Gone, but Not Forever
From Psalm 9
We must have doused it a dozen times. The flames were long gone, but the smoke, even after being sprayed for five full minutes, would return again and again. The next morning, when we were sure the fire had been put out, we woke to a trail of gray smoke weaving through leafless branches.
We (Mom, Dad, my then three-year-old, and I) had spent the day piling and burning leaves in a barrel, but even with the trees thinned out, my yard is definitely not a raking project for one; it’s barely a project for four (or, let’s say, three and a half). So after eight hours, we were exhausted and more than ready to come inside—but for that fire. We needed to make sure it was out before we left, yet no amount of water seemed to put it out completely.
Psalm 9 teaches something similar about our hope.
In this psalm, David, the author, writes about enemies (v. 3), about the wicked (v. 5), about oppression and times of trouble (v. 9), about affliction, hatred, and threats of death (vv. 12–13). This covers the gamut, doesn’t it? Satan, our adversary, will use any number of tactics to put out our faith.
Peter describes Satan in the New Testament as one who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV). We might also think of him as prowling around with a bucket or even, at times, a fire hose with the capacity to dispense eighty to ninety-five gallons of water per minute. Because, sure enough, as we attempt to “fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6)—whether gifts of faith, confidence, belief, love, obedience, hope—Satan is there, attempting to put them out.
Take a look at David’s list from Psalm 9 again:
Enemies and the wicked steal our faith in God as our refuge.
Oppression, hatred, and threats of death kill our confidence in God’s goodness and sovereignty.
Times of trouble and affliction destroy our belief that with Him, better days await.
John did say that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). But Jesus came that we might “abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
This kind of hope is not put out easily. In fact, later in the psalm, David writes, “For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever” (Psalm 9:18). Did you catch that? Hope did perish for a time—because of the variety of persecutions suffered—but it revived, it returned, it did not perish forever.
No matter how many times Satan douses it, even if he’s able to put it out for a time, your hope, your faith, your confidence, your belief can all be restored. Continue to seek the One who will prevail, whose throne is established forever (Psalm 9:7). Soon, perhaps as soon as the morning, you’ll wake to find your hope restored, weaving up to heaven in trails of praise.
Next week’s reading: Psalm 14–20.