October 22, 2017
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
In Humble Fear and Hope
God’s eye is upon His people: their eye is upon Him. In waiting upon God, our eye, looking up to Him, meets His looking down upon us.
This is the blessedness of waiting upon God, that it takes our eyes and thoughts away from ourselves, even our needs and desires, and occupies us with our God. We worship Him in His glory and love, with His all-seeing eye watching over us, that He may supply our every need. Let us consider this wonderful meeting between God and His people, and mark well what we are taught here of them on whom God’s eye rests, and of Him on whom our eye rests.
“The eye of the Lord is on them that fear Him, on them that hope in His mercy.” Fear and hope are generally thought to be in conflict with each other, in the presence and worship of God they are found side by side in perfect and beautiful harmony. And this because in God Himself all apparent contradictions are reconciled.
Righteousness and peace, judgment and mercy, holiness and love, infinite power and infinite gentleness, a majesty that is exalted above all heaven, and a condescension that bows very low, meet and kiss each other. There is indeed a fear that hath torment, that is cast out entirely by perfect love. But there is a fear that is found in the very heavens. In the song of Moses and the Lamb they sing, “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?” And out of the very throne the voice came, “Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him.”
Let us in our waiting ever seek “to fear the glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD”. The deeper we bow before His holiness in holy fear and adoring awe, in deep reverence and humble self-abasement, even as the angels veil their faces before the throne, the more will His holiness rest upon us, and the soul be filled to have God reveal Himself; the deeper we enter into the truth “that no flesh glory in His presence”, will it be given us to see His glory. “The eye of the Lord is on them that fear Him.”
“On them that hope in His mercy.” So far will the true fear of God be from keeping us back from hope, it will stimulate and strengthen it. The lower we bow, the deeper we feel we have nothing to hope in but His mercy. The lower we bow, the nearer God will come, and make our hearts hold to trust Him.
Let every exercise of waiting, let our whole habit of waiting on God, be pervaded by abounding hope – a hope as bright and boundless as God’s mercy. The fatherly kindness of God is such that, in whatever state we come to Him, we may confidently hope in His mercy.
Such are God’s waiting ones. And now, think of the God on whom we wait. “The eye of the Lord is on them that fear Him, on them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Not to prevent the danger of death and famine – this is often needed to stir up to wait on Him – but to deliver and to keep alive. For the dangers are often very real and dark; the situation, whether in the temporal or spiritual life, may appear to be utterly hopeless. There is always one hope: God’s eye is on them.
That eye sees the danger, and sees in tender love His trembling waiting child, and sees the moment when the heart is ripe for the blessing, and sees the way in which it is to come. This living, mighty God, oh, let us fear Him and hope in His mercy. And let us humbly but boldly say, “Our soul waiteth for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. Let Thy mercy be upon us, O Lord, according as we wait for Thee.”
Oh, the blessedness of waiting on such a God! A very present help in every time of trouble; a shield and defence against every danger. Children of God! will you not learn to sink down in entire helplessness and impotence and in stillness to wait and see the salvation of God?
In the utmost spiritual famine, and when death appears to prevail, oh, wait on God. He does deliver, He does keep alive. Say it not only in solitude, but say it to each other – the psalm speaks not of one but of God’s people – “Our soul waiteth on the Lord: He is our help and our shield.”
Strengthen and encourage each other in the holy exercise of waiting, that each may not only say of it himself, but of his brethren, “We have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation”.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”