Identifying with Adversity

The Jews who returned from Babylonian captivity faced numerous challenges in their attempts to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. The rubble that was Jerusalem must have seemed an insurmountable and depressing challenge, and the rising opposition of non-Jews in the land created additional struggles. The stress created by such a situation took its toll on these Jews, but amidst this crisis of confidence, they turned to the LORD to see them through as Psalm 102 describes. Feeling overwhelmed by circumstances, the psalmist cried out to God (Psa. 102:1-2). The adversity, the sense of loneliness, and the persecution served as ready reminders of how much mankind needs God (Psa. 102:3-9), especially since we will all eventually face death (Psa. 102:10-11). And that is why it is so comforting to remember that the LORD is eternal (Psa. 102:12) and determined to see His purpose through to the end (Psa. 102:13-16). His will ensured the restoration of His people even if the Psalm’s author did not live to see it (Psa. 102:17-23). Whatever might happen upon the earth, the LORD Himself guarantees victory in eternity (Psa. 102:24-28). This message surely resonated with post-exilic Israel and gave them hope for their future. And yet, the message of this psalm looked forward to greater adversity and an even greater victory.

The meaning of Psalm 102:23-24 has two possible interpretations, both allowed by the consonants of the text and dependent upon the vowel pointing supplied. While the Hebrew of the Masoretic text provided the translation followed by English translations, the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, saw the vowel pointing differently, and the Holy Spirit followed this latter interpretation when inspiring Hebrews 1:10-12 in making verses twenty-four through twenty-eight the answer of God the Father to God the Son, thus making the psalm Messianic. And when we return to the beginning and consider the life of Jesus, the psalm has a flow that brings a powerful message.

Consider Jesus as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, imploring His Father for deliverance (Psa. 102:1-2). There He pled, feeling overwhelmed and alone (Psa. 102:3-7) while His enemies plotted against Him (Psa. 102:8), in agony because He knew full well the cost of sin and His own mission from God to accept its penalty on man’s behalf (Psa. 102:9-10). Therefore, fully aware of the torture that awaited Him, He realized the time for His death drew near (Psa. 102:11). However, even in this He had hope because of what His death would accomplish because God, the Father, lives on (Psa. 102:12). He knew that, by His death, God would show His grace to Israel (Psa. 102:13-14) and that even the Gentiles, those of other nations, would also benefit (Psa. 102:15-16). Indeed, this would be the answer to many prayers throughout the centuries (Psa. 102:17). Therefore, from both Jew and Gentile God would create a new people (Psa. 102:18), having defeated death on their behalf (Psa. 102:19-20) and bringing reason for great praise (Psa. 102:21-22). But at that moment, as the Septuagint reading indicates, the Father replied to the pleading and praise of the Son (Psa. 102:23) with a message that anticipated the gospel. Indeed, despite His death, the Messiah is indeed God and will live for all generations (Psa. 102:24). Through Him the heavens and the earth came into existence (Psa. 102:25; Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3), and while they will be destroyed in the end (Psa. 102:26), the Messiah will endure (Psa. 102:27), as will the people He established and for which He died (Psa. 102:28).

Surely we can identify with the adversity of the Jews coming back from captivity. But how much greater is the thought that the Messiah, Jesus, chose to identify fully and completely with us? This indeed proved to be a foundational point in the opening of the book of Hebrews, but centuries beforehand, the Holy Spirit declared it through the inspired hand of the post-exilic psalmist.


The Promise of Thankfulness

David’s rise to the throne of Israel and subsequent reign dominate the landscape of Jewish history. From the young shepherd boy who fought wild animals to budding warrior who killed Goliath to the faithful soldier running from a jealous commander, the early life of David established a powerful backstory for the mightiest king in Israel’s history. Despite his youthful anointing by Samuel, he patiently and faithfully served Saul, consistently respecting him as “the LORD’s anointed.” Here we find no power-hungry leader but a man of faith and principle. He did not view his anointing as a political opportunity but as a spiritual responsibility. And while the psalms surrounding his coming to the throne located in Book One are more familiar, Psalm 101 offers great insight. It essentially records David’s promises to the LORD upon coming to the throne of the kingdom. However, this emphasis provides another practical consideration and perspective. David saw these characteristics as essential when he came to the throne of an earthly kingdom, but they have even greater application for all who become Christians and enter Christ’s heavenly kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19; Col. 1:13-14).

