Volume. XXIX, No. 25
Sunday, 21 December 2014


From the Pastors Heart: Wait on God (Part 15)


Psalm 40:1-3, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

 

I looked in an English Dictionary to find the definitions of wait. The first four definitions of wait from 1828 Noah Webster’s English Dictionary are as follows: (1) “To stay or rest in expectation; to stop or remain stationary, till the arrival of some person or event”; (2) “To stay proceedings, or suspend any business, in expectation of some person, event, or the arrival of some hour”; (3) “To rest in expectation and patience”; and (4) “To stay; not to depart.”  I also looked up another word, “patiently” which is defined as (1) “With calm and constant diligence” and (2) “Without agitation, uneasiness or discontent.” These two words appear side by side in verse 1. The meanings and combinations of these two words are significant to understand this psalm. Before we observe the whole psalm and its context, we may begin with some preliminary observations. First, its Hebrew construction requires our attention. If I describe its construction according to Hebrew grammar, then I must say that it has a combination of an infinitive and a verb. In this case, both words are from the same Hebrew word. In other words, these two Hebrew words share the same root word and appear in two different forms side by side.  The significance of this particular combination is that the first word (infinitive) emphasizes the force of the second word (verb) in the context. Whatever the second word (verb) asserts, the certainty of this word is reinforced by the first word (infinitive). Now we go back to ordinary meaning of all of these by applying the rule to the context in verse 1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” The verb is “waited,” and the infinitive is “patiently.”  It may sound strange to your mind. How could it be possible that “wait” and “patiently” are coming from the same word? However, it is true. This Hebrew construction is to reflect the certainty or affirmation of the fact or state of waiting.  We must be able to feel the force in this waiting. It is not just a casual or ordinary waiting, but waiting with all seriousness, which is translated as in verse 1, “wait patiently.” Therefore, what we need to know is that waiting for God in this context is truly a waiting with intensity. This waiting is real, and there is a nuance of intensification of waiting. Second, we may learn a few lessons from English definitions of both words. We cannot but notice that there is a sense of staying, remaining, or resting in certain state of mind. There are no ebbs but constant staying, which is waiting in this case. This waiting is not mindless or a vain thought but hopeful and expectant.  This waiting has its purpose, goal, aim, or direction. Therefore, there is a definiteness of this waiting. Interestingly, the psalmist is talking about the intensity and certainty of waiting, but not about the duration of waiting. Instead, he expresses the positive side of his waiting, which will result in satisfied ends. The state of mind is calm and quiet, despite the necessity of waiting. Third, waiting in this psalm goes with an attitude of hope. It is not just a wishful thinking but a strong expectation that what he is waiting for is going to happen. This sort of waiting cannot be separated from the exercise and reality of faith. The waiting has a firm ground in his faith in the unmovable and unchangeable God. Waiting without hope bring us only despair but with hope, contentment and even joy. 

 

Having seen a few implications and meanings from the dictionary and grammatical meanings, we need to see a bit of background of the psalmist’s waiting.  First, we need to see it through the life of David.  The heading of the psalm testifies of Davidic authorship.  He was an outlaw during Saul’s reign and had to flee from place to place. He was falsely accused and wrongfully targeted by his king. His personal and family life was abruptly shattered, and he had to find refuges in different places including a land of his enemies. David’s waiting came out of such desperations.  Second, David was in obvious troubles.  He was in an horrible pit and miry clay. In particular, verse 12 says, “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.” It is interesting to see that David talked about evils and his iniquities.  It is probably that he was thinking about his afflictions and adversities as consequences of his sins. Like most of us, in times of troubles, he was under the conviction of sins. There were many enemies who were trying to hurt him and to kill him as he said in verse 14, “Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.” Third, we must not ignore one more important aspect of his waiting.  David was constantly crying to and hoping for God to help and deliver him. On the one hand, he believed that the Lord was going to deliver him. Thus, he began his psalm with a praise to God who delivered him in verses 1-3, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” At the same time, he was pleading to God for help in verse 13, “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.” We can imagine that his faith told him that the Lord would help him and he accepted it by faith.  In the meanwhile, the present reality was that he needed help had not come yet and he was still in troubles. Fourth, in such difficult times, he was characterized by his faith and faithfulness. He declared in verse 4a, “Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.” Verses 9-10 say, “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. 

