Waiting on the Lord Straightens and Builds Character

This is an excerpt of “Waiting on the Lord” written by, J. Hampton Keathley III,  hamptonk3@bible.org


Waiting Straightens and Builds Ch­ar­ac­ter

One of the emphases in the following three passages is on what hap­pens in us and to us as we learn to wait on the Lord. It builds our charac­ter because through the pro­cess of wait­ing, we learn to depend on the Lord alone and to find our source of strength, security, and joy in Him which is the lesson the Apostle learned and refers to in Philippians 4:11-13. But let’s look at Psalm 37.

Psalm 37:1-11 has three challenges:

(1) Look Ahead. Verses 2, 9a, and 10 are absolute­ly true of everything that is rooted in time and not in eternity. We must learn to wait on God’s time and purposes and turn away from human schemes (vss. 7-9). Compare Philippians 3:20.

(2) Look Up. An obsession with problems, with ri­vals, with painful circumstances and the conse­quent harm­ful attitudes and strategies can­not sim­ply be switched off, but they can be ex­changed or re­moved by a new focus which rests and waits on the Lord (vss. 3-8).

Remember our explanation of what it means to wait on the Lord? It included spending time get­ting to know and love the Lord. Look at verse four “…de­light yourself …” This means “take delight” or “find delight.” Remember Paul and Silas in prison who were singing as well as pray­ing.

(3) Be Productive. This is put forth both in the pos­itive and in the negative. This is seen in “do good” and “dwell in the land” (verse 3), and in the negatives of verses 1 and 8.

  • Doing good involves living for the Lord and posi­tive ministry. It means living out of deep depen­dence on the Lord.
  • Not fret­ting, cea­sing from wrath and anger which leads only to evil doing means setting aside our strategies for handling pain or getting our desires (cf. vs. 4b).
  • Doing evil, the product of fretting rather than wait­ing and resting, constitutes our human sub­stitutes and false routes to joy, a com­mon ingre­di­ent:

All false routes to joy, …  have one thing in com­mon: they repre­sent strate­gies for living that in some measure we can con­trol. They do not re­quire us to yield our core commit­ment to inde­pendence. God’s mes­sage is consis­tent: utter dependency is the route to satis­fac­tion.[1]

The results of all this is verse six, the Lord is free to bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judg­ment as the new day. The result is nothing short of godly character with wise choices reproduced in the life of those believers who learn to wait on the Lord by way of patient faith rather than by self-assertion. These are the meek who will inherit the earth.

Psalm 39:7-8: Deliverance From Sinful Patterns.

Psalm 39:7-8 And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; Make me not the reproach of the foolish.

Psalm 40:1-9: Stability With Obedience

Psalm 40:1-9 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD ;And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear, And will trust in the LORD. 4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. 5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. 6 Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened; Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me; 8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart.” 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest.

[1] Larry J. Crabb, Under­standing Peo­ple, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987, p. 109.


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