Throughout this psalm David makes a series of promises to the LORD. The two words “I will” dominate the psalm. But for the Christian, submitting to the reign of Christ as King by being immersed to enjoy the forgiveness promised (Acts 2:38) and the joy assured (1 John 1:4) is an even greater promise—the promise to live faithfully as a subject in the kingdom, whatever that may require (Rev. 2:10). David saw his responsibilities as God’s anointed leader of the nation of Israel, but truly Christians have an even greater obligation as subjects of a far greater kingdom. Therefore, upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to worship God faithfully (Psa. 101:1). This implies far more than regular attendance (Heb. 10:24-25) but rather a heart and soul dedicated to honoring the LORD as much as possible exactly how the LORD desires, as true worshippers do (John 4:24). More than this, upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to live and grow in accordance with God’s design and for God’s purposes rather than their own (Psa. 101:2). No disciple begins in exactly the same place, the same knowledge or the same problems, but every disciple should seek maturity in living for God by developing a spiritual maturity in a heart for God (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). Upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to distance themselves from wickedness of every kind (Psa. 101:3-5). It is therefore essential to eschew evil (1 Pet. 3:9-12), reprove the works of darkness (Eph. 5:11), maintain a holy heart (Matt. 5:8), and avoid the wrong companions (1 Cor. 15:33). More than this, upon entering the kingdom, Christians promise to keep close to the faithful (Psa. 101:6), following their example (1 Cor. 11:1), building relationships with them (John 13:34-35), and preferring their company (Rom. 12:10). Finally, upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to stand against evil however it presents itself (Psa. 101:7-8). Rather than compromising conviction, God’s people stand with the Savior (2 John 9-11). Instead of accepting iniquity, the LORD’s people take action against trespasses (2 Thess. 3:6).

David fell far short of these promises at times, as the rest of inspired history makes clear. But his heart brought him back to these promises and his desire to be faithful to God each and every time. When we become Christians, we are promising our loyalty, our fidelity, and our all to the One who saved us. We may fall short in practice here and there, but may we ever keep the heart of David with a determination to keep our promises.

The Origin of Thankfulness

Few traits demonstrate a combination of humility and joy better than thankfulness. Its very nature depends on recognizing others’ contributions to our well-being and happiness. Because of this, from a young age, most parents teach their children the importance of saying, “Thank you.” And yet, as we grow older, and perhaps because we lack the necessary humility or are missing out on the joys of life, we do not seem as ready to say it—even when the situation calls for it. However, Psalm 100 exudes thankfulness. Every phrase builds on the previous to express a crescendo of thanksgiving offered to the LORD Himself. This on its own bears imitation. But this psalm’s placement follows a poetic series that begins with man’s needs, shows God’s provision, points to the Messiah, and then marvels at the possibility of forgiveness the LORD makes available in the context of His judgment. As sinners needing all of these and yet incapable of creating any circumstance comparable to such a plan, thanksgiving ought to spring forth from within our hearts like a budding flower welcoming the sun. Indeed, the psalmist captures this very sentiment with this brief psalm’s joyful cry of thanks.