 

A patient waiting is so foreign to our nature, natural expectation, or even self-confidence. We wish to see what we desire happen right now at our own disposals.  However, Psalm 40:1-3 teaches us that patient waiting and genuine faith are leaning to each other’s shoulder.  Both are indispensable to our Spirit-filled life as we walk in the light and the truth. David spoke of such matters from his own experiences. There are a few lessons we must learn. First, the believers of God may experience sufferings. In fact, Andrew Murray says that patience comes from the Latin word for “suffering.” Therefore, we ought not to consider suffering as a strange foe (1 Peter 1:6-7). Second, patient waiting in times of afflictions is a token of our submission to the providential and mysterious will of God. Such submissiveness will calm our troubled souls despite the roaring and terrifying sounds from the troubled sea. Third, patient waiting is a direct confession that we are helpless without the help of God. It includes our humble spirit and our acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over us. Fourth, patient waiting is also a sign of God’s grace to us. Under the pressures of life and complicated events in life circumstances, when we do not have any wisdom and strength to overcome them and we recognize our inability to bring solutions and rescues upon us, where can we find to strength to patiently wait upon the Lord for His deliverance? David prayed in verse 17, But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.”  The strength we have in order to patiently wait for God is the strength from above.  Therefore, my friends, “Wait only upon the Lord,” always!

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

* Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Volunteer. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Colin Gan.

*Session wishes all worshippers a Blessed & Christ-centred Christmas.

*Christmas gifts (Holy Bible, books, music CDs) & inexpensive cards available at the Church Bookstore.

*Church Service roster for Jan - Mar QTR: please check the roster and let Deaconess Purdee Yeo know of any errors ASAP.

*Reminder: Special Christmas Lunch after service on Christmas Day.

*Adult & Junior RPGs for Jan-Mar QTR available on the literature table. Donation: $1 per copy.

*Please note: Offerings on Christmas Day will be sent to the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions (IBPFM) for staff & missionaries.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Deaconess Joyce Gong; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Per); Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (Mildura/Adl); Bro Lucas Yiew; Sisters Natalie Cheng & Michelle Ee (S’pore), Sis Shiau Chin Chang & family (KL), Lee Lan Chong (Canb), Yan Mae kang (Iluru) & Lydia Tan (Thailand);  & others arriving safely at their destinations.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Christmas concert on 6 Dec.

4. Christmas Carolling last Lord’s Day.

5. Completion of chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau

6. Visitors & new worshippers.

7. 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; Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); 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) & Jason Teng; Sisters Margaret Hooper, Yvone Kam, Myung Ki, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Queenie Lau (Canb), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Margaret Pearson, Christabelle Selvanayagam, Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Weng, Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing) & May Zhang; 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. Special Prayer: Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

5. Cambodia Missions - Rev Moses Hahn & Ministry; Preacher Zhang & Ministry (Sihanoukville).

6. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok - UK visa application & approval.

7. Providence B-P Church (at Mawson Lakes from Jan 2015) - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

8. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

9. Journey mercies: Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family (S’pore); Bro Tony & Sis Sally Law (Syd); Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (NZ); Bros Kevin Low’s family (Adl) & William Song (Melb); Sis Siew Ling Teh & family (Mal); & others travelling during the summer vacation.

10. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

11. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

12. Sis Michelle Ee - God’s guidance & direction; spiritual growth (in S’pore).

13. Comfort in grief & salvation for those who lost loved ones in the Sydney siege last week. Comfort, salvation & healing for those who had been hostages.

14. Believers suffering in Islamic & communist countries.

15. Australia: People to repent & to come to Christ.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063