By James Boice
Theme: The Soul’s Prescription
In this week’s lessons we are reminded of the need to confidently wait upon the Lord to answer our prayers.
Scripture: Psalm 27:1-14
2. We seek to be heard. Sometimes children talk to us only because they want to be listened to, not really caring what we say in response, and unfortunately many parents are too busy to listen. Is God ever too busy to listen when we speak to him? Never! Why don’t we do it more often then? The reason is that we are too busy, not God. Or perhaps the reason is our sin or unbelief. Perhaps we do not really believe that God is a true listening parent, a parent who says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).
3. We seek guidance. Which of us knows the way to walk so we will be kept out of sin and so make progress in the way of righteousness? Not one! We no more know how to live our lives for God than children know how to avoid danger and care for themselves and others. They need to be taught, as do we. In God we have one who can be turned to for guidance. David prays, “Teach me your way, O LORD, lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors” (v. 11). He prays confidently because he knows that God will do it.
4. We seek protection. The fourth thing a child looks for in a parent is protection, and David is certainly seeking this of the Lord because of his many enemies. They are the background of the psalm, being mentioned as early as verse 2 and being suggested even in verse 1 (“whom shall I fear? … of whom shall I be afraid?”). They are the bad bullies of the neighborhood, and David needs the protecting presence of God just as a small child needs his father in such circumstances.
Does David have the acceptance, answers, guidance and protection he needs from God? Yes, because the psalm ends on this note, returning to the tone of quiet confidence with which it began: “I am confidence of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (v. 13). David is not speaking about the afterlife here. He is speaking about “the land of the living”—the here and now.
But there is this warning, which I call a prescription (vv. 13, 14). The things he is praying for (and for which we pray) do not always come to us at once. God has his timings, which are not ours, and therefore what we pray for and need is sometimes delayed. What then? Are we to despair of having answers, to lose confidence? Not at all! We simply need to wait. “Wait on the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (v. 14). If some wealthy person promised to give you an expensive gift, wouldn’t you wait for it expectantly? If you were in trouble and a king were coming to your aid, wouldn’t you be alert for his appearance? God is just such a generous benefactor and powerful king. He is well worth waiting for. It is a privilege to wait for him. Yet how little true waiting most of us really do.
- God commands us to pray to him, and yet we do not do it as often as we should. What are some reasons for this disobedience?
- What are the other things David asks of the Lord?
- What needs to characterize our waiting upon the Lord?
Application: Make a list of ways in which God has provided these things David mentions.
For Further Study: To learn more about the presence of the Lord from a well-known Old Testament story, download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “The Gate of Heaven.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)
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