While the history of the United Kingdom records various times when David rightfully might express such appreciation, and while the Jews who returned from captivity most certainly would feel it, these should serve only as mere shadows to those who realize the forgiveness available through the blood of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the broad wording of the psalm allows the reader to consider all of these perspectives while encouraging him to internalize the psalm. Thus, all that God has done should motivate us to respond with thanksgiving—yet not simply a casual “Thank you” but rather a heartfelt gratitude that builds a relationship (2 Cor. 5:14). The reality of sin and its consequences should flood our soul with guilt and shame. Indeed, this makes the possibility of forgiveness all the more real and meaningful, which in turn causes joy to well up within us until it bursts forth for all to hear (Psa. 100:1; Phil. 4:4). More than that, it changes our behavior so significantly that we take joy in serving the LORD who made it possible (Psa. 100:2a; Rom. 12:1-2), worshiping (Psa. 100:2b; Jas. 5:13) and praising Him (Psa. 100:4; 1 Pet. 1:3-5) from a heart overwhelmed with gratitude. And yet, as the psalmist declares, this newfound passion has a specific focus: the LORD. Sadly, many people separate the opportunity of forgiveness from the will and character of the One who made it possible. But Psalm 100 so integrates thanksgiving with the One worthy of it that the personal character of real thanksgiving shines brightly. Indeed, couched within this song of thanks the psalmist points to the reasons why the LORD is so deserving. Yahweh, the Hebrew name translated LORD, means “the One who is there.” It is the covenant name of God signifying that He is by the very nature of His being but also that He is there for us (Psa. 100:1) as the offer of forgiveness so demonstrates. As our Creator, we owe our very existence to Him (Psa. 100:3a; Gen. 1:26-27; Col. 1:16-18). But He is also our Shepherd, caring for our every need (Psa. 100:3b; 23:1-6; John 10:1-10). He provides only what is good for us as part of His intrinsic nature (Psa. 100:5a; Jas. 1:17) and shows us mercy daily (Psa. 100:5b), disregarding our own character to offer aid because of His character. More than that, He does not allow us to wallow in our ignorance but reveals truth to us so that we might know Him and His will and be more like Him by doing His will (Psa. 100:5c; John 8:32; 12:48; 17:17). And because He is eternal so also can His forgiveness and blessings be bestowed on those who embrace that relationship with Him (Psa. 100:5; 1 Pet. 3:8). O how we should give thanks to the LORD—not only for what He has done for us, but also because of who HE is for us!

God Who Forgives

The LORD’s reign dominates the landscape of the brief section of psalms of which Psalm 99 is a part, and its offering includes just as much depth, opening once more with the powerful but elegant declaration, “The LORD reigns.” Building upon the previous psalms’ promise and Messianic hope, this song presents the exalted character of the LORD, thus expressing confidence not only in His right to judge but also in the righteousness of His judgment. As such, the knowledge of our human weakness—in every way—should wake us to the reality of just how unprepared we are to stand before His throne. We should tremble at the prospect, for this is the God of Israel who “dwells between the cherubim.” Indeed, the whole earth should quake at the thought (Psa. 99:1). He is exalted above mankind—not simply by His placement on Mount Zion in Jerusalem but because He reigns from heaven itself (Psa. 99:2). This is no idol contrived by man and reflective of man’s foibles. Yahweh stands above such flaws in perfect holiness (Psa. 99:3). Therefore, He remains the rightful King, having the strength of rule and the character to judge (Psa. 99:4). His decisions and His will reflect His holiness, and He thus deserves not only allegiance, but also adoration and worship (Psa. 99:5). He has every right to reign, every right to rule, every right to judge.

Then, in an interesting turn, the psalm turns to three prominent men from Israel’s past: Moses, Aaron, and Samuel (Psa. 99:6a). Each interacted with the LORD in a rather personal way: Moses as lawgiver, Aaron as high priest, and Samuel as a prophet. However, the psalmist emphasizes one unifying characteristic among them: “They called upon the LORD, and He answered them” (Psa. 99:6). The LORD spoke by right of His reign, and these great leaders of the past fulfilled their role as divine subjects: they obeyed (Psa. 99:7). But what type of occasion did these share in common? They each interceded for people who needed God’s forgiveness, for the psalm declares, “You answered them, O LORD our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, Though You took vengeance on their deeds” (Psa. 99:8). He did not take away the consequences of their actions, but He did send away their sin. The holy God who established His perfect standard, the divine King who reigns over all, the just Judge who holds our fate in His hand is also “God-Who-Forgives.” What a powerful, moving thought!

