Volume. XXIX, No. 10
Sunday, 07 September 2014


From the Pastor's Heart: Waiting on God (Part 8)


Psalm 27:13-14, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” 

 

Having read Psalm 27, I could not erase a very strong impression in my heart that this psalm is full of contrasts including desperation and hope, sorrow and joy, and depression and confidence.  There are lots of up-moments and also many down-moments.  Two extreme experiences in the psalmist’ life are mentioned.  It is amazing to see that such contrasts are interwoven and intertwined masterfully as a unit.  The same situation is reflected in two opposite outbursts – anxiety and confidence. 

 

Let me begin with the psalmist’s down-moment experiences.  He had enemies, rather wicked foes, who tried to eat him up (verse 2).  They were not small in number, but a host of people came to war against him in verse 3.  He had troubles in verse 5.  False witnesses rose up against him in verse 12.  He could not but be fainted as in verse 13.  Against all the odds in life, he boldly demonstrates a totally opposite mood throughout the psalm.  Verse 1 is a good example: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  He said this as if he was not afraid of the situation.  He said that his enemies stumbled and fell in verse 2.  He declared his boldness in verse 3: “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”  He described his experience in such a calm and soothing way in verse 5: “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”  In times of troubles, if the Lord had hidden him, what could be a trouble to him?  Thus, he said in verse 6 that he would be lifted up.  So far, we have seen two opposite moods in the mind of the psalmist.  On the one hand, he was desperate because of overwhelming persecutions from his enemies, but on the other hand, he was very confident as if there was no reason to fear anything. 

 

In between such fluctuations (contrasted states of mind), we see the third state of his mind.  Psalm 27:7-9, “Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. 9 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.”  He cried to the Lord and prayed.  He even expressed his desire to be in the house of the Lord in verse 4: “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”  I am sure that he was pursuing the path of righteousness and the joy of the Lord before His presence.  In addition to such a thought, probably it is not too much to say that he did not have any other way to turn to in times of troubles.  The thought of God gave him hope and confidence.  In fact, when he said that he was confident in verse 3, he did not say in what he was confident.  One thing is for sure; He could not be confident in himself, because he was hotly pursued by his enemies.  The Hebrew word for being confident in verse 3 also means to trust.  There was something that bridged him from being desperate to being hopeful.  The answer is found in verse 1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  The reason that he was able to encourage himself not to be a prey to negative circumstances and thoughts was that he had trusted in the Lord.  The Lord was the strength of his life.  He cried at times.  He struggled at times, too.  At times he even felt that the Lord was hiding His face from him and thus he pleaded with the Lord not to leave him and not to forsake him in verse 9.  H. C. Leupold aptly explains the psalmist’s inner thoughts in his commentary on Psalms as following: “Faith grows timid and fearful.  Doubts assail the writer: Will God hear him?  So he pleads that God may not turn His face away, not turn His servant away in anger.  His past experience affords him a footing: Thou hast been my help.  Then follows the moving plea: ‘leave [thrust] me not [aside], neither forsake me, O God of my salvation,’ which means, O God, who hast been wont to save me.  Whether all this argues for a sense of guilt on the writer’s part or merely reflects the uncertainty which men feel in time of trouble cannot be easily determined.” 

 

Then, we come to verses 13 and 14: “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”  “Wait on the Lord” is the solution or answer to his quest in times of troubles.  Let us consider a few lessons from these two verses.  First, it is not strange to find the believers in weariness.  Though it sounds a very simple statement, many believers have not completely understood it yet.  Thus, they have an idea that they should not feel any weariness, and weariness is only a sign of God’s punishment or their lack of faith.  However, we should know that there are times when even the believers of Jesus Christ feel weakened and tired due to trials, pain, and suffering in life.  Christian life is not of constant upbeats and hypes for 24/7.  The psalmist said that he had fainted.  His situation was so bad that he felt nearly hopeless, if he had not trusted in the Lord.  Second, the psalmist paid attention to the goodness of the Lord in such difficult times.  He had a right perspective at the face of trials.  While most people are complaining about God and doubting especially about His goodness, he was meditating on the goodness of the Lord, without which he could not keep himself in hope.  Third, he kept waiting on God.  There are two important lessons we must not forget.  (1) One of the secrets that we will not fall into despair is to believe and know that our faith in God will not be in vain.  The psalmist looked upon Him constantly by faith.  (2) The despondent believers must believe in God in times of troubles.  That is faith after all.  Fourth, he persuaded himself to take courage, because the Lord would strengthen him.  We find the expression, “be of good courage,” throughout the Scriptures.  It was often used for God’s people before ferocious wars.  It is almost like a war cry.  Strong enemies are everywhere, and our hearts are fainted.  However, we must let our hearts rise up and take courage.  Believe in God and wait on Him.  Fifth, “wait on God” must be meditated on continually and we must understand what it means.  The most important element in waiting on God is that we are waiting on God, not anything else.  It means that we ought to believe in God, and there is something more than faith, which is to fellowship with Him.  1 John 1:3 says, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”  We are so little accustomed to fellowship with Him.  In this fellowship, we will experience at times that God hides Himself from us.  That what the psalmist said in his prayer.  We may have fears that God does not see and hear us, or our faith is too small to accomplish anything, or our desire to see how the Lord will lead us into our future is weak.  Despite all these challenges, there is one voice from heaven, “wait on the Lord.”   Apart from such hope and prayer, we do not have any other hope and confidence.  You, discouraged souls, keep waiting on God even today!

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor

 

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Edwin D’Mello. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Phil Surman.

*Homiletics Class: All worshippers are encouraged to attend.

*Working Bee this month will be held on the third Saturday, 21 Sept.

*Latest Bible Witness magazines available. Please help yourself to a copy.

*All worshippers are encouraged to attend Bible study groups & fellowship activities.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

 

1. Journey mercies: Bro Tien & Sis Stephanie Lee & family (Melb/Adl); Bro Seng & Sis Arum Ma & family (Melb); Bros Houston Li (Mt Gambier/Adl), Chee Wee Tan (Barcelona), Jason Teng (Adl) & Lucas Yiew (Syd); Sisters Clara Sim (Adl) & Sally Teng (Per); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations. 

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

 

Prayer Items

 

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.

2. Eye surgery on Wednesday: Bro Jason Teng.

3. Post-op recovery: Sis Myung Ki.

4. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis WolHee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

5. God’s comfort in grief: The Chia family & Rudolf family.

6. Chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau (Canberra).

7. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

8. Cambodia Missions - Rev Srun Chivan & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).

9. New Life BPC (London) - Strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok.

10. Providence B-P Church, Valley View - Bro David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

11. Youth Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

12. Journey mercies: Bro Seng & Sis Arum Ma & family; Bros Houston Li, Joseph Selvanayagam, Chee Wee Tan & Lucas Yiew; Sis Sally Teng (Adl) & others travelling.

13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

14. Postnatal recovery: Sis Tabitha Tan; good health & development of baby Joel. Sis Heng Yee Chang; good health & development of baby Pinn Hsien.

15. Christians under severe persecution & expulsion in war-torn Syria & Iraq. Salvation of Moslems.

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063