A very good morning to you my precious friends.
Psalm 33:20-21 says “We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. “
Have you ever noticed that there’s a lot of waiting in the Bible?
Abraham waited for an heir. Hannah waited for a child. King David waited for help. Israel waited for deliverance. But nobody likes to wait! As human beings, we like things to happen fast. Today is better than tomorrow. So it’s no surprise that some people in the Bible ran into trouble while they were waiting. Their waiting provided the perfect opportunity for their wandering. Israel, fresh out of Egypt, is only one example. They had just seen the mighty hand of their Deliverer, experienced His gracious provision, and been blessed by His faithfulness. And yet, in a moment of waiting, they quickly wandered from God.
In Exodus 32:8, we read, “They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf.”
I can’t help but be struck by that phrase, “quick to turn away.” When God seemed slow to answer, they were quick to turn away.
How easily we can become discouraged, resentful, forgetful, impatient, and even disobedient when we’re waiting on God. Maybe you’re waiting for God’s provision. Perhaps you are waiting for Him to right a wrong. Or maybe you are waiting for God to fulfill a promise. Regardless of your waiting, don’t let it become an opportunity to wander. Be careful of being “quick to turn away.” Wait for Him in hope. Turn to Him in trust. God never wastes our waiting.
In what situation are you waiting on God right now? What might your children be learning about waiting from your example?
How do you “wait in hope”?
Psalm 33 was written to those addressed as “righteous ones” and “the upright”.
It is written to those who know God personally and who are seeking to please Him by living obedient lives. But even these people need to be exhorted to “sing for joy in the Lord” (verse 1), to “give thanks to the Lord” and “sing praises to Him” (verse 2). The psalm tells us that…The key to a thankful, worshipping heart is to rely completely on the Lord.
The psalmist says in verse 13 that the Lord sees everyone on earth, but in verse 18 he states that the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him. This means that God looks with favour on those who fear Him and trust in Him to deliver them from overwhelming situations. These people are not described as being strong and self-sufficient, they are in grave difficulty. They are facing death and famine. People who learn to be thankful must first learn to trust in God. And people who learn to trust in God must at some point be stripped of every human prop so that they look to God alone for deliverance.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 says “we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.”
The psalms, which emphasize praise and thanksgiving, also emphasize trust. The Hebrew word for “trust” occurs more frequently in the Psalms than in any other place. Our trust must be in God alone. The beginning of Psalm 33 reminds us that complete trust in the Lord results in a thankful, worshipping heart.
Thankfulness and worship are bound up with trust the Lord. When we have no human means of escape and we cry out to God as our only hope and He delivers us, our heart overflows in thankfulness and praise to Him.
The Psalmist calls for exuberant praise. Verses 1-3 says “Sing for joy in the Lord… Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skilfully with a shout of joy.”
The secret to heartfelt praise and thanksgiving is to recognize that we were in a desperate situation. We could not save ourselves from God’s righteous judgement. We cried to the God who spoke the universe into existence, the God who sent His Son, to save us by His grace. Now that we have experienced His great love and grace, we delight in Him and His great salvation and we can’t help but sing for joy!
We live in uncertain times. Who would have thought that we would have been in lockdown with Covid-19 at the beginning of the year? We might ask ourselves if things will ever get back to normal. Where is our world headed? In 2018 our dams were at their lowest levels, but look at them now. Overflowing. Look at the recent earthquake 1922 km’s from our shores, is it a warning of something worse to come? Economically things aren’t looking up for South Africa. Our government wants us to live on borrowed money. But aren’t you excited that on Sunday we will be meeting together as a congregation for the first time in over six months? Our Father wants us to open our eyes and raise them to see the big picture. Stop looking at 2020. Look back, all the way back to when it all began. Look forward, all the way forward to how it will all end. And take careful note of what is going on in the biggest picture of things between those two: between the beginning and the end. That’s what Psalm 33 does. It’s a psalm that praises God, who is above all and overall. He is the God whom you can trust. “The word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.” He does as He promises. His word is powerful and worthy of all praise.
There is a story of a young man, who was at sea in a mighty raging storm. All the passengers were at their wits' end for fear, but only he was merry. When he was asked the reason of his happiness, he answered, That the pilot of the ship was his father, and he knew his father would have a care of him. The great and wise God, who is our Father, has from all eternity decreed what shall be the issue of all wars, what the event of all troubles; He is our pilot, He sits at the stern; and though the ship of the church or state is in a sinking condition, yet be of good comfort, our Pilot will care for us.
God is the One who makes sure the things get done that we cannot do on our own. When God made Adam, He determined that Adam needed someone to help him be the image of God. How was Adam to reflect God’s love and loyalty when he was alone, with no one of his own sort to love and be loyal to? And if man could not love and be loyal, how was the earth ever going to be filled with humans? That’s why God created Eve as a help to Adam. Eve was created so that the things which Adam could not do on his own would happen. In a similar way God is a help to mankind. There are so many things we cannot do ourselves. We need help. We humans need help in so many ways. Just look at our world. Just look at our lives. Just look at how much is beyond our control. If God were not leading the way we’d get hopelessly lost in the mountain range of life. We’d perish of exposure, of hypothermia, of dehydration, of hunger. People let you down. People break promises.
And this world is so unpredictable. But our help, fellow believer, is in the Name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth!
So my brothers and sisters, how good are you at waiting? As believers we are challenged to watch, and wait, for we know not when our Lord will return. I often react just as the Israelites did and I get tired and discouraged and wander around close to doing something foolish. I am so weak, but can say “Praise be to our God and Saviour”
Let us pray
Father, help me to wait in hope. Guard my heart against wandering, doubt, or resentment. Help me trust You and wait patiently for You. We want to learn to wait in hope. I know that You are faithful, good, and present, even in the waiting. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Much love and blessings to you my friends from Maurice and Margaret.