The LORD reigns. How truly glorious that is! And when we recall the preceding crescendo of the previous similar psalms, we gain an even greater insight. The LORD came to a world of dying men (Psa. 90), trusted God as a man (Psa. 91), lived as a man among unworthy men (Psa. 92), lived as God among men (Psa. 93), was rejected by senseless men (Psa. 94),  was needed by men (Psa. 95), overcame all odds to establish His kingdom (Psa. 96), proved Himself worthy of worship (Psa. 97), and achieved the greatest of victories on behalf of God for the benefit of mankind (Psa. 98). And all of this was essential to make forgiveness available to man. Oh, indeed, the LORD is worthy of exaltation. He is worthy of worship. And He is holy in every way (Psa. 99:9).

Victory Reign

The Old Testament records numerous victories made possible by the LORD. It records the victory of Abraham in rescuing Lot and his company (Gen. 13). It establishes the amazing power of God to deliver in the record of the crossing of the Red Sea and the Song of Moses sung in exaltation after the fact (Ex. 14-15). It draws attention, time and time again, to the military victories made possible through very unmilitary means throughout Israel’s years wandering in the wilderness, in the conquest of Canaan, and in the deliverance under the judges. The LORD’s providing victory is an unmistakable theme for Israel and for God. However, the celebration of victory recorded in Psalm 98 has many unique characteristics, and they deserve our attention and reflection.

Psalm 98 appears within a group of psalms emphasizing the reign of the LORD, but Psalm 98 distinguishes itself by its confident declaration of victory achieved (Psa. 98:1). While the LORD provided victories aplenty for Israel throughout their history—and certainly a number throughout the reign of David—this poetic announcement falls within a series of regnal psalms filled with Messianic imagery. Therefore, while the words could apply to David’s victories over Israel’s political foes, they apply even more to the greatest of victories God made possible through His Son. This indeed proved to be a victory that declared salvation and righteousness revealed (Psa.98:2; cf. Rom. 1:16-17), a victory that fulfilled His promise to Israel and is made known throughout all the world (Psa. 98:3). Having thus obtained the victory, He provided the greatest reasons for joy—a triumph if ever there was one (Psa. 98:4-6; Col. 2:14-15), a victory so great that the earth itself, in figure, was moved to acknowledge it (Psa. 98:7-8). However, the final verse removed any doubt regarding the connection intended between the surrounding psalms as well as its forward-looking meaning, restating in variation the closing of Psalm 96 that, by doing these things, the LORD had established His right to judge the earth, authority granted to the risen Lord (Psa. 98:9; Matt. 28:18; cf. Acts 17:30-31).

Every victory the LORD provided throughout all of the Old Testament was, in some way, an anticipation of the greatest victory He would provide ultimately. The Ammonites and the Philistines were mere shadows of the lurking enemies of sin and death. Therefore, if the joy over these earthly enemies deserved celebration and exultation, how much more does Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and Satan deserve our ongoing appreciation and adoration? But most of all, this victory established that the LORD reigns, just as Paul later described (1 Cor. 15:24-28). How powerful then the imagery for us to note that while the LORD achieved previous victorious by slaying these foes in battle, the greatest victory of all He achieved by being slain Himself so that He could rise victoriously! Conquering sin and conquering death, Jesus conquered Satan and made victory possible for us all. Surely this deserves to be lauded! But just as surely, His victory gives Him every right to judge. But His people can once again rejoice because He will judge with the same quality of character by which He achieved the victory. Jesus reigns! Jesus is on His throne! Jesus is victorious! Therefore, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

