“This Present Waiting – What is it For?”
Sermon outline is available HERE.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.[a]
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance[b]
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
Pastor Thom Rittichier
There is this hate. And they call this an age of rage that we’re living in, seems to be for evident reasons. But there is this hate that I have heard. And actually, I’m not only heard of it and seen it, as a matter of fact, I have thought it and felt it. I’ve even expressed it. Succinctly stated this hate is this. I hate to wait. Yeah, we got a couple others that are agreeing with that. So it sounds like you’ve heard this too. I hate to wait. Let me ask you this. Have you ever thought that, expressed it? Do others know that about you? Because they see it. I was looking into this a bit, this hate to wait. And there was a post that was put out concerning the top 10 things people hate to wait for. I pulled a couple of these off. What do you think they are? Well, let me put these up here. This is the BMV. You know what that is? And this is at the amusement park, for getting on rides. The doctors office. The other one is the airport. And here, guess what this one is? Yeah, the Apple Store. And this, of course, is traffic jam. I think that’s probably the biggest one though being a practice manager for a doctor’s office, there was a consistent complaint. We worked hard, it was still a consistent complaint. And sometimes for the traffic jam one, it kind of looks like like this. This is the one that is really difficult, even if you’re just trying to get out of a parking lot. I hate to wait, I hate to wait.
And yet, you know, interestingly, as we come to the end of the first book of Psalms, you see the Psalms are actually put together in four books. And we’re about to come to the end of the first book of Psalms. Psalm 42, starts the second book of Psalms. So not this week or next week, but the week following, we are actually going to be starting a new series, ending the Psalms with the first book, and picking up a series in the book of Ephesians that we’re going to be focusing on. Nevertheless, my point in saying this about the first book of Psalms is here, at the end of the first book of Psalms, I want you to notice a reoccurring theme. So turn with me to the proximity if you would of Psalm number 40. So if you’re on a electronic device, you’re going to have to be moving this a bit. Psalm 40, is what we’re going to look at this morning. Last week, we finished up Psalm 37, which talks to us really directly concerning this life that we’re having now. And not fretting but how to absolutely delight, it’s the believers baseline, to delight yourself in the Lord. Yet I want you to notice in Psalm 37, look with me since you’re hopefully there, at verse seven, where it says this. Psalm 37, verse seven, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” And look at verse 34 of this same psalm, “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land. You will look on when the wicked are cut off.” Now look at Psalm number 38, if you would, verse 15, “But for you, O Lord, do I wait, it is you, O Lord, my God, who will answer.” Do you notice a reoccurring theme along here? Look with me at Psalm number 39, verse number seven, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Okay, one more time. Now in Psalm 40, at verse 13, “Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me. O Lord, make haste to help me! The psalmist is obviously waiting. And he’s waiting. And he’s waiting. Look down at verse 17 of this chapter. “As for me, I am poor and needy. But the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliver, do not delay. O my God!” There is waiting. This waiting that is going on, that’s being talked about. As a matter of fact, if you look at verse one of Psalm 40, it says this, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” Interestingly, a guy named Leupold, who is a scholar in the Hebrew language in the Psalms says this, “Actually, Hebrew says here, Waiting, did I wait for the Lord.” Waiting, did I wait. Though we, as a people, hate to wait. And especially in traffic. This, by God’s sovereign control, is something that we have given to us. Wait for the Lord, wait, wait. And David writes, waiting, I did wait. And that’s exactly how the Hebrew Bible says it, it’s the two words waiting that start this psalm, Waiting, I waited for the Lord. But oh how we hate it! Hmm. But the Lord has a purpose and design in it.
This morning, we’re going to talk about this present waiting. What is it for? What is it for? Why does he put us through this? Waiting, I did wait. The tone that David writes this psalm in is given in the last verse where he says, “As for me, I am poor and needy.” I am afflicted, maybe because of the waiting part of it. I am troubled. And I am needy. I am in want here. That’s how he writes the psalm. That’s the attitude that he has in this waiting, in this waiting, I did wait. We’re going to look at these three things that the psalm talks about here, three parts. 1) I will (as David did) wait patiently to…and he unfolds to us what are the opportunities, what is the purpose that we have in this waiting? 2) And then He will (as David did) while you wait do…And he’s talking about the Lord, what the Lord will do while you wait. That is addressed here, as David said, what He is up to, what He’s doing. 3) And then finally this, If you will (as David did) follow him too. Now I know my endings are a little corny here: to…do…too. That’s a little corny, but I thought, Okay, I’m gonna risk it because it fits. All right.
