Waiting on God: Keeping His Ways
“Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land.”
If we desire to find a man whom we long to meet, we inquire where the places and the ways are where he is to be found. When Waiting on God, we need to be very careful that we keep His ways; out of these we never can expect to find Him. “Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness; those that remember Thee in Thy ways.”We may be sure that God is never and nowhere to be found but in His ways. And that there, by the soul who seeks and patiently waits, He is always most surely to be found. “Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways, and He shall exalt thee.”
How close the connection between the two parts of the injunction, “Wait on the Lord,”—that has to do with worship and disposition; “and keep His ways,”—that deals with walk and work. The outer life must be in harmony with the inner; the inner must be the inspiration and the strength for the outer. It is our God who has made known His ways in His Word for our conduct, and invites our confidence for His grace and help in our heart. If we do not keep His ways, our waiting on Him can bring no blessing. The surrender to full obedience to all His will is the secret of full access to all the blessings of His fellowship.
Notice how strongly this comes out in the psalm. It speaks of the evildoer who prospereth in his way, and calls on the believer not to fret himself. When we see men around us prosperous and happy while they forsake God’s ways, and ourselves left in difficulty or suffering, we are in danger of first fretting at what appears so strange, and then gradually yielding to seek our prosperity in their path. The psalm says, “Fret not thyself; trust in the Lord, and do good. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Depart from evil, and do good; the Lord forsaketh not His saints. The righteous shall inherit the land. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” “And then follows—the word occurs for the third time in the psalm—”Wait on the Lord, and keep His way.” Do what God asks you to do; God will do more than you can ask Him to do.
And let no one give way to the fear: I cannot keep His way; it is this robs one of every confidence. It is true you have not the strength yet to keep all His ways. But keep carefully those for which you have received strength already. Surrender yourself willingly and trustingly to keep all God’s ways, in the strength which will come in waiting on Him. Give up your whole being to God without reserve and without doubt; He will prove Himself God to you, and work in you that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ. Keep His ways, as you know them in the Word. Keep His ways, as nature teaches them, in always doing what appears right. Keep His ways, as Providence points them out. Keep His ways, as the Holy Spirit suggests. Do not think of Waiting on God while you say you are not willing to work in His path. However weak you feel, only be willing, and He who has worked to will, will work to do by His power.
“Wait on the Lord, and keep His way.” It may be that the consciousness of shortcoming and sin makes our text look more like a hindrance than a help in Waiting on God. Let it not be so. Have we not said more than once, the very starting-point and ground-work of this waiting is utter and absolute impotence? Why then not come with everything evil you feel in yourself, every memory of unwillingness, unwatchfulness, unfaithfulness, and all that causes such unceasing self-condemnation? Put your power in God’s omni-potence, and find in Waiting on God your deliverance. Your failure has been owing to only one thing: you sought to conquer and obey in your own strength. Come and bow before God until you learn that He is the God who alone is good, and alone can work any good thing. Believe that in you, and all that nature can do, there is no true power. Be content to receive from God each moment the inworking of His mighty grace and life, and Waiting on God will become the renewal of your strength to run in His ways and not be weary, to walk in His paths and never faint. “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way” will be command and promise in one.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”