Volume. XXIX, No. 13
Sunday, 28 September 2014


From The Pastor's Heart: Waiting on God (Part 11)


Psalm 39:7-8, “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.” 

 

Psalm 39 carries beautiful messages about life, faith, prayer, God, and many more.  Before we look into the passage we desire to study, I need to clear at least two points.  The first point is about its authorship.  There are two names mentioned in the heading: Jeduthun and David.  An Old Testament scholar, Dalitzsch, wrote about Jeduthun: “The name of one of David’s three musicians, the third after Asaph and Heman (1 Chronicles 16:41f.; 25:1ff; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 35:15) undoubtedly the same person as Ethan (1 chronicles 15:19), a name which after the appointments at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16) was changed to Jeduthun.”  The heading of the psalm reads, “To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.”  At first we may be confused about its author, whether it was Jeduthun or David.  There is lack of details in the psalm about any specific situation of David.  However, we subscribe to the Davidic authorship as the heading indicates.  The second point is that the psalmist is stirred up so much so that he cannot keep silence any more.  However, he is resolved not to sin with his tongue.  Having looked around while in afflictions, his conclusion is there is nothing he can rely on or hope in this world but God.  Thus, there is a sense of hopelessness humanly speaking.  He waits for God because he finds hope only in God. 

 

First, the psalmist plainly tells and confesses that he is in afflictions.  There are plenty of indications in the psalm that he is afflicted.  He says that the wicked are before him in verse 1.  The foolish may mock him in verse 8.  His sorrow is stirred in verse 2.  This particular expression probably means that his sorrows are increased or grow worse.  Therefore, his sorrows continually grow and are increased.  It seems that his sorrows do not originate only from external factors like wicked people.  There are indications of his internal factors that have caused him to be grieved.  He is asking the Lord to deliver him from his transgressions in verse 8.  There is also a hint that he is in trouble with God in verse 11, which says, “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity.  It is more than probable that the person who is being corrected for iniquity is the psalmist himself.  Then, it leads us to consider that his afflictions are consequences of his offences against God.  He says in verse 8a, “Deliver me from all my transgressions.”  Verse 12 talks about his distance from God in terms of his fellowship with Him: “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.”  He is eager to be restored and cries to God in tears.  Verse 13 describes the heaviness of his heart by saying, “O spare me.”  It literally means “look or gaze away from me.”  He cannot bear the watchful eyes of the Lord.  The reason for asking the Lord to look away from him is because he desires to be restored or strengthened again.  Some translations say to smile again.  It probably shows his emotional state.  All of these observations help us see the life of God’s people realistically, not just ideally.  The psalmist confessions give us realistic view of Christian life.  What I mean is as follows:

 

·        It is possible that Christians are afflicted.  Salvation does not remove toils and suffering away from them in this life. 

·        It is possible that Christian afflictions bring reproaches from the ungodly.  Of course, in this case, afflictions are caused by the believers’ wrongdoings. 

·        It is possible that Christians in affliction feel a distance from God.  The psalmist feels that he is a stranger with God.  It means that it is possible for the afflicted believers not to have joy and happiness.  They feel that they are far away from the presence of and fellowship with God. 

·        It is possible that Christians are not perfect people; thus they may fall into sin, which results in God’s chastisement.  Therefore, they must walk circumspectly. 

·        It is possible that during the times of afflictions Christians may feel there is neither hope nor help from the world. 

 

Second, the psalmist expresses his feelings and emotions in response to the situation.  The first reaction is that he will be careful on his ways.  Verse 1 says that he will take heed to his ways.  It means that he will guard or watch his ways carefully.  Especially, he is resolved to be careful with his words.  He does not want to sin with his tongue.  It is easy to show our follies with foolish words in times of afflictions.  Job’s wife was not an exception.  However, the Bible testifies of Job’s integrity in Job 2:10, “But he [Job] said unto her [his wife], Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”  The second response was to keep silence as in verse 2a, which says, “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good . . . .  There are three different Hebrew words employed, and all of them refer to being silent one way or another.  The third response comes from breaking his own resolution in verse 3, “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.”  His mind becomes inflamed more and more and cannot stand his own silence any more.  His internal pressure comes to a boiling point and cannot be hidden any longer.  The fourth response is a thought of the vanity of life.  He begins to think of his end as in verse 4, “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.”  This must be one of the most common reactions to difficult situations.  The fifth response is that he loses any worthiness to trust in man as in verse 6, “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.”  The sixth response is to see the hands of God in all things as in verse 9-10, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. 10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.  The seventh response is to know who he is and how small he is as in verse 11, “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity.”  The eighth response is to cry out to God for His help as in verses 12-13, “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. 13 O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.  We must not forget that it is a prayer.  Yes, where everything becomes dark, there is a light coming from the privileges of prayer. 

 

Third, when everything appears to be too difficult to bear, and self-evaluation of the situation is very negative, and there is no one in sight who may be able to offer helps, even a believer of Jesus Christ may become despondent.  In fact, precisely that was the feeling of the psalmist.  In such a situation, what can he do?  He says in verse 7, “And now, Lord, what wait I for?  My hope is in thee.  There is an anchor we can rely on at any time in any situation.  This very assurance comes forth in a form of a question, “What wait I for?”  The concise and precise answer is, “My hope is in thee.”  All lonely, despondent, and afflicted souls must wait for God, because only in God we have our hope.  “Wait for Him, my soul!”

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Volunteer. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Boong Atijatuporn.

*Warm Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Hyun Choi.

*Congratulations to Bro Daniel and Sis Clara Ki on the blessing of their marriage yesterday.

*AFG - YAF Retreat Address: Rymill Conference Centre, Spring Gully Road, Piccadilly.

*No Joy & Maranatha Neighbourhood Bible Study Group meetings next Saturday; & no Basic Bible Knowledge & Adult Sunday School Classes next Lord’s Day.

*Junior/Adult RPGs, & Daily Manna for next QTR available on literature table. Donation $1 per copy.

*Catered Fellowship Lunch: Adult $7, Pensioner/student/unemployed: $5. Child under 5 years FREE.

*Please note: Summer daylight saving starts next Lord’s Day at 2 am. Please advance your clock by 1 hour.

*Parents who want their children baptised please inform Elder Michael D Lee by latest next Lord’s Day.

 

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Rev Hyun Choi; Sis Carol Sim;  family members, relatives & friends of wedding party (Adl); Bro Ricky & Sis Lucy Kim & Lara (Seoul); Sis Angie Yuen (Adl); & others travelling.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

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

5. Holy Matrimony of Bro Daniel & Sis Clara Ki.

 

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; 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), Margaret Pearson, 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. God’s comfort in their grief: Sis Margaret Pearson; Bro Richard & Sis Margaret Pearson & family.

3. Post-op recovery: Bro Jason Teng & Sis Myung Ki

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

5. Chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau (Canberra).

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

7. Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions & Presbyterian Missionary Union: board members & missionaries.

8. Cambodia Missions - Bro John Saray & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro Chan Thon & Ministry (Siem Reap); Bro Thy Chhay & Ministry (Kratie).

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 & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

12. Journey mercies: Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Bro Vincent & Sis Carol Sim (S’pore); Bro Daniel & Sis Clara Ki (S’pore/Adl);  family members, relatives & friends of Ki & Sim families (S’pore); Rev Mark Chen (Adl); Rev Hyun Choi (S Korea); Sisters Mary Ting & Peng Ha Yeo (Mal/Taiwan); & others travelling.

13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

14. AFG - YAF Retreat - Speaker: Rev Mark Chen; organizers & participants.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063