Waiting patiently (40:1) — Patiently? We all know that we have to sometimes wait for God to act; we’ve all endured. But patiently? Suffering is hard. Suffering for a length of time is harder. Suffering for an indefinite period of time is hardest of all. And to do so — praying and “playing by the rules” — waiting patiently for the LORD to act just adds to the degree of difficulty. Boy, I wish I had an easy 1-2-3 formula for how you do that, but reality is different. It’s a journey of faith, faithfulness, courage, and regular remembering of how God has “come through”.
The patience part is really quite important, you know. Without it we are tempted and often do decide to take matters into our own hands: vengeance, manipulation, cheating, lying, violence, the world’s way, etc. Many a Christian life has been thrown way off course by impatience.
New covenant (40:6-8) — Although there are other Old Testament passages that are clearer, e.g.,
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33, NAS95.
…the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews cites Psalms 40:6-8 as a prophecy for God’s planned change of covenant. The thrust of it is that the expected blood sacrifices of the Mosaic covenant were not really what God was desiring, but rather a delight to do God’s will within the heart — thus a change of covenant. Is there meaning here for us? Real religion is never about just hitting the right marks, but rather a matter of obedience from the heart.
Even my close friend (41:9) — In Psalm 41 the psalmist complains about his enemies. But worst of all his complaints is the betrayal he feels at unfaithfulness from a close friend. Such disloyalty adds a stinging insult to a deep injury. And it is this passage that is mentioned later in Matt. 26:23 in Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. There was nothing that Jesus didn’t suffer while a man on earth — yet without sin. Here’s a truth to hold onto and turn over in our minds, instead of making excuses for ourselves about why Jesus didn’t sin — He was God, He wasn’t tempted with MY situation, etc. — let’s just confess that everything we face, Jesus faced and lived perfectly. Let’s live up to His standard without the excuses.
Do you miss it, when you miss? (Psalm 42) — David (the ascribed psalmist here) likely wrote this while an outlaw in Saul’s kingship, when David could no longer go to the Tabernacle of of worship. Instead of using his outlaw status as an excuse to not worshipping, he pants for the worship of the Lord. Here’s a tough one for modern day TV spectators, summer beach visitors, Sunday morning sleeper-inners, baseball game attendees. and a number of us who are a little lackadaisical about our attendance — do you miss worship, when you miss? Honestly? You know, what you miss doing you make efforts to come to next time, and attendance isn’t a chore it’s a privilege! And what does that say about one’s love, commitment, dedication, discipleship, and Christianity.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.