217 - Waiting on God (Psalms 27-29)
In Psalms 27–29 we are challenged to patiently wait on the Lord to work on our behalf in His time, trusting Him and praying. We are also inspired to reach out to others, sharing with them God’s faithfulness and the truth that He is in control of all things.
I’ll never forget years ago when my youngest daughter was around four years of age. She was riding along with me, and the traffic light turned yellow. I gave it the gas and scooted through the intersection just in time. I can still remember her looking over at me and in perfect innocence and sincerity asking me, “Daddy, does yellow mean speed up?” I wish my wife hadn’t taught her the colors so soon. I had some explaining to do.
The truth is, I just don’t like to wait. I imagine you are the same way—although I hope you are a better example. But I must tell you, few things are more challenging to me than having to wait on God. How about you?
One author challenged my thinking when he wrote, “[How long we] wait is not as important as what we’re doing while we wait . . . Give us something to do while we wait, and the wait becomes [bearable].”
And that is exactly what David has in mind as he writes here in Psalm 27 on the subject of waiting on God. The theme of this psalm is actually in the last verse, where David writes, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (verse 14).
Wait for the Lord, but don’t just sit there and wait. David gives us some good things to do while we wait.
First, start reminding yourself of the truths you already know. That’s what David does here in verse 1, when he writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” In other words, “I’m going to remind myself that the God who saved me isn’t going to abandon me; He is the source of my light and my salvation.”
As David reminds himself of who God is, he is moved to worship the Lord. He says in verse 6, “I will sing and make melody to the Lord.”
In other words, “It’s dark all around me, but I’m going to sing to Him: my light and my salvation.” Maybe that is why the Lord sometimes has us wait—to remind us of who He is and what He has done. That has a way of infusing courage into our hearts as we wait for whatever He is going to do next.
Here’s a second thing we can do: remain open to new truths you haven’t yet learned. David writes in verse 11, “Teach me your way, O Lord.”
David is saying, “Lord, I’m willing to sign up for some new course in life.” By the way, when you are waiting on God, He has essentially enrolled you in some new faith-building course. You can’t audit the course; you have to do all the homework.
Are you willing to take a seat in that classroom God has assigned for you today? David writes, “Teach me your way, O Lord.” In other words, “Don’t let me stay ignorant in my way of thinking—my way of living. Teach me Your way, Lord.”
He writes further here in verse 11, “Lead me on a level path.” David is not praying, “Lord, lead me on an easy path.” His prayer is, “Lead me on a level path—that is, a path I can walk, as You lead me.”
Now in Psalm 28 David writes with a heart of confidence and hope. He sings here in verses 6-7:
Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped.
David now prays for his people in verse 9: “Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” What a great example this is of caring about others even when you have plenty to be concerned about yourself.
This reminds me of the apostle Paul, who wrote:
[God] comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
(2 Corinthians 1:4)
Hope and comfort are things God intends for us to constantly give away.
Unless you are living in a bubble, your life is touching others. You have other people in the traffic pattern of your life—a spouse, children, neighbors, friends, coworkers—who have been impacted by some challenge in life.
Well, share what you have learned in class, where the Lord taught you His ways and gave your heart courage. Don’t keep what you have learned all to yourself. This is the one time you can actually let somebody copy your answers on a test—that test you have had in life. Share your answers with others.
Now Psalm 29 takes us into a scene where David is evidently witnessing a storm rising over the Mediterranean Sea and then moving eastward and over the mountains and on south to the wilderness. On a clear day in Israel, you can stand on a mountain as I have and see for miles around.
David is perched somewhere, and he is watching this storm. He writes in verse 3, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters.” He’s referring to thunder crashing out over the Mediterranean Sea.
By the way, the pagan nations around him believed that Baal was the god of thunder—the god who controlled the storms. But David says here, “No, that’s the Creator’s voice; He is the one in control of every storm in life.”
David even writes in verse 5, “The voice of the Lord breaks . . . the cedars of Lebanon.” Storms can actually topple the trees in Lebanon. And these cedar trees in Lebanon grew 100 feet tall and six feet in diameter. Yet, the power of God, David writes, can treat these trees as if they were toothpicks in a jar!
As this storm moves off into the wilderness, and David watches the skies pour down rain, he is reminded that God was in control of the greatest flood of water to ever hit Planet Earth. He writes here in verse 10, “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.”
This Hebrew word here for flood is rare. In fact, the only other time in all the Old Testament the word appears is in the Genesis account of the flood that covered the earth. David is saying that if the Lord was in control of that massive, global storm, He is powerful enough to manage whatever storm has entered your life today.
Maybe right now you are experiencing a downpour. It may be just a quick shower and the sun will be out fairly soon. But it could be that it’s been raining for days, the water is rising, and there is no sign of it letting up; it is one thunder crash after another.
Make sure, beloved, that none of this is wasted time in your life. Be teachable and trusting as God navigates your little ark through the flood of water.
David has weathered plenty of storms himself, and he writes here as a veteran storm survivor.
David tells us that courage and hope will grow when we remind ourselves of what we already know is true about God.
And then let’s learn all over again, if need be, that God is never in a hurry. He doesn’t run yellow lights. He doesn’t need to, and that’s because He is always on time. And He will be on time for you.
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