Not Just a Name

In Psalm 97 David continues the regnal theme, beginning once more with the emphatic exultation, “The LORD reigns,” but rather than appealing to the Israelites to announce this to the nations against the futility of their paganism, the whole earth now has reason to rejoice in recognizing the LORD’s reign (Psa. 97:1). Building on the imagery of Sinai as did the Song of Deborah (Ex. 19:16-18; Jdg. 5:4-5), he declares the LORD’s righteous judgment, sure victory, and powerful presence (Psa. 97:2-5).  However, this declaration from above shines forth to all (Psa. 97:6) with such force that it offers evidence to pagan idolaters of their error and provides impetus for the angelic throng to worship (Psa. 97:7). Israel also responds to the LORD’s will (Psa. 97:8) in recognition of His exaltation (Psa. 97:9). Thus having established His worthiness to reign and the expanse of His kingdom in a reign built on righteousness, he turns his attention to the subjects of the kingdom. Describing them in essence by their love for the LORD, he follows with an unexpected contrast: “hate evil!” (Psa. 97:10). The powerful contrast of love and hate adds immediate strength to other implied contrasts between the LORD and evil. However, the exhortation of responsibility holds manifold blessings as well, because the LORD will then deliver and preserve His people (Psa. 97:10). Therefore, the righteous and upright have reason to hope (Psa. 97:11), reasons to rejoice, and reasons to give thanks when they recall what the LORD has done (Psa. 97:12).

Taken generically, all of this sounds pleasing to the godly ear, but the placement of the psalm and the nuances of the text offer far more than general encouragement, and this becomes clear upon considering Hebrews 1:6, “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’” (Heb. 1:6), a quotation of Psalm 97:7 identifying without question the “gods” as angels and the “Him” as Jesus Himself. Therefore, just as the previous psalm anticipated the crowning of Jesus as King, so also does Psalm 97 anticipate the time when the Son of God would reign. This, then, formed the foundation of the psalm’s promised blessings, of the reason to hope, rejoice, and give thanks. Jesus’ incarnation and sacrifice offered exactly what the world needed, Jew and Gentile alike (Rom. 3:23). Thus, the deliverance and preservation He made possible transcend this life and extend into eternity. The message announced with the imagery of the Old Covenant is the New Covenant which supplanted it, a covenant for Jew and Gentile alike. Most of all, the One who came, the One who reigns, the One who saves, and the One worthy of angelic worship is none other than Yahweh Himself. Encased in a simple psalm extolling the virtues and majesty of the one true God, the Holy Spirit placed the seed to demonstrate the deity of the Son of God. While the subtleties of the text kept the full meaning dormant for centuries, the simple reality of Jesus and the gospel proves not only the beauty of the Davidic hope but its true force as well.

The Glory Due His Name

During the early portion of David’s reign, he wanted to bring the ark of the covenant, and therefore Israel’s tabernacle worship, to Jerusalem. While originally unsuccessful due to the improper manner of transportation, eventually David saw his dream realized, and the priests placed the ark in the most holy place of the tabernacle on one of the hills of Jerusalem near David’s own dwelling. This proximity likely appealed to David, as one who enjoyed worshipping the LORD. However, as the beautiful expression he penned in Psalm 96 demonstrates, this united proximity of the throne of David and the worship of God provided the context for an appreciation for the Kingship of God that Israel consistently failed to accept and that promised even greater things for the future.