So we’re going to look initially, at this waiting, David says, waiting patiently, in waiting, I did wait to…and he begins to list some things here. As a matter of fact, David lists these things from his experience. It’s what he went through. And for you too, in your waiting. By the way, as we look at this, do you know where we live? Yeah, we’re focusing on Blackford County, and some of us, many of us, live there. Not all. But I’m not talking about physically where you live. I’m talking about relative to God’s timetable for life on Earth. Do you know where we live? Where we are living? Now, I want you to know that concerning these things about God’s timetable, there are lots of differences. But it’s clear, and they all agree, on where we live. For example, those who are Covenant or Reformer, talked to us about “the already and the not yet”. That’s where we’re living. And what their meaning is, God has already established his kingdom. But it’s not yet fully here. The already but not yet. Whatever their millennial view is, they see it that way. There’s an already but a not yet. For those who are dispensational in their thinking, it’s called the mystery form of the kingdom. And what that means is that Christ has come and he has transferred us from the domain of darkness, Colossians chapter one, verse 15, into the kingdom of his dear son, and we are in the kingdom, the rule of his dear son. And yet, Philippians chapter three and verse 20, we eagerly await, for our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s right on. And this is called the mystery form of the kingdom, the church age is that, the mystery form of the kingdom. And everybody agrees that we’re at the same place. We’re living between the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ. That’s where we live, and we are here. And we wait. I hate to wait. Americans hate to wait. Can I tell you this? People hate to wait. But God’s got a purpose in this in between time, between the first coming and the second coming. Does anybody here object to the statement that we live between the first coming of Christ and the second coming? Anybody object to that? Do I hear anybody? Like an attorneysays, I object! No objections. We all hold to that.
What’s it for? That’s what David writes about. He lived between 1030 and 950 BC. And right now, it’s 2021 AD. And there’s a wait. He was waiting for the Messiah, first coming. We’re waiting for Messiah, second coming. That’s where we’re at, in between time. And he states clearly here, this was his experience, to experience answers from praying. Notice what he says, In waiting, I waited for the Lord. “I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry.” You know, that is an amazing statement. I was waiting and I was waiting, and the Lord inclined to me, he inclined to me and heard my cry. Recently, one of the people I’ve been working with had this experience in regards to actually presenting to God their needs. You know, we ought not to be surprised that God answers our prayer. But aren’t we? He inclines to me? He answers me? He hears my cry? You know, Jesus said in Luke 18:1, Men ought to “pray always and not lose heart”. He said that’s what what they ought to do. And the Apostle Paul said, Be anxious for nothing. but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God, do this. That’s what we ought to do. But oh my, how our natural tendency, in this waiting, is to lose heart and to be anxious about what is taking place and want to push it along, get it to move. We hate waiting. But there’s purpose. And the purpose is this experience of the answer to prayer. You know, Jesus said in Luke 11:9,10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asked receives and he who seeks fine, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” The intent is for us to engage, genuinely, in prayer and experience this. That he inclined his ear to me and he heard me. And by the way, both of these quotes by Jesus, are given after parables that he did to emphasize the importance of praying.
What is your waiting for? Your waiting for your praying to be answered. In one quote, Jesus gave a parable about a woman, a widow, who had a judge over her, who wouldn’t give a response to her request. So you remember what the woman did? What the woman do? She went to him over and over and over and over and over. And what did this unjust judge finally do? Lest this woman wear me out by her continuous coming, I will answer her. And then he says, How much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts, the gift of His Spirit, to those who ask. And the other quote was also right after a parable. It’s a parable about a man having friends who came to him after being on a long journey. And they showed up at his door. And he welcomed them in, but he didn’t have anything to provide for them. So he went to his neighbor. And he knocked on the door and he knocked on the door, and he knocked on the door, and he knocked on the door. And lo and behold, the neighbor finally got up and answered him because of the continuous knocking. Do you see a theme there? Jesus is talking about not losing heart, not being anxious. But seeing answers to your prayer. You know, one of the best things that we’ve done in Heartland is have this focused prayer time that we’ve started, a focused prayer time. And it’s like, the ministry has been so transformed by prayer. You too, what you’re waiting for, it’s for your praying.
