King David is the writer of this Psalm, which was literally designed to be sung in the context of “public worship”. Those who would sing this song in public worship knew that this song was birthed out of a difficult experience for David – for the writer of this Psalm knew trouble. The writer of this Psalm knew great trails and great tribulation. But his response to what he has gone through is, “I waited patiently for the Lord”.
The reason one would know that this Psalm was of a difficult time for David is because of the words we see in Verse 2. Words like “horrible pit” and “miry clay” which is likened unto, the “place of the dead”. Some scholars suggest that David had been sick and near death when he wrote this Psalm. However, the text does not say this Psalm comes as a result of sickness, but it could be very possible that the condition of this Psalm was very much a “near-death experience”. Maybe it was when he was working at the palace, not as a king, but as a musician and even though he blessed King Saul – King Saul was trying to kill him literally. Maybe it was when David was on the run as a fugitive trying to get out of Israel because King Saul again was trying to take his life. Maybe this was when David’s seven-day-old baby died, maybe this felt like death to him. Maybe this came out of the experience of David’s daughter being raped by her own brother. Maybe this was when David’s son Absalom was coming after him, seeking to kill him so that he could become the King of Israel. I honestly don’t know what it was but David went through one trial after another – still his response to his difficulty was this; “I waited patiently for the Lord!”
One scholar suggested that we have to look at the adjectives in this text. If we look at the adjectives in the text it will give us a description as to what King David was up against. Adjectives like, “horrible”, like “desolate”, like “miry”. Looking at these adjectives should give us a better clue as to what David was going through.
Now I think it’s important for us to be able to describe the things that we are up against in our lives – without also looking at the verbs. What are the verbs in the text? “Bringing up”, “brought out”, “set my feet”, “He established my goings”. When you take the verbs and put them with the adjectives, you discover that God can make a way out of no way!
Since we are looking at adjectives and verbs, we might as well check out the subject in the verses. “He inclined unto me, He brought me up, He took me out, He set my feet, and He established my going.” The HE is the Lord, the covenant maker, and covenant-keeping God. He is the one who makes promises and keeps them. “I can wait patiently for the Lord because when he makes a promise, he delivers according to the promise. No matter how descriptively – negative my situation is, God will show up with the right verb to pull me out of what I find myself faced with. David said, “I waited patiently for the Lord” – this is how you deal with horrible pits. This is how you deal with getting stuck in the mud. This is what you do when you are in over your head. David said when I was in a pit when I was stuck in the mud when I was in over my head – “I waited patiently for the Lord”.
Now when you do the study on the words, “patiently” and “waited”, you will discover that they are the same words in Hebrew. In other words, all David is doing is saying the same thing twice. Patiently and waiting are the same word in our text, but is translated as two different event words. The correct translation would be “I waited and waited on the Lord”. The definition means, “I gather together” – which would be “I gather together and gather together.” Yes… I was near unto death, but I held it together. I did not fall apart inside when stuff was falling apart outside. I gather together and gather together – I waited and waited – I waited patiently for the Lord. I need to tell all of us that we need to wait! And we all need to be waiting on the Lord! The problem is that we don’t wait patiently.
Waiting Patiently on the Lord
So now let me ask you. Are you waiting patiently?
Are you still holding it together while you’re waiting on God to show up in your situation?
Many of us are not waiting, but I need to inform you that there are different ways to wait. All of us are not waiting patiently – some of us are waiting grudgingly. Some of us are waiting—complaining. Some of us are waiting—crying. And some of us are waiting—unappreciatively. But David said, “Since I have to wait, I might as well wait patiently on the Lord. The problem is this – we don’t understand the VALUE of waiting.
Notice David did not say, “I am waiting”. He didn’t say, “I will wait”. He said, “I have waited” – which is past-tense. He’s saying, I have already gone through this experience and understand the value of waiting patiently on the Lord. We, however, don’t understand the value of waiting patiently. We want everything right now. Sometimes God doesn’t show up immediately. Sometimes God doesn’t work it out right away. Sometimes God doesn’t do it all at once. Now, I know that’s how we want it, but that’s not always how it is. Sometimes God makes us wait patiently on Him. Here’s why; because He’s still working some other things in our lives. Most of us don’t know the value of waiting! That’s why we drop out of everything, that’s why we quit everything. Most of us quit right before God gets ready to do something. We drop out of school, we quit God-ordained marriages, we drop out of children’s lives; we quit our jobs – all because we couldn’t wait patiently on the Lord to do His thing. We even drop out of the church, because things didn’t go the way you thought they should have gone.
