For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress.(Psalm 62:5-6)
It is possible to be waiting continually on God, but not only upon Him. There may be other secret confidences intervening and preventing the blessing that was expected. Yes, “my soul, wait thou only upon God”( Psalm 62:5). There is but one God, it one source of life and happiness for the heart.
You desire to be good: “There is none good but….God(Matthew 19:17), and there is no possible goodness but what is received directly from Him. You have sought to be holy: “There is none holy as the Lord”(1 Samuel 2:2), and there is. O holiness but what He. Y His Spirit of holiness every moment breathes in you. You would gladly live and work for God and His kingdom, for men and their salvation. Hear Him say, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainted not, neither is weary…..He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might be increaseth strength”(Isaiah 40 28-29,31). He only is God; He only is your Rock; “my soul, wait thou only upon God.”
You are an immortal spirit, created not for this world but for eternity and for God. Oh, my soul, realize your destiny! Know your privilege, and “wait thou only upon God.” Let not the interest of spiritual thoughts and exercises deceive you; they very often take the place of waiting upon God. God is for you, you are for God. Wait only upon Him.
Beware of two great enemies: the world and self. Beware of allowing any earthly satisfaction or enjoyment, however innocent it appears, keep you back from saying, “I go…unto my God my exceeding joy”(Psalm 43:4). Remember and study what Jesus said about denying self(Matthew 16:24). Gerhard Tersteegen says, “The saints deny themselves in everything.” Pleasing self in little things may be strengthening it to assert itself in greater things.
How easy it is to trust in self, even as the children of God. How we struggle to do good and right, yet often fall short of our goals. How easy it is even to be engaged in the work of God and leave God standing on the sidelines only called into the game when we find ourselves lacking the strength or wisdom to complete the task. How easy it is to make our plans, live our lives and tackle our challenges as though we were on our own. How easy it is to gather as the church and become so caught up in the rituals of worship that satisfy self and at the same time miss the presence of the very One we have gathered to worship. How easy it is to become so involved in “living right” that we become more focused on rights and wrongs and totally miss the Spirit within us who alone has the power to cleanse us and make us holy.
As Jesus was approaching Jerusalem the week before the crucifixion, He pauses on the mountain overlooking the city. Gathered around Him is the throng who has been caught up in the moment and are shouting, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”, the long awaited Messiah. Suddenly a hush comes over the crowd for instead of a triumphant acceptance of the mantle of Messiah, Jesus begins to weep. As He hears the crowd and beholds the city, He is aware that those who are waiting the Messiah aren’t really waiting for Him but for what He brings. They are waiting for deliverance, and power and prosperity when the oppressors are overthrown. To them it’s not the Messiah but because they have no ability to affect change, they wait. Christ utters these words:
“As He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it [and the spiritual ignorance of its people], saying, “If [only] you had known on this day [of salvation], even you, the things which make for peace [and on which peace depends]! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 For a time [of siege] is coming when your enemies will put up a barricade [with pointed stakes] against you, and surround you [with armies] and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground, you [Jerusalem] and your children within you. They will not leave in you one stone on another, all because you did not [come progressively to] recognize [from observation and personal experience] the time of your visitation [when God was gracious toward you and offered you salvation].”
The Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ day could describe it the minute detail the Messiah and yet when Christ stood in their midst failed to recognize Him. They were so involved in getting every ritual correct they missed very presence.
Suppose you have a family member or best friend that you haven’t seen in a long time. You hear they are passing through town so you invite them to your home. As you anticipate their arrival you want to make sure the house is spotless, the meals are exquisite and the welcome is perfectly orchestrated. You begin to be busy with all the plans and making sure everything is ready. You become so involved in these things that when they arrive you are still putting the finishing touches on everything that you don’t even make time to be with them. The celebration is more important than the actual guest. So they come and they enjoy the festivities and when they leave you’re exhausted and frustrated because you had so much to do that you didn’t get to spend time with them. What you failed to recognize was that your friend didn’t come to visit for the celebration and activities. They really came to visit with their dear friend whom they loved. I’m sure that while they may have appreciated and enjoyed the festivities, they too left disappointed for the very reason they came was to spend time with you and your business with things stole that anticipated time.
I think this is us sometimes when we gather as the church. I wonder if the order of the service, the perfection of the music, the effectiveness of a well ordered sermon and the fellowship with other believers take precedence over just being with Christ and enjoying Him. I wonder in our prayer if we become so occupied with telling God our troubles that we miss His touch and His answers.
As Jesus gives the messages to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation, He points out to the Laodicean church that they are operating as though they can do so without Him.
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust]. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have prospered and grown wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked [without hope and in great need], 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold that has been heated red hot and refined by fire so that you may become truly rich; and white clothes [representing righteousness] to clothe yourself so that the shame of your nakedness will not be seen; and healing salve to put on your eyes so that you may see.
There is a story told that one of the early church fathers while visiting the pope was shown the Vatican. Proudly pointing out the cathedrals and the beauty of the city the pope said, “See, we no longer have to say as Peter said, ‘Silver and gold have I none…’” The early church father is said to have replied, “Neither can we say ‘Rise up and walk in the name of Jesus.’”
As Jesus concludes His words to the Laodicean church He speaks these words:
20 Behold, I stand at the door [of the church] and continually knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (restore him), and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant to him [the privilege] to sit beside Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
While this scripture is used often as an invitation to salvation and is indeed appropriate, in its context it is addressed to the church and believers. What Chris is saying to this church is they have reached a place where their trust and hope is placed solely in their activities and they are so confident in their own abilities that they feel no need to ask help from God. They in essence have left Christ outside their meetings. They have come in and began their ritual and He is outside the door. Our
hearts and His church do not have an exterior door knob. If we wish Christ to come in and fellowship with us we must open the door and invite Him in. He is never a party crasher.
Let us purpose in this coming year to seek the Giver rather than the gifts.
Dr. John Thompson