On New Year’s Day, I took the time to watch a little news. The program I watched paraded out several experts in different fields with advice and motivation for the New Year. There was a well- known coach, a businessman, and a physician.  The common theme was complacency is the enemy of success. The advice is easy (they pointed out), but the application of it would mark the difference in people.

We can apply this to our spiritual lives this year. We can spend more time reading the Bible and praying. We can also be intentional about being well rooted in the faith, and growing in the convictions the Lord tells us his people should have. We see some important Biblical convictions in this psalm.

One is to praise the Lord. In verses one and two, we see the psalmist is resolved to praise the Lord with the core of his being for as long as he lives. Praising the Lord enriches our souls, and gives honor where it is most due. We should take note of how little our heart praises the Lord throughout the day, and correct ourselves. It isn’t a small sin, and it does disservice to our souls.

The second conviction is to not trust in princes (verse 3). “Princes” can mean any authority of men. This doesn’t mean disrespecting or dishonoring our leaders or government officials. The psalmist is addressing our propensity to look to men above the Lord for our greatest help.

When we read in Jeremiah that the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful, it is in the context of the Lord saying, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes the strength of man his strength.” This refers to placing hope in man above hope in the Lord. 

In verses three and four we see the reasons not to place hope in man. There is no salvation in man, and he is mortal; he will die, and his plans with him. To place our hope in man (above God) is both sinful and futile. There is neither hope nor future in it. We don’t know our days; this may be our last year. So make it a good year. Look to the Lord and not men for security and blessedness.

Rather, we need to be convinced of the Lord’s ability and promise to help. The scene shifts in verses 5 and 6 to heavenly mindedness. “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.” Jacob wrestled with God because he knew that if the Lord didn’t bless him, he had no hope of being blessed. Know that the Lord is the way of entire blessedness.

The Lord is compared to man. Man has made remarkable achievements. He has landed on the moon, and has ambitions to land on Mars. Here we see that the Lord made the heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them (verse 6). The Lord made everything. He has all power; no limitations.

The Lord also “keeps faith forever.” This means he keeps his word. He not only has the ability to deliver on his promise to bless; he is perfectly faithful to do so. It is a terrible thing to ignore such an advocate as the Lord God and look to man instead. Or to think we have existence on our own, and are independent of God. Make sure your help is the God of Jacob, and live by his word.

Another conviction we need to grow in is how sufficient a Savior Christ is. Reflect on this day by day. In verse 8 we read, “He sets the prisoner free; The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.”

These phrases echo the promises of Isaiah 61 that look to the coming Savior. Jesus quoted that scripture when he began his ministry in Luke 4, to teach us that he is the one who fulfills these miraculous promises. He came to do these things for all of us. We are all blind and imprisoned by sin. We are bowed down by the oppression of the devil and death.

The Lord Jesus saves his people from their sins. He forgives all the sin of those who come to him (entirely).  He is no partial Savior. The Lord loves all the Father gives him. Those in Christ have freedom. They belong to the Lord. He will never let them go. No one can snatch them out of his hand. His Spirit will be with them forever. The Lord will reign forever (verse 10).

The psalm ends as it began: “Praise the Lord (verse 10).” The psalmist has given you reasons to praise the Lord this year. It is good to praise the Lord. Let us make a practice of it this year.