By Henry Mahan
If (by the grace of God) I can learn a two-fold lesson, my attitude will so totally change that I can never be the same again. That lesson is found in verse one of this Psalm--'My soul waiteth upon God' and 'From him cometh my salvation.'
1. What do I do? I wait as a disciple on my Lord's command. I wait as a bondslave at my master's feet. I wait as clay, submissive and surrendered in the potter's hand (Rom. 9:20-23).
2. On whom do I wait? I wait on the sovereign, allwise Lord, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph. 1:9-12), on my heavenly Father, who loves me and works all things together for my good (Rom. 8:28).
3. How do I wait? I wait 'truly,' or sincerely and silently. I wait only upon him. Note the repeated use of the word 'only' in Verses 2, 5, and 6.
4. What are the results of my seeking, looking, and waiting upon God? 'From him cometh my salvation' from the law's curse, from the judgment of sin, from the sting of death, and from all condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
vv. 2 and 6. 'He only is my rock and my salvation.' This is the sum and substance of the Bible. I can find in the scripture no other doctrine than 'salvation is of the Lord.' The 'salvation of the righteous is of the Lord' (Jonah 2:9; Psalm 3:8; Psalm 37:39; 2 Thess. 2:13). Moses exhorted the people to 'stand still (wait) and see the salvation of the Lord.' It pleased the Lord to make us his people (1 Sam. 12:22); it pleased the Lord to bruise Christ in our stead (Isa. 53:10); it pleased the Lord to reveal Christ in us (Gal. 1:15); it pleased the Lord by the gospel to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). He only is our rock and refuge! That, rock (typically and literally) is Christ (1 Cor. 10:4; Isa. 28:16). Christ is our defense against all charges and condemnation (Rom. 8:33-34), for he of God is made unto us all we need (1 Cor. 1:30).
'I shall not be greatly moved;' moved maybe, but not removed! We are like anchored ships that often swing with the tides and winds but are never swept away because we are anchored on the rock, Christ Jesus (Heb. 6:19-20).
vv. 3-4. The believer is never without enemies (Eph. 6:11-13; 1 Peter 5:8-9) . It will be well to remember this. But, like David, it is best to begin with God, our rock and defense, and then to confront the enemy. Make sure of your relationship with the Lord before dealing with the enemy. These enemies are real, but they are defeated and marked for destruction, as a bowing wall and a tottering fence which shall collapse in due time.
What is the goal of the enemy? To bring the believer down from his excellency, which is his standing in Christ--his love for, dependence upon, and total rest in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3-6; Eph. 2:4-9). This is the error of Rome, the error of Arminianism, and the error of the modern cults, to mix works with grace, man's merit with the perfect righteousness of Christ, and to preach salvation conditional on the will and works of man rather than on the will and work of our Lord (John 1:12-13; Rom. 9:15- 16; Titus 3:5-6).
What are the weapons of the enemy? 'They delight in lies.' They say, 'God has done all that he can do and now it is up to you. Take the first step and God will meet you. God helps those who help themselves.' Flattery and sentiment fall from their lips.
They pretend to bless, while they totally destroy a man's hope for life. They cry, 'Peace, peace, when there is no peace.'
vv. 5-8. Amid all these trials, conflicts, and attacks from the enemies of his soul, the Psalmist returns to his original hope as the dove returned to the ark. 'My soul, wait thou only upon God.' The battle is his, and he only can justify me. 'My expectation is from him.' In him dwelleth all fullness and all blessings; he will exalt me in due time (Psalm 27:14). 'He only is my rock and my salvation.' My righteousnesses are filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). 'He only is my defense.' 'If God be for me, WHO can be against me?' (Rom. 8:31-32). What does it matter who is against me? I am complete in him. 'Trust in him at all times.' In times of prosperity or poverty I know how to abound and to be abased (Phil. 4:12-13). In times of fellowship or loneliness he will never leave me. In times of health, sickness, or death he is my refuge. 'I will pour out [my] heart before him.' His heart is set upon us; let us set our hearts on him. Turn your vessel upside down and let your inmost desires, thoughts, sorrows, and joys be poured out like water before the Lord. Hide nothing from him, because nothing can be hid from him. We will learn to pray when we learn to be open and honest before our Lord.
v. 9. Men of low degree and men of high degree are alike; they are all vanity and lies! The masses and majority are not to be trusted nor followed. The elite, educated, and intelligent only promise what they cannot produce and condemn what they do not understand. Wretched is the man who puts his trust in either the multitude or the leaders. They are all lighter than vanity.
Have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3).
v. 10. Trust not in oppression, poverty, nor persecution. A man is not a child of God because he is poor and in need, nor is he a Christian because he has to work hard and eke out a living for his family the hard way. If your riches increase and life becomes easy, don't mistake this prosperity for the favor of God; it may be Satan's way of putting you at ease. Set not your heart upon worldly gain, for many evils are there--idolatry, covetousness, forgetfulness of God, and neglect of worship (Jer. 9:23-24).
vv. 11-12. God needs to speak but once; but I have heard this twice (with my ear and with my heart, in the letter and in the spirit) that power, salvation, and spiritual blessings come only from God in Christ. Also unto our God belongs mercy (Psalm 130:7), and he will render to every man what that man deserves. Those out of Christ shall be judged according to their works. Those in Christ shall be judged according to his works, which are theirs by imputation (Rom. 4:21-25).