The new location of the ark created new possibilities for Israel, and yet it was important to see them spiritually. Indeed, freshness of spirit, a recognition of the covenant relationship God has made possible, and an understanding of His universal worthiness ought to motivate our worship at any time (Psa. 96:1). Thus motivated, worship becomes an opportunity to declare what God has done with a heart of thankfulness that extends beyond the moment to affect the heart daily (Psa. 96:2). Worship should change us, but it can only do so when we change how we worship. Any true conviction concerning God’s greatness cannot simply dwell within but swells up within until nothing can contain it, simply from reflecting on all that God has done and responding to Him in accordance with His will (Psa. 96:3). This is no emotional hype because our dedication and devotion to and our reverence for our God rest not on a blind faith nor on an unintellectual hope. It finds ground in the reality of His being, the truth of His character, and the power of His essence (Psa. 96:4). Therefore, our God is no crutch rooted in the imagination of the desperate; He is the Creator of the universe upon whom all depend, whether they realize it or not (Psa. 96:5). He reigns as divine royalty, with all the accompanying honors; more than that, He combines the leadership of a general and the splendor of a king while ruling on a throne that sits within a temple dedicated to His honor (Psa. 96:6). The LORD, thus enthroned, deserves all that His creation has to give, a recognition of all that He has done and can do that leads us to offer our obeisance, our allegiance, and our all as we enter His presence to worship (Psa. 96:7-8). Therefore, we must prepare ourselves for His presence accordingly, dressing ourselves in the robes of holiness as we humbly approach His throne (Psa. 96:9). Then, knowing the LORD, His character, and His will bring forth a confidence in the future that nothing else can approach. The simple knowledge that “The LORD reigns” is sufficient to know that, whatever else may happen upon this earth, righteousness will prevail (Psa. 96:10). This makes joy, gladness, and confidence in life possible, regardless of anything else that might occur (Psa. 96:11-12). The LORD had a plan, a plan to come forth from the abode of His sanctuary to establish His reign unmistakably and thus to rule within righteousness accordingly to the standard of truth (Psa. 96:13).

When David brought the throne of mercy near to his own throne, he never realized the ultimate end God had in mind. But when Jesus came to earth to fulfill the Messianic mission, He, as the standard bearer for the throne of David, established His reign in a kingdom not of this earth (Matt. 16:18-19; John 18:36) by being raised from the dead—not only to rule as the rightful heir of David, but to do so from the throne of mercy existing in heaven itself (Heb. 1:8-9; 9:24-28). How truly worthy God is of our worship, of our devotion, and of our lives! In all that we do, may we ever remember “the glory due His name”!

Losing Focus

A few years ago, when traveling in the northeast for a lectureship in New Hampshire and a gospel meeting in Maryland, my family and I took a detour into a rural area of Pennsylvania outside of Scranton to hike through Ricketts Glenn and see the numerous waterfalls there. Hiking to waterfalls and photographing them has become my favorite hobby in recent years, and I had anticipated this opportunity since originally penciling it into the itinerary. However, earlier that year, a sign of middle age caught up to me and required that I get glasses. (I since have moved on to contact lenses.) Navigating the hike with trifocals proved far more harrowing than I would have imagined, but I ran into a bigger problem that I only realized after it was too late. I had failed to adjust the focus on my camera for wearing a prescription. Despite requiring only a minor correction, this meant that all of my photographs were slightly out of focus unless I relied on the SLR camera’s autofocus feature. Unfortunately, when I tried to check it, I had trouble seeing it properly through my lenses. While this proved a minor annoyance for my recreational memory, it illustrates a far more serious problem many people have in life. Their focus is completely out of focus, and they do not even realize it.

In Psalm 95, quoted in part by the writer of Hebrews, David enjoined everyone to make the LORD the focus of their lives. However, it is not enough to feel like you are focusing on God; your life must reflect that focus through the lens of scripture. As David points out, we should focus on the LORD in life because He is the source of true joy (Psa. 95:1-2), and this focus should come through in our worship and praise—not only in giving our hearts fully over to Him in that moment, but in worshiping in a manner that fully reflects our respect, reverence, and awe for His authority. When we focus on pleasing God and honoring Him, we have found where joy is truly sustainable and not fleeting. But more than that, we should place our focus on the LORD because of His inherent greatness. God created the universe and sustains it, and therefore He owns it. And that includes us (Psa. 95:3-5). Such grandeur and glory deserves all of our attention every minute of every day. Sadly, we often expect God to accept with gratitude the meager leftovers of our time and attention instead of the dedication and deliberation He is due by right of who He is. The LORD should be our focus in life because He alone is worthy of worship (Psa. 95:6-7). We need Him; He does not need us. And yet, do our lives reflect this understanding in the details of our submission to His will? Or do we complain about His precepts and try to insert our own desires willfully into the Scriptures to excuse our own desires? Our focus, our all in life, must be on the LORD, for He alone can deliver us. The Israelites who saw the ten plagues and left Egypt by crossing the Red Sea had every reason for joy but focused only on their hardships. As a result, they hardened their hearts toward God, and God did not allow them to enter the Promised Land (Psa. 95:8-11). Many today do the same. They expect God not only to have provided deliverance but also to remove any requirements of obedience in the process (Jas. 2:24; Acts 2:38; Heb. 5:8-9). Rather than focusing on the salvation He made possible, they somehow take it for granted and therefore actually neglect the pathway provided by God. Many people are going to be lost on Judgment Day (Matt. 7:13-14). Yet, it will not be because they lacked opportunity or even knowledge. It will be because they lost focus.