This too, to be a live witness to what God does in response to your praying. Notice what David says here, Psalm 40:1-2, “he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” David becomes a live witness here, a live witness of what “I AM”does do. David was talking about a situation similar to what Jeremiah had in Jeremiah chapter 38. Jeremiah was in trouble for some of the things that he was saying that were from the Lord, the Lord is going to take you into exile. And Jeremiah was presenting that and the king got so angry with him, that he and his lords, threw him into a cistern. And the cistern, the Bible tells us, didn’t have any water in it. But it had mud in it for a long duration. And Jeremiah sank in the mud. Literally, Jeremiah had his feet in miry muck. James Boice in his commentary on Psalms said something which I think is really good, I’d like you to listen into it. “In the 38th chapter of Jeremiah, there is a well known incident in which Jeremiah is thrown into the cistern because of his unpopular prophecy about the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. It is a grim story. The cistern was empty of water, or Jeremiah would have drowned, but the bottom was filled with the accumulated mud of centuries so that Jeremiah sank down into it, into the mud and the mire. He would have perished there if a foreigner from Cush…had not interceded for him with the king, who instructed the friendly Cushite to take thirty men and draw Jeremiah out of the cistern with ropes.” Jeremiah was placed in the mud, in the mire, in a pit, quite literally, it was a pit. But there’s no reason to think when David talks about the pit, the mud, the mire, that it’s not a metaphor. We do not know what David was describing in this way. But he must have pictured a period in his life in which the circumstances had trapped him so that he was unable, we might say, to free himself. The point is, sometimes this wait, has an experience that’s in the pits. It’s the pits. It’s muck, it’s mire. And it comes for different reasons. Sometimes, it’s because of our sin. David had that. Sometimes it’s the bad circumstances, David had that. Sometimes it’s a bad habit or failure, David had lots of failures. Here’s the point. Look at what he said. He drew me up from the pit, out of the mire, mud, the bog. And he did this. He set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. And in doing this, verse three, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Now notice the purpose here, the purpose for this experience in our waiting. Hey, do you know that God could have taken you to heaven right away, when he saved you? He could have done that. He could have done that. But he left us here for a reason. And we are in this sinful world…with its sin and its pits and its habits and its failures…to show what God can do in our life here, what his grace can do. And he puts a new song, a fresh statement of what God can do in our life. “Many will see”, look at the end of verse three, “many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” Here, here was the intended purpose of our wait here.
And this becomes more vivid. It’s to give testimony, verbal testimony, our life is to reflect the change that is brought by God’s work, David had it. If any man’s in Christ, he’s a new creation, this is to be reflected for people to see. And then there is verbal testimony to be given. Notice how he says this in verses four and five, Blessed”, happy, in a happy position “is the man who who makes the Lord his trust”. He puts his confidence in what the Lord is doing, the Lord’s direction for him, what the Lord has told us on this, “who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” They go to a false god. Those who hang with the Lord in this wait, David says, “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wonderous deeds and your thoughts towards us, none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them.” I will tell of them. The purpose of this wait is answered prayer and the life testimony of what God is doing and can do. Often this passage is quoted for coming to Christ, where he takes your life out of the pit of destruction and the miry muck and sets it on solid ground, makes your steps secure. That’s a picture of us, of this life that God gives us. It was for David, it is for the believer. Giving verbal testimony to it, telling it, telling it, telling it. Do you ever have the opportunity to speak for the Lord in the lives of family members, in situations where people lose their lives and there’s other people around? Let me tell you, that time period is one of the most confused, theological times in what people say. People go to heaven because they die? Their death is the basis of their being justified with God, that’s not the case. We have opportunity to think and to talk about a redemption in Christ and a life change. Let me tell you, we don’t want to make a mistake there. People’s lives are on the line. I give verbal testimony.
