“Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.”
I spoke of an army on the point of entering an enemy’s territories. Answering the question as to the cause of delay: “Waiting for supplies.” The answer might also have been: “Waiting for instructions,” or “Waiting for orders.” If the last despatch had not been received, with the final orders of the commander-in-chief, the army dared not move. Even so in the Christian life: as deep as the need of waiting for supplies, is that of waiting for instructions.
See how beautiful this comes out in Psalm 25. The writer knew and loved God’s law exceedingly, and meditated in that law day and night. But he knew that this was not enough. He knew that for the right spiritual apprehension of the truth, and for the right personal application of it to his own peculiar circumstances, he needed a direct divine teaching.
The psalm has at all times been a very peculiar one, because of its reiterated expression of the felt need of the Divine teaching, and of the childlike confidence that that teaching would be given. Study the psalm until your heart is filled with the two thoughts—the absolute need, the absolute certainty of divine guidance. And with these how entirely it is in this connection that he speaks, “On Thee do I wait all the day.” Waiting for guidance, waiting for instruction, all the day, is a very blessed part of waiting upon God.
The Father in heaven is so interested in His child, and so longs to have his life at every step in His will and His love, that He is willing to keep his guidance entirely in His own hand. He knows so well that we are unable to do what is really holy and heavenly, except as He works it in us, that He means His very demands to become promises of what He will do, in watching over and leading us all the day. Not only in special difficulties and times of perplexity, but in the common course of everyday life, we may count upon Him to teach us His way, and show us His path.
And what is needed in us to receive this guidance? One thing: waiting for instructions, Waiting on God. “On Thee do I wait all the day.” We want in our times of prayer to give clear expression to our sense of need, and our faith in His help. We want definitely to become conscious of our ignorance as to what God’s war may be, and the need of the Divine light shining within us, if our way is to be as of the sun, shining more and more unto the perfect day. And we want to wait quietly before God in prayer, until the deep, restful assurance fills us: It will be given—’the meek will He guide in the way.’
‘On Thee do I wait all the day.’ The special surrender to the Divine guidance in our seasons of prayer must cultivate, and be followed up by, the habitual looking upwards “all the day.” As simple as it is, to one who has eyes, to walk all the day in the light of the sun, so simple and delightful can it become to a soul practiced in Waiting on God, to walk all the day in the enjoyment of God’s light and leading. What is needed to help us to such a life is just one thing: the real knowledge and faith of God as the one only source of wisdom and goodness, as ever ready, and longing much to be to us all that we can possibly require—yes! this is the one thing we need. If we but saw our God in His love, if we but believed that He waits to be gracious, that He waits to be our life and to work all in us,—how this Waiting on God would become our highest joy, the natural and spontaneous response of our hearts to His great love and glory!
O God! teach us, above everything, the blessed lesson, that all the day, and every moment of it, Thou art around and within us, working out Thy work of love. Show us that Thou only askest of us that we wait on Thee. And so teach Thou to say, ‘on thee do i wait all the day.’
“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”