7 Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. 8And he shall redeem Israel from all hisiniquities.
THE ORIGINAL context of this psalm isn’t known, but the tradition of reading these verses as the pilgrims headed to Jerusalem is. As we’ve followed the cries of the psalmist, we know that an enemy threat was the likely cause of their prayers. And even though we don’t know the source of concern, the psalmist prays for Israel to hope in the Lord, whose mercy and redemption is promised to all who trust in Him, including deliverance from iniquities!
The apostle Paul wrote: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strength- ened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom . . . ” (2 Timothy 4:16-18). By Paul’s comment, “At my first defense,” we know that there was some waiting involved on his part. Whether the “mouth of the lion” was literal or not is irrelevant in light of the fact that God is able to deliver us from every evil and preserve us for His kingdom.
We’ve now arrived at the concluding truth for our Wait Watchers meetings: Every time of waiting should be approached with a spirit of expectancy. Most of us have been through seasons of waiting, feeling like nothing would ever change. Nothing would get better. The wrong against us would never be made right, and God would never change the answer from “wait” to a solution. Can you justify those “feelings” from Scripture? How did Paul view such times? “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim 4:8). And, “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
How will we rise up to meet Jesus in the air? Are the wrongs done against us going to matter? Are those times of waiting going to be on our minds as we look at the face of our Savior? One day, at the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, everything else will fade away: the check in the mail that never came, the apology from one who betrayed you, the injustice that was never settled. Meanwhile, we should face every period of waiting with the expectant hope of mercy and ultimate redemption. That should give us the impetus needed to do as Jesus instructed us in Luke 12:35-38: “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and . . . be like men who wait for their master . . . that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master will find watching. . . . I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should . . . find them so, blessed are those servants.”
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