And one more thing he adds, it is to absorb this delight in the will of God. Interestingly, this next section, verses six through eight, is quoted about what Jesus said in Hebrews chapter 10:5-7, where it talks about when Jesus comes into the world. And then he quotes Psalm 40. What it was for us, for David, it was the absorbing of our Savior’s delight to do the will of God. I want you to think with me for a moment, this passage says, “Christ came into the world he said,” and it quotes Psalm 40, “Sacrifices and burnt offerings you have no delight, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have had taken no pleasure. requirement. Then I said, Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” I want you to know, our purpose of waiting here is to absorb the Savior’s way of thinking. When he came into the world, he says, It is my delight to do your will, O God. That’s what Hebrew says. When Jesus was here, he said these words. I’ve not come to do my own will. But the will of Him who sent me. In John 4, when his disciples were quizzing him about take something to eat he said, I have a food to eat you do not know. It is my food to do the Father’s will and to finish his work. Over and over and over and over and over, Jesus talks about God’s will above his own. It’s to do His will rather than mine. And remember in the garden at the end of his life, remember what he said there? Father, let this cup pass from me. How many times did he say that? Three times, three times, three times. And every one of those three times he said this too, but not my will but yours be done. This is the battle of our lifetime, the will of God and our will, when our will is so big and the Father’s will is not. And it is the purpose of this wait for us to absorb that delight, to do the Father’s will. You know for me what this involves? It involves thinking specifically what it is that I want here that’s not in line with what God has said. And to state it, Father, this is what I want to do, just like Jesus, let this cup pass from me, this is what I want to do, this is what I want to have, this cup to pass from me. And this is what God’s will is, and to state it. We can say this about the use of the computer, about relationships, about raising kids, about correcting children, and state what you want. When your kids say, Get out of here! Leave me alone! Oh, that’s what I want. I want to be left alone. And the Father’s will is to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And here’s my choice, I’m going to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. And then we start, we start. This is the battle of the wills. Why you are here in this in between time, while we wait for the Savior, is to absorb the Savior’s delight. Jesus said it this way, You must eat my body and drink my blood. Drink him in. And he said this, not about the physical, but it’s the words that I say to you. The spirit, they are life. That’s our life. That’s where we’re living, in the in between time, to absorb him in that.
And I want to add this, verses nine and ten, “I have told the good news of your great deliverance to the great congregation. I’ve not restrained my lips. As you know, Lord firsthand. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart. I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation, your rescue. I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” Do you notice something here? Verse 9, I have told of the good news of your rescue in the great congregation. Verse 10, I’ve not concealed, I have told of your steadfast love, your faithfulness in the great congregation. We are here in this time, between the already and the not yet, to build up others in the body, to build them up. We’re not here to have a great retirement. We’re not here to waste our life by picking up seashells along the seashore. We’re here to make the most of this life, building the believers in the great congregation. Can I tell you that weekly I encourage people about being in the fellowship. Yes, because we hear God’s word together. But yes, because we have opportunity to rub shoulders with each other, to speak to each other. And weekly I have people who choose not to. I know believers, professed believers, who have nothing to do with the local church. But the New Testament knows nothing of a believer outside of the local church. It only speaks to and of believers in the local church, over and over and over and over. Because it’s the purpose we’re here. Now I understand some just can not, I’ve got in-laws who are at the point in life, they can no longer make it to church due to their health. He’s had a stroke. She has limited abilities. Still there’s the need for the body to be encouraging and building the body. It’s why we’re here in the in between time.
