“MUSINGS WHILE IN THE HOLD”
Hope Strengthened By Waiting
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the LORD more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. LetIsraelhope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeemIsraelfrom all his iniquities. (Psalm 130:5-8).
Waiting is a characteristic of faith and confidence in God. The truly redeemed know and are persuaded that the God of heaven will do right. When there is no trust in the Lord or His providential dealings with man, the natural impulse is to run hither and thither, and make things happen. That this seductive quality is a deep seeded reaction with all mankind could never be successfully denied. The confident recipient of grace, however, battles with these surges of the flesh, and with much labor seeks to incarcerate these faithless tendencies.
Waiting on the Lord is proof that the believer has denounced all confidence in his own understanding and undertakings. He trusts not his fickle deductions concerning what is best for his own life, but leaves all things, whatever they may be, in the counsels of the eternally all-wise God.
Real waiting is not something that can be described or understood after a few days of indecision. In these verses before us, the waiting has reached a point where time and stillness on the part of God have grown to a painful hunger. A longing and thirsting after the Lord’s intervention has reached such an engrossing height that it is a constant and continual ache. The repeated “I wait, my soul doth wait, I hope, my soul waiteth on the LORD, I watch, and I watch more,” are testimonies of how rigorous was the situation and how long the duration. What is most important to note is the fact that regardless of how long the time, or how grave the circumstances, the Psalmist was fixed in conviction that waiting on the Lord was wise and correct.
When waiting seems to become a never ending vocation, the child of God finds numerous suggestions running through his mind. Many of these temptations appear harmless and even wise to sense. We contemplate their validity and seek to justify our actions by concluding that God could not possibly be dishonored or offended by our pursuing them. Nevertheless, no matter how meticulous or honorable these schemes may appear to be, if it is not the Lord’s will, they will have disastrous results.
Much of the time spent waiting on God is time for repenting and repair – repenting for charging forward in a heated rush without solid assurance that this action is truly God’s will; then repairing the mess made by leaning on the arm of the flesh, or our own understanding. The repenting is certainly the right thing to do. The repairs, however, are usually matters that are out of our means and ability to rectify. We must then hope that the merciful God will “restore that which He took not away.”
The saving Father tests the metal of His children when they are made to wait for Him. Quite often in these waiting periods, the Lord will hide His face. This increases the agony, but qualifies the source of faith and dependence in His instructions. “And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” (Is. 8:17).
The tried believer may often utter “where is my God?” (Ps. 42:3, 10). But faith answers “I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Ps. 42:5, 11). “Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.” (Ps. 44:24-26). This hiding of God’s face is not a time to turn from trusting in Him. Because the saved of God have been taught by grace that He is the God of their salvation. “Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.” (Ps. 27:9). See also Ps. 69:17-18, 73:26, 143:7.
Regardless of how long the adversaries reproach and God hides His face, the possessor of God wrought faith trusts in, and waits for, his God. “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” (Ps. 33:21-22). Note further Ps. 37:7, 62:1-2, 5, 8. The child of grace can see days of low and dreadful valleys, but he waits still. “I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.” (Ps. 69:3).
We must conclude that there is a divine and glorious purpose in all waitings. God has a most prosperous blessing for those who forsake all human reasoning and unction, and wait for Him. “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Is. 30:18).
“… and in his word do I hope.” Trusting in the promises of God is what the writers of the scriptures deemed vital and essential. The only way we can ascertain what the promises are is by looking into His word. Faith hopes in the word of God. By the revelation of the Lord, believers are assured that “there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.” (Prov. 21:30). The people of God are greatly blessed when by grace they acknowledge that His counsels will stand sure forever. (Ps. 33:11). These counsels are set forth in the scriptures. “Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” (Ps. 33:22). Hoping in the word is a perpetual refusal of the vain help of man. (Ps. 60:11, 108:12). To hope in the vanity of mankind is to place confidence in that which at best is no better than hoping in the wisdom of a wild ass’ colt. (Job 11:12).
The inspired word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light upon the path. (Ps. 119:105, 133). The Psalmist threw aside hopes in everything created. He clutched unto and hoped only in the word of the Lord. All other props and stays were assessed as refuse and but dung, even his own righteousness. (Phil. 3:8-11).