Listen, God’s trying to teach us the value of waiting. Life is not like a grocery store. You can’t just walk into life and get packages that say “Ready to Serve”. There is value in waiting on God. That’s why the Bible says, “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart.” That’s why the Bible says, “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up wings as an eagle, they shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint.” Yes… it gets hard, but you have to keep waiting on the Lord!! Why is it that we celebrate the biblical heroes, but then don’t want to emulate our lives after them? Pastor, what do you mean? Well…
Noah waited 43,800 days before he saw a drop of rain
Abraham waited 100 years before he received the “child of promise” Isaac
Joseph waited 40 years before his dreams became a reality
Moses waited 80 years before he found his purpose and brought deliverance to the children of Israel
Jesus waited 30 years before he started his ministry
We don’t understand the value of waiting. If Noah could wait, if Abraham could wait, if Joseph could wait, if Moses could wait and certainly if Jesus could wait – then you and I can wait patiently on the Lord. The sign of real Christian maturity is not how you shout on Sunday, but its how you deal with the waiting rooms of life! All of us have to face the waiting rooms of life. (Illustration)
Every now and then I need to go to the doctor. I always request that I be his first patient of the day. They always ask that you sign in; so I get there a little early – only to discover that the doctor didn’t just give me the first appointment, but has given five other patients the first appointment too! So I sign my name and now I’m waiting just like everybody else. If I have some reading to catch up on then that’s usually a great time to do it.
The administrator calls out names and it appears that they are calling everybody’s name but mine. Rather than being happy for the person who is on their way to see the doctor; I’m mad and upset. “Why don’t they call my name? I finally had to change my perspective on how I viewed this. Now whenever they call somebody’s name, I get a little more excited – rather than frustrated; because that means that I’m a little closer to getting my name called. And if the doctor is still calling names – that means he’s still seeing patients – he’s still writing prescriptions – all I need to do is keep on waiting; because pretty soon, he’ll be calling my name and I can get the help that I need.
Listen, when God begins to bless other folk and he’s calling their name, and opening doors for them, and giving them their breakthrough and healing them – don’t get mad. All it means is that He is that much closer to calling your name. And if He’s still calling names; that means that He’s still blessing people. It’s almost my turn!!! It’s worth the wait!
Waiting Prayerfully on the Lord
Not only did David wait Patiently, but he also waited Prayerfully. The text says, I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined unto me and heard my cry”. The New Living Translation says, “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” This is an indication that God heard him when he prayed.
Listen, while you are waiting you need to be praying, because; how can God incline His ear unto you if you’re not talking to Him? There is power in prayer. The enemy will try to get you to stop praying while you’re trying to press your way through the difficulties of life.
Now note the text – it say’s “He heard my cry”, which is really an indication of action. He does more than just listen. He actively gets involved in the situation. Pastor, are you sure? God tells Moses, “I have heard the cries of my people and I have come down to rescue them.” When you pray and trust God, God shows up in your life. When we call on Him – He inclines his ear unto us – He hears us. The writer said, “I waited patiently – I waited prayerfully” and finally; “He acted on my behalf”. What did he do?
- He brought me out of a horrible pit. Now I need to tell you that he didn’t do it immediately. He didn’t do it quickly, but the Lord brought me out!
- He got me out of the mud. This is because I kept slipping and sliding back into the stuff that I had no business being in.
- Set my feet on a solid place; and
- He established my goings. He gave me direction and purpose – in order to reach my destination. (Illustration)
Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational speaker, once told the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree. It seems that this tree, when planted, watered, and nurtured for an entire growing season, doesn’t outwardly grow as much as an inch. Then, after the second growing season, a season in which the farmer takes extra care to water, fertilize and care for the bamboo tree, the tree still hasn’t sprouted. So it goes as the sun rises and sets for four solid years. The farmer and his wife have nothing tangible to show for all of their labor trying to grow the tree.
Then, along comes year five.
In the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree seed finally sprouts and the bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet in just one growing g season! Or so it seems…. Did the little tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond?
The answer is, of course, obvious. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew. The same principle is true for people. People, who patiently toil towards worthwhile dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success, while get-rich- quickers and lottery winners usually are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth. Had the Chinese bamboo farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the tree’s growth as surely as a caterpillar is doomed to a life on the ground if it is freed from its struggle inside a cocoon prematurely.
“The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Toiled ever upward through the night.”
One Moore Minute
One Moore Minute – a 40 Day Devotional – explores issues that are deep in nature and yet entrenched in our daily affairs with biblical truths that are both timeless and treasurable. This devotional will touch who we are, where we are, and why we are.
The chaplain for Timothy Partners, Ltd., Pastor Anthony E. Moore is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and his lovely wife, First Lady, Cynthia A. Moore a native of Dallas, Texas. Pastor Moore has served Carolina Missionary Baptist Church since 1987 and has been proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over thirty years. His latest book is “One Moore Minute” a devotional series. No matter your age, the color of your skin, your circumstance, your economic plight in life, it’s a fact, that through the love of Jesus Christ – you can do all things.