Just seeing the title of today’s “Note” tends to make us cringe. But here is our text: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psa. 27:14). “I know that verse,” we think. “I’ve heard that message many times before, and I understand that truth.” We are impatient creatures. We come into this world with desires in overdrive. With the exception of the word no, parents of young children probably use the word wait more than any other single word—at least one that irritates our flesh.
In light of how easy it is to understand the word and of how often he had probably heard it, it is interesting that David, as an adult, exhorts his own soul to wait on the Lord. He must have been a man of some impatience (And who isn’t?) because he felt compelled to repeat the exhortation to himself.
Here is instruction. David knew the will of the Lord: though his enemies seemed about to overcome him, his recourse lay not in using his considerable skills as a warrior to defeat them, nor to flee before them, nor to surrender to them. His recourse lay in waiting for the Lord—whether He would choose one of those three options for David, or whether He would intervene directly or through secondary means on David’s behalf. At the time of the writing of the psalm, David did not know which the Lord might choose. But he did know that the Lord had a way for him to follow, that that way alone was right, and that he must wait on the Lord until such time as the Lord would show His hand. In other words, David applied the Word of God to himself repeatedly, insistently. He called a check on his own desires and inclinations in order that the Lord’s will might be manifested and worked out.
Is there a greater exercise of faith, a greater work of faithfulness, or a more powerful means of glorifying the Lord than resting and waiting for the Lord to work on our behalf or to make His will known so that we can do it with confidence and success? The tendency of our flesh is often just to jump into action before considering what the Word of God has to say on a matter. That is surely not waiting on the Lord. But another tendency of our flesh, which may appear to be a holy waiting, is equally faulty, namely, to hesitate, when we know what to do. Fearful hesitancy dishonors the Lord and is sinful as much as is running pell-mell ahead of the Lord. Fearful hesitancy is not waiting either.
True blessing comes when we are confident in the Lord and in His work rather than our own, when we trust Him and His Word rather than our own intellect. Some of the greatest monuments ever built to the Lord are those that are never even begun. Some of the greatest acts of faith are those that cannot be seen at all. Ten thousand visible activities that can be counted and weighed must be done and may truly be blessed of the Lord. But none is greater and more essential than waiting on the Lord and yielding our impatient wills and desires to His way and His time. Above all else, such a spirit declares: “I trust you, Lord. I believe you know what is right, what to do and when to do it.” Bold men, like David, achieve true victories when they wait on the Lord; timid men, like Gideon, also achieve true victories when they so wait. It is not the amount of activity or inactivity that commends us to the Lord, but the possession of a spirit that waits on Him, that takes its direction, not from impulse and emotion, not from the force of external circumstances, but from the Word of God. May we, with David, become self-exhorters, yielding our hearts, minds, and wills to the Word of God.
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