Waiting on the Lord
Waiting on the Lord –
The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 psalms or songs. But the psalms are not completely random. There does seem to be some basic structure involved. The first psalm serves as an introduction, setting out the two paths of the righteous and the wicked. The psalms are also arranged according to 5 books, with each book concluding with a doxology, or statement of praise for God ( (41:13); 42-72 (72:19); 73-89 (89:52); 90-106 (106:48); 107-150 (150:6). There are also smaller groupings or clusters of psalms. Psalms of Korah (; ); Psalm of Ascents (). Another cluster of psalms can be found toward the end of the first book in , which is clustered along common themes, particularly the concept of waiting on the Lord.
I. The Content of
I. The Content of
1. has a context of a prosperous wicked and the materially unsuccessful righteous.
2. “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (37:1).
3. “Trust in the Lord, and do good;… Delight yourself in the Lord…Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act… (37:3-6).
4. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him... (37:7);
5. This entire character or disposition is described as meekness (37:11). It is those who live with a quiet strength, who trust and wait on the Lord who will inherit the land.
6. “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land” (37:34).
1. “O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath!” (38:1). “There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin” (38:3).
2. “I am feeble and crushed;” (38:8). “Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long” (38:12).
3. “But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer” (38:15). “Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation” (38:21-22).
4. presents a similar picture of one who has sinned before God and bears the weight of his discipline.
5. “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Before, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! (39:4-6).
6. “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (39:7).
7. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers” (39:12).
1. This psalm announces the triumphant outcome of waiting on the Lord.
2. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (40:1); (following on the heels of the conclusion of , “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry” (39:12).
3. “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (40:2-5).
4. “Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!” (40:13).
5. “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’ As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (40:16-17).
1. The first verse of connects to the concluding thoughts of the previous psalm.
2. “Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies” (41:1-2).
3. In this psalm, the distress is heightened.
a. Physical distress follows spiritual sickness. “As for me, I said, ‘O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!” (41:4).
b. His enemies and friends alike desire his death. “My enemies say of me in malice, ‘When will he die, and his name perish?’ (41:5). “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (41:9).
4. There is no mention of waiting on the Lord in this final psalm of the cluster, but the common themes of trust and deliverance are clearly seen.
5. “But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!” (41:10).
6. “By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen!” (41:12-13).
II. Waiting on the Lord
II. Waiting on the Lord
A. Trust in the Lord
1. “Trust in the Lord, and do good;… Delight yourself in the Lord…Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act… (37:3-6).
2. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him... (37:7);
3. More than the appearances of present circumstances. Sometimes we feel like distress and trials will never end. We can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. We fail to look outside our present circumstances to our mighty and powerful God.
4. More than in your own ability and power.
B. In the Lord’s Time
1. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” ().
2. The Song, ‘In His Time.’
a. In His Time In His time, in His time, He makes all things beautiful, in His time, Lord, please show me everyday, As You're teaching me Your way, That You do just what You say, in Your time.
b. In Your time, in Your time, You make all things beautiful, in Your time. Lord, my life to Your I bring, May each song I have to sing, Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.
C. Be Still
1. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him... (37:7);
2. We must use wisdom and discern when to Act.
3. Sometimes we act like the man who was in a slowly sinking ship. He prayed to God to save him. When a boat came by and offered to help him, he said, ‘No, I’m waiting on God.’ A helicopter came and offered help, and he said, ‘No, I’m waiting on God.’ The man eventually drowned. There are times when we need to act. There are times, when God provides for us through many different means and agencies.
4. There are other times when we just need to be still.
a. When it comes to taking vengeance on others, we need to be still and wait on the Lord. Allow him to make things right in his time.
b. When it comes to worry, we need to instead be still and know that God will provide.
c. When it comes to the saving message of the gospel, we need to plant and water, but be still and wait on God to provide the powerful result.
D. In our Innocence and in our Guilt
1. We normally think of waiting on the Lord when we are the innocent oppressed. When the ruthless and powerful abuse us through no fault of our own. And we wait for the Lord to act.
2. This cluster of psalms also introduces the idea of waiting on the Lord when he disciplines us for our sin.
3. In sin, we act like Adam and Eve, and we turn away from the Lord. We stop praying, we become numb, and we stubbornly endure the pain of our sin.
4. But God disciplines us in our sin for our good; he wants what is best for us. We must trust him even when we are disciplined.
5. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” ().
6. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” ().
E. Placing our Hope in Him
1. Hope in Scripture is a confident expectation. It is closely connected with faith and trust.
2. “I will wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” ().
3. It is closely connected with faith and trust. “Now faith is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen” (); “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” ().
III. Movement within the Psalms
III. Movement within the Psalms
A. While the psalms are not thematically arranged, some have observed that there is an overall movement within the Psalms.
B. Movement within the Psalms as a whole.
1. The Hebrew name for Psalms is Tehillim, which translates as “Songs of praise.”
2. Yet, the laments outnumber the psalms of praise. So, why isn’t the book called the Songs of Lament instead of the Songs of praise?
3. Part of the reason may be that there is a movement toward praise.
4. Individual psalms of lament often close with a statement of praise.
5. Each of the five books of psalms closes with a doxology or statement of praise.
6. The book as a whole seems to conclude with a series of psalms about praise, and not just individual praise, but praise where all the earth is called to join.
C. Consider the movement within the cluster of .
1. Waiting on the Lord serves as one of the primary themes throughout these psalms.
2. Yet, the wording of waiting is not found in the final psalm, .
3. Notice that is a Messianic passage that points beyond this Scripture.
a. In a description of extreme sorrow in the midst of betrayal, we see a picture of Jesus Christ.
b. As Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in , he was aware that his betrayer was among them.
c. Peter protested to Jesus’ washing of his feet, was rebuked and then wanted his whole body washed. Jesus said, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean’” ().
4. Jesus would provide the ultimate example of trusting in his Father and waiting on the Lord.
Conclusion: Jesus was betrayed to be crucified, but God turned this betrayal into redemption. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” ().