The words of the Lord are pure, tried by fire, and worthy of complete reception – they can be trusted. (Ps. 12:6, 119:140). They are true from the beginning and endure forever – they are great spoil and riches. (Ps. 119:160-162). The word gives Godly understanding and glorious deliverances – it is His promises. (Ps. 119:169-170). The word is settled in heaven – God said that it was. (Ps. 119:89). The word of the Lord quickens the wits and revives the soul – that is God’s testimony. The word of God gives strength to those that trust Him. (Ps. 119:25, 28, 50, 107). The Lord’s word, in which the redeemed hope, is a guaranty of His mercy. (Ps. 119:49, 58).
The holy word of God goes far beyond feeble understanding. To comprehend the word to the fullest is not even granted to the angelic host. Our Father is the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. (2 Cor. 1:2). This comfort is promised to all the children of God. (Ps. 119:50, 76). Psalm 119 is the Father’s testimony with regard to the eternal holiness and righteousness of His glorious word. The word in which all the redeemed place their hope. (Verses 49, 116).
Verse 6: “My soul waiteth for the LORD more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.” In this Psalm each thought is doubled. There is deep God-produced conviction in every phrase. The faith of God is a sustaining gift which can never be valued too highly. The child cries because it wants the affection of its mother. The child will not be pleased by the fondness of another, so it will wait until the true love comes. The child will cry, wait, hope, and watch. For without doubt there is love divine, mercies eternal, and redemption plenty in the sovereign and faithful God of the word. The multiple mention of each word is for the comfort and confidence of the elect. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” (Heb. 6:17-18). Because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself. This should be sufficient for even weak faith. (Heb. 6:13).
I wait, my soul doth wait, my soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning. If one must wait, oh let it ever be the Lord for whom he waits. Nothing is a greater recommendation and witness of true faith than waiting confidently on God. The author of this Psalm was as convinced that waiting on the Lord was accurate, just as sure as the morning brought daylight.
Intimacy with God should be the chief aim and desire of the servants of the most high. So intense was this holy magnet within the Psalmist that it could only be characterized by such words as hunger, thirst, panting, longing for, and following hard after the Lord. That this disposition is rare in the greater portion of the elect is obvious to even the casual observer. A gnawing hunger and an insatiable longing for spiritual closeness is truly a favored station in this life. Most hunger and crave for fame, fortune, prestige and the praise of men. Family values and parental support are to a greater extent squandered for the pursuit of temporal ambitions, while the things of God and His word are practically ignored, with the exception of an occasional Lord’s Day observance. So when we see or read of Godly passion like that described in verse 6 of this Psalm, it is as if one were speaking a language not totally understood. Strange desire indeed and foreign to most of Christendom.
The aspirations detailed in the phrases “my soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning,” demand comparison. The watchers for the morning may have had intense desires, but they were surpassed exceedingly by the eagerness of the Psalmist. He longed for a familiarity that would place him so close to his Lord that they would sip through the same straw. These longings are best discovered by the words of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians.
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:16-19).
Spiritual longing is defined as a heart panting after God. It is a yearning accentuated by throbbing and heaving with exertion; a spirit filled grasping for fresh breath to continue the holy quest. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1-2).
Parched lips and a dried throat for lack of water are great dangers for the flesh. The spiritual man feels these same conditions in the inner man. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; My soul followeth hard after thee…” (Ps. 63:1, 8). Note also Ps. 69:3. The soul faints as the longing continues. The heart and the flesh cry out to God for that living water which is only to be found in his presence. (Ps. 84:2, 119:81-82, 123, 147). The performance of the promises was the only cure for the Psalmist. Not only would nothing else assuage the cravings, he could and would not accept anything but the fruition of the Lord’s word. If it demanded waiting until he was almost destroyed or taken to the mouth of the pit, he would trust in the faithful execution of Jehovah’s perfect will. (Ps. 143:6-12). The believer’s confession should always be, “we will wait for thee both day and night.” “Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.” (Is. 26:8-9).
