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Sabbath, June 16, 2012

Two Scriptural Gems

I would like to share an experience with you that I had while reading the scriptures several weeks ago.  That evening, God led me to the fortieth Psalm.  I didn’t get much further than the first verse, but that was all I needed to read.  There were two beautiful, rich gems that I gathered from this verse.  Having thus been enriched, I would now like to share this treasure with you. The scriptures plainly tell us, “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8); I pray that you also will share this with others.

Now, you may have already gathered these gems, but to me, they were something new.  Even so, it’s good for us to be reminded of the wonderful treasures that we have in our possession, and the importance of sharing them with others.  And so, I will begin…

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1)

I slowly began reading this verse.  The very first thing I noticed was the first phrase of this verse had a marginal reading.  Anytime I read a verse that has an alternate reading in the margin, I will read that as well.  One may find precious treasure in doing so.

The marginal reading read thus: “Heb. In waiting I waited."  The "Heb." meant that this phrase is the literal translation of the Hebrew text.  So, I read the text with that phrase.  “In waiting I waited for the LORD…”  There I found my first gem.

I pondered on that thought: “In waiting I waited for the LORD…”  What does that mean?  While waiting, I waited?  Well, wouldn’t one have to wait while waiting?  What else could they do but wait?  Then the Spirit of God began to teach me…

Lee, have you ever been in a trying situation where you couldn’t do anything else but wait?  

Yes, I have.  

What did you do in that situation?  

I prayed to God for His guidance and help.  

Then what did you do?  

I waited; I could do nothing else.  

And then?  

Well, after waiting for a time, I became a little anxious.  I began to worry about the situation and pace back and forth mentally.  The closer I got to the climax of the situation, the more fretful I became.  

You were no longer waiting while you waited.  

I was no longer waiting while I waited.

I understood then just what this phrase meant.  How many times do we pray to God about something, and instead of trusting completely in Him and having that peace which “passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), we fret and worry as though there wasn’t a God in heaven?  Do we really wait for the LORD while we are waiting, or do we mentally pace back and forth?  God bids us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)  Yet how often do we fret ourselves right out of His divine hand?  I have found that when we as humans begin to fret, we often start trying to devise our own ways of dealing with situations which aren’t Christ-like.  For example, we don’t tell the full truth about something; we’ll try to cover things up; we’ll make little compromises in principle here and there – all this because we couldn’t wait for the LORD.

The translators did well in using the phrase: “I waited patiently for the LORD…”  Unfortunately, our eyes often look right past that word without pausing to reflect on its meaning. Here are two definitions of the word patient: “enduring pain or difficulty with calmness,” and “capable of calmly awaiting an outcome; not hasty or impulsive.”  That’s the patience of the saints.  Let’s wait while waiting for our God: let’s wait patiently for Him (see James 1:2-4).

The second gem followed quickly.  “…and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”

“He inclined unto me…”  What does it mean that my Lord inclined unto me?  The Holy Spirit again began His divine instruction…

Lee, what does it mean to recline?  

It means to lean back.  

What then does “incline” mean in this instance?  

To lean forward!

God leaned forward and heard my cry!  When I open my mouth to pray, Jehovah—my God—leans forward in His throne to hear what I have to say!  What an awesome and tender and compassionate God we serve!  Can you imagine it?  It’s seems as if He wants to be sure to catch every word: He wants me to know that He is listening intently to what I have to say.  This is incredible!

Another picture came to mind while I was sharing this verse with my grandmother while in Poland.  I thought of a father and his child walking together.  The little child looks way up to ask his father a question, or perhaps to make a request.  What does the loving father do?  He bends down to hear what his child has to say!  It is important to the father, and he wants to be sure to hear his child.  He wants the child to know that what he is saying is important to him.  He might even squat down to look his child in the face at the child’s level.  I won’t take the time to say all that can be said about that image!  I will let your imagination dwell on that.

We have a heavenly Father who loves us.  We are important to Him.  He is interested in hearing what we have to say.  Talk to Him in prayer; speak to Him as you would a loving Father; become acquainted with Him through the Holy Scriptures… especially as He is revealed in the life of His Son Jesus Christ – “the express image” of the Father (Hebrews 1:3).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” (1 John 3:1)  “At that day ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.” (John 16:26, 27)

It is my prayer that you might receive a glimpse of the glory of our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ as you peruse this website.  May each word or thought be an expression of God's love for us.

Always remember to rest in God’s love for you.  He valued you so much that He gave His only begotten Son for you to make you His son or daughter.  Look! the apostle John declares.  What love our Father has given to us, so that we can be called His children!

Then, “be careful (or, anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto [your Father] God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)

(This is another editorial from the archives.  I have made small updates to the original.)

Blog written by: Lee Folkman


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