens. As I was going through some of the trickier passages, the discussion point I kept coming back to was that God keeps His promises to His people. His people keep turning away from Him, not believing Him, disobeying Him and turning to other gods, but God is consistently faithful to His promises.

One of the passages that fell into this category was the story of Sarah and her pregnancy with Isaac. When God told her she would become pregnant in her old age, Sarah laughed at the very thought (Genesis 18:9–15). But God kept His promise to her, and she bore a son (Genesis 21:1–7). After reading and working through the rest of the book of Genesis, I went into my friend’s office exasperated and frustrated with myself because I couldn’t find anything else for the discussion questions. She encouraged me to keep at it and do my best, and reassured me that maybe it was okay if God keeping His promises was the main theme of the project.

Soon after completing the project, I realized that what had been frustrating me about the book of Genesis was exactly what I needed to hear and understand about God in a season of my own confusion and doubt: God keeps His promises to His people. He keeps His promises when your world seems to come crashing down. He keeps His promises when your best friend betrays you, when a dear family member falls ill, when the plans you had for your life have suddenly fallen to pieces around you. I know He does because I’ve seen it in my own life. His promises to His people are true. We can put our hope in Him to do so (Psalm 119:81). What a beautiful gift.

Post Comments (56)

56 thoughts on "I Put My Hope in Your Word"

  1. Maddy Pearson says:

    I feel like it is so tempting for me to be pessimistic and skeptical like Sarah, especially with all that’s going on in the world and in our personal lives. But, just as we can’t rely on people or circumstances as our ultimate hope.

    1. Melonee Lentell says:

      Amen

  2. Lovely Kawena says:

    I’ve been so stuck on my bible studies that my relationship part has started to dim. I want to be able to delight in his word like I do when I am in the spirit. When He gives me life I willfully obey the decree He has spoken. I love you Father. You are promising me your love while I long for your salvation and put hope in your Word. Amen

  3. Anna Mims says:

    God always keeps His promises, even when what He is promising seems impossible. Nothing is impossible with God

    1. Ashley Hempel says:

      Amen!

  4. Michelle Fields says:

    The tension between what I want and trusting in the Lord’s promise can be such a battle. My boyfriend is in the hospital with a mental health crisis. I want so much for him to get well but I know I need to just trust in His plan. I just wish those two could be the same and then I feel badly about that too. Lord hear my prayer

    1. Jenelle Gaynor says:

      He is with you. Praying for you and for your boyfriend. My brother went through a mental health crisis 4 years ago, it was one of the hardest times of my life. But God is faithful. He knows your heart.

    2. Paula Kline says:

      Hi Michelle,

      I’m so sorry to hear about this incredibly painful and scary moment. I am a psychologist who works with folks struggling just like your boyfriend is right now. So know, he may very well be with someone God has meant for him to meet for a very long time.

      I also hear you about the pain of sitting with wanting something and knowing that it is not a guarantee that God will give it to you. I don’t think that God has a problem with our longings (it’s not unfaithful for us to want things). I don’t even think God has a problem with us being disappointed when things don’t work out like we hoped they would (look at all the times David questions God’s timing in the psalm). But I DO think it’s really painful for us! We both have the disappointment of not getting what we want and the fear that God didn’t come through for us.

      It’s weird, but I can honestly tell you that it’s in those very moments that I have actually gotten the most intimate with God. In my confusion and despair and anger and grief. In those moments is when I have felt God the most intensely. I hated the disappointment but I wouldn’t trade the intimacy with God for anything.

      I will be praying for you this morning. And I know this one could work out for you exactly as you hope. But don’t be ashamed if it doesn’t, lean in and see what God has for you there.

  5. Makenzie Benish says:

    God’s promises will be fulfilled. They are ONLY contingent upon HIS character, not mine. I can put my Hope in him because HE is faithful and good, even when I’m not!

    1. Maddy Pearson says:

      Love this! ❤️

  6. Ashley White says:

    This is such a beautiful devotions and passage, just what I needed to hear. I will keep clinging to His promises daily even when things look grim. ❤️ Happy Friday everyone!

  7. Dorothy says:

    Keeping a promise can be hard at times but for God nothing is hard or impossible. I know how He is with me no matter the circumstances. In my 61 years of life, I have lost a son, a niece, both of my parents, gone through a divorce and helped several family members with addictions. Each time I turn to God and He was there for me. As long as I believe He will be there. Several times I asked why or said but God, but I have never stopped believing. Lord God help those who waiver in unbelief. Help me to remain strong in my faith and know that Your Promise is to be with me and all of us through the end of time. Amen

  8. Erin Cascioli says:

    Thank you, Ellen for a great devotional today! I am like you, youth group, Christian school undergrad, and divinity school now. I have noticed that the Bible has become a thing to study, not a thing to love and take to heart.
    Would you all pray that I not only cognitively memorize scripture but that through my discipline, the Lord would soften my heart and to fall in love with his word again?

    I have started by writing out Psalm 119 with the study and my goodness how convicting and enriching it has been so far.

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