So David said he waits patiently and this is what he does. And this is what God does. While we do this, he does this. God says, I will not restrain mercy from you in this. Notice how he says, “As for you, O Lord,” verse 11, “you will not restrain your mercy from me.” You will not restrained from me your compassion, it pours out on you. He also says this, I, the I AM, you will do this, as you always and forever are what we need, “Your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!” The I AM will preserve you with his steadfast love. Do you know what the Lord’s steadfast love is? Do you know what this is? This is unshakable. We got a dog recently, and I’ve got this thing that I do with our dog. He has to learn obedience. But there’s a time that we play. And we play with this rubber ball and I throw it and he brings it back to me and I grab it and I try to shake it out of his mouth. He’s got a grip on this. And he growls when I do this. And sometimes his head gets to shaking back and forth when we do this. And his head will go back and forth. But he won’t let go of that ball because he’s dogged and determined that he’s going to hang on to that ball. Now I’m a little stronger. And I know a couple tricks. But nevertheless, that’s a dogged determineness. When he talks about his steadfast love. He talks about this loyal love that God has, that’s unshakable, it’s unshakable. And he will preserve you in this wait with that, and with his faithfulness, his reliability. And this is like so needed for us. It is like so needed because of the evil that’s present. And because of our iniquity, look at what David says. “You will not restrain mercy”, verse 11, “you will preserve me with steadfast love and faithfulness”. And here’s why, verse 12, “For evils have encompassed me beyond number.”
When I was in college, I had to read a book called The Precarious Habitat. And in that book, they talked about the fact that the earth is getting old. And its resources are running out. And it’s not going to be able to sustain life. And they talked about the fact that the sun is burning out. It’s using up its energy. You know, it does have energy, and it’s a limited supply, and it’s burning up, and it’s going to be gone. And they talked about all these horrific things that are coming to an end. It was called The Precarious Habitat. And you know what? They’re right. And it talks about that we, in our evolutionary mutations, have absolutely no purpose. So I am a mistake of nature. And where I live is burning up and running out. Wow! What a vision for the future! But the only thing they noticed was that there is evil. There is injury and harm and destruction that’s all around us. It’s true. Let alone the sinful acts of men. This is all true. The earth is getting old. The Bible says, it wears out, it grows old like a garment. The sun is burning out. It is going to go away. As matter of fact I know how it ends. The Bible tells us. This present evil while we wait. We have his unrestrained mercy, his steadfast love, his faithfulness as needed in this present evil, the external evil to us. Let alone what’s inside of us. Look at with David says, verse 12b,”my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head.” How many would agree with that? How many would agree that the iniquities of our life are more than the hairs on our head? I am glad I’m going bald. (fellowship laughs) This is the first time in my life I’ve ever said that! The iniquity in our life would do us in. And the Lord, while we wait, does this, shows unrestrained mercy, preserving steadfast love and faithfulness, as needed in an external environment of evil and an internal environment of iniquity. Sin will happen, your sin will happen. But when you’re on purpose, God takes up for us.
And David ends with a prayer, verses 13-16. This is what he prays. He prays a specific request, “Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!” He prays with supplication, “Let them” who have this and “let them” who have that and “let them” with these needs. And he lists out specific requests and why. And then he ends with thanksgiving, “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation, your rescue, say continually, God is great! God is great!” What’s going on here is great! In this mess, this muck, this mire, this sin, this hurt, this injury, this evil, this COVID, this hostility, this age of rage, God is great in what he’s accomplishing! He’s going somewhere. This thing isn’t pointless, purposeless. He’s establishing in you prayer, witness, testimony, becoming like the Savior. He’s establishing in you the building up of others in the body. And he’s doing it. He’s doing that. I don’t want to embarrass anybody but somebody that’s in this fellowship this morning, came to me recently and said, “I need to get in the body. I need to serve. I need to.” That’s what he’s doing while we wait. And by the way, do you notice anything about this prayer of David’s? “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”, Philippians 4:6. Yeah. And there’s an outcome to this. So then, as for you too. So then, it’s here with David and for you too. While we wait. There is a peace of God. A peace of God that surpasses all understanding. The peace of God, from the Spirit, that surpasses all understanding. And so with confidence in this, we wait. We wait.
There’s a song we’re going to end with this morning. I was thinking, if this song doesn’t excite your heart, then we need to get out a spiritual defibrillator and apply it. This song is for the believer. If your heart isn’t moved, you need the Savior. Father in heaven, Hear us, you do. You incline to us. You will help us. You will, as we wait for that day, in Jesus name, Amen