Verse 7: “LetIsrael hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.” “Salvation is of the Lord.” — Be it deliverance from temporal dismay, ever present enemies, or be it eternal salvation. It is all the Lord’s work, and it is marvelous in our eyes. In verse 4 it was written that “there is forgiveness with thee.” Now in the seventh verse, other glorious qualities are displayed. With the Lord, not only is there forgiveness, but mercy, and plenty redemption as well. These precious attributes of the Lord will most assuredly inspire hope for the Israel of God. The believer sins greatly when through unbelief he questions the veracity of these proclamations. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ would not require confidence from His followers if His works or promises were not ideal and absolute. “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.” (Jn. 10:37). The same principal can be applied to His word. Therefore, the Psalmist with righteous zeal requested thatIsrael hope in the Lord. “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
The Scriptures teach emphatically that the Lord is the author of faith; that this faith is a gift from Him. They teach that there is forgiveness with Him, and He is the Father of mercies, and that there is mercy with Him. That with Him also, there is plenteous redemption. (Heb. 12:2; Eph. 2:8; Ps. 130:4; 2 Cor. 2:3; Ps. 130:7).
Luke understood that if faith were to grow, it must be the Lord that would increase the same. (Lk. 17:5). It was taught to the Philippians that God would supply all needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:19). Now all of these great, wonderful and divine blessings come from God our Father through Jesus Christ the Savior of the redeemed. We can attribute none of these glorious benefits to our own actions, be they ever so appealing to sight. We as believers are not sufficient to wrought any good work for ourselves of a redeeming nature, much less can we affect the lives of any other beings in the realms of eternal redemption. Redemption is with, and is of the Lord. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Cor. 3:5). We need to follow the instructions advanced in Ezekiel 14. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” (verse 20).
The commending admonition why the Israel of God should hope in His word is because there is utterly no hope in any one, or anything else. Peter put it best when he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (Jn. 6:68).
To hope in the word of God is to trust in His promises. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Cor. 1:20). The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (Rom. 11:7).
“For with the Lord there is mercy.” Jeremiah said that “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning:” (Lam. 3:22-23). The Psalmist recorded in Chapter 136 that the mercies of God endured forever – in fact he said it 26 times in this one chapter alone, under different circumstances. Surely, that should be enough to spur us unto a hardy confidence in the promises of the God’s mercies.
Even when sin rages in and against us, and we droop because of the wicked tendencies that war against the spirit, let us always seek forgiveness – confess our sins and iniquities and our ever willingness to encourage them in many insidious ways. There is still forgiveness with God – there is still mercy with Him also. The consoling truth is that God delights in forgiving sins and showing mercy to His faltering elect. “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18).
“… and with him is plenteous redemption.” A full and abundant supply. Plenty refers to a large quantity fully adequate of satisfying the most far reaching demands, even that of the Holy Law of God. This plenty resides with the Lord.
The medium of redemption has been provided by the very God. God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The provision was Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. What effectuated the redemption was the shed blood of Jesus. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of this grace.” (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Justification was secured by the redemptive acts of Jesus Christ. This justification is now freely given to the elect by His grace. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…” (Rom.3:24-25). The effect of the redeeming blood is awe-inspiring. It has made children of wrath to become the heirs of God, the joint heir of Jesus Christ. The polluted sinner becomes the beneficiary and co-sharer of the eternal inheritance. The redeemed because of God’s mercy and grace are in Christ Jesus. What He accomplished is imputed to the saved of God. God has therefore made Jesus unto us both “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30).
In the heart of the loving Father, the redemption of the elect is very precious, because the sacrifice provided by Him was the most precious. (Ps. 49:8). By God’s appointment, Jesus became sin for all the chosen, that they should become the righteous of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21). “… and with him is plenteous redemption.” By unqualified and unconditional love He sent redemption unto His people. He commanded His covenant for ever: holy and reverend is His name. (Ps. 111:9).
He sent Jesus Christ the only saving source of redemption. By His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for the elect. (Heb. 9:12). Any other method or system suggested concerning redemption is a great stain and blemish upon the truth. We must struggle to keep it ever in our heart that every redeeming attribute is with the Lord, and He alone can administer it effectually. “… Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (Jn. 17:1-2).
Jesus is the mediator of the redemptive covenant. By means of suffering and death, Jesus gave His people redemption, and they by Him receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Heb. 9:15).
Verse 8: “And he shall redeemIsrael from all his iniquities.” This verse calls attention to those other portions of the Bible which state the eternal purpose of God in Christ to redeem His elect. The “shalls” are fixed in meaning and lend themselves to only one interpretation – the absolute certainty of God’s effectual counsels.
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Is. 7:14, 53:10-11; Matt. 1:21; Heb. 9:14) (emphasis added). See Chapter Twelve with regard to the shalls of the Bible — “Pondering the Hard Shalls of Holy Writ.”
In closing this chapter, we quote the great David. “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.” (Ps. 25:22).