Waiting. It does not matter whether you experience it sitting at the doctor’s office, standing in line buying groceries, or doing a little of both at the local DMV; waiting can prove quite trying. Waiting presents numerous difficulties for people bound by time because it highlights various uncertainties that characterize our existence upon the earth. Most uncertainties create discomfort because they simply reflect and amplify how much lies outside of our personal control. This actually lies behind the human desire to impose explanations for events beyond what the evidence (or reason) indicates. Conspiracy theories exist to comfort our human uncertainty, providing an explanation when none other is readily available. Sadly, this often leads people to attempt to superimpose some human control or blame over events (such as various natural disasters) where none exists. In similar fashion, the uncertainty inherent in waiting challenges man in another way. It forces each of us to accept that we cannot control everything, nor should we try. Instead, we should remember and live according to the One who is actually in control.

The whole of Psalm 94 revolves around this very theme: waiting. And yet, in typical poetic fashion, the psalmist walks the reader through the challenges present with having to wait to the climax of faith that the godly should both learn and employ while waiting. Nevertheless, the message of the psalm does not lie simply in an exhortation to wait, but in how to do so in a manner harmonious with faith. Therefore, do not simply wait, but wait calmly. Wait calmly for God to establish His justice rather than indignantly inflicting your own (Psa. 94:1). We have no right to judge others by our own standards. Instead, we must calmly wait for God to punish in accordance with his own (Psa. 94:2). We must also learn to wait patiently, judging success not by the trouble of the moment but by the certainty of eternity (Psa. 94:3). This further demands that we evaluate the wicked not by the mirage of power they have in the moment but by their insolence and ignorance (Psa. 94:4-7) because God knows best, and that includes knowing the best timing, including for judgment (Psa. 94:8-9). Fulfilling these things requires that we also wait humbly rather than haughtily making demands, both on others and on God. In every situation, no matter how negative, we should humbly look for what we can learn instead of seeking only to reinforce what we think we already know (Psa. 94:10-11). While it takes discipline, humility can help us see the blessings involved even in adversity, an essential trait for maturity (Psa. 94:12-13). Therefore, learn to think in terms of God’s character and your personal responsibility (Psa. 94:14-15). Nevertheless, when we approach waiting in faith, we can cast aside some of the uncertainty and wait confidently because of what God has promised. We can have confidence in His protection when seen from the right point of view (Psa. 94:16; Psa. 16:1), confidence in His help to provide the aid we need through life (Psa. 94:17), and confidence in His mercy through the trials we face (Psa. 94:18). Thus, our confidence does not derive from some promise of invincibility but from a relationship with the One in control of eternity. For this reason, we should always wait faithfully for God. When we trust His ability to handle our problems, we need not worry (Psa. 94:19; Phil. 4:6-7). When we trust God’s character, knowing He will do what is right and best for us, we remove doubt and uncertainty from the big picture of life and replace it with faith (Psa. 94:20-21). When we trust God’s will, we no longer feel an obligation to enforce our own on others (Psa. 94:22-23). God can take care of it.

Waiting reveals much about our relationship with God. It can reveal our trust or expose our doubt. It can demonstrate our maturity or prove how much growth is still needed. Waiting does not get easier with time; it gets easier with faith.

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