If we are to discover hope this Advent season, we must learn to look both without and within. In and of ourselves, we are hopeless. We must find a power greater than ourselves, the One Who is Beyond. Yet, if our search for hope is to have integrity, we must also look within. Humbly and honestly we must name those things we find within so that with God's help and in God's hands they may become the very source of our hope.
Three times in the first three verses our psalmist speaks of shame. "Do not let me be put to shame." (v. 2) "Moreover, do not let any who wait for you, be put to shame." (v. 3) Rather, "let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous." (v. 3) Rather than denying that he is at risk of being shamed, our psalmist accepts his vulnerability and calls on the honor of the One who is his hope to turn his shame in victory over his enemies (v. 2).
Of course to claim such victory, the psalmist must acknowledge the reality of enemies. Would we risk the same for the sake of hope? Might we discover within the resentments we harbor that mask the destructive presence of enemies in our lives that we scarcely acknowledge? To learn to pray for our enemies we must learn to acknowledge them; the resentments and bitter regrets we carry within are harbingers of their presence in our lives.
The paths to such freedom and hope are discovered as we pray that God would make his ways known to us (v. 4). The teachable spirit that would allow us to walk in God's ways—the only genuine hope we have—begins with the offering of our very selves to the One who is forever and always worthy of our trust and adoration (w. 1 & 6).