I waited patiently for the Lord...
Psalm 40:1-10 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.
4 How blessed is
the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.
6 Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8 I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
The psalmist says: I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. There is a proverbial phrase which says: patience is a virtue. Certainly it is not a virtue we see often or well displayed in our current culture and society. We tend toward the desire for instant gratification. We are impatience when driving, impatient when waiting for the microwave to heat our meal in minutes rather than an hour. We are impatient when we wait for our computer to bring us information in seconds which formerly required hours of research. We are impatient with job advancement, wanting to be at the top without putting in the time and effort required to get there. In most of these things our lack of patience, as a society probably will not improve. But for Christians, for God’s people it is vital that we learn and practice patience.
Patience is mentioned frequently in scripture. 1 Corinthians 13 says: Love is patient, love is kind… So patience is an element or a characteristic of love. In Galatians 5:22-23 it says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… So patience is vital not only for our own lives but it is an important attribute, evidence, fruit of a spirit filled, spirit led life. Patience affect the testimony we have of Christ.
But what’s in it for us? How are we personally benefitted by patience? Again the psalmist says: I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. When we cry out, when we pray to the Lord, He does hear our cry. Sometimes though there is a delay in the answer. We must wait patiently. In Daniel 10:11-14, Daniel was praying for the nation of Israel who were exiled. An angel of the Lord comes with the answer saying: “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” There can be unseen hindrances, spiritual battles which are going on behind the scenes as we wait for our answer and our deliverance. James 5:16 says: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. When our prayers seem to be unanswered, it is not a time to become impatient. Rather, we should become even more fervent in our praying. The first part of James 5:16 holds another key element of our fervent prayer. It says: pray for one another, that you may be healed. Daniel’s answer was held up in a spiritual battle. Sometimes the answer we seek is tied to the answer of someone else’s need. When we pray fervently for a situation, we should yield to the Holy Spirit, seeking not only what we want, but what God wants in the situation. The release of someone else’s blessing may lead to our own answer.
There are times though that our patience may be necessary for other reasons. James 1:2-8 says: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. God may be working in us to “perfect” us, to make us complete, lacking in nothing. Hebrews 6:11-12 says: we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. The promises of God, while they “are yes and amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20) ours without question, sometimes require our faith to grow, they require us to endure. James says that he who doubts should not expect to receive anything from God. Jesus Himself says: Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. (Mark 11:24) This isn’t like a magic genie, a prayer in faith will also be a prayer according to God’s will, but we must pray in faith, believing.
While we may be impatient, locked into this finite time we live in, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we may think we need our answer right now. God is not concerned with nor is He locked in to finite time. God is eternal and He is more concerned with our eternal existence than with our immediate gratification. 2 Peter 3:8 says: But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. God has all the time in the world and then some. We too need to view things from His perspective. Colossians 3:1-4 says: Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Still the psalmist says: And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. His prayer was answered. As the verse in Hebrews 6:11-12 says we inherit the promises through patience and endurance. Jesus says: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. We are promised not only a future, eternal life with God and Christ, we are also promised an abundant life here and now. We are promised a life of supply, protection and blessing. Philippians 4:19 says: my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
There is yet one more
key to the answer to our prayer, to our patient waiting for God. The psalmist says: He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord. How blessed is the man
who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. As we patiently and fervently wait for the answer to our prayer, we should wait with a heart of thanksgiving and praise. The many blessings we have already received are too numerous to count. So like the psalmist, we should sing a song of praise to God.
May our patient and fervent prayer be like the psalmist who says:
I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation. Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. Amen