Midweek Lent 3 Psalm 27
Ps. 27:14, Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.
We know the story of the Prodigal Son from our Gospel lesson on Sunday. The son takes his portion of the property, cashes it in and goes off only to blow it all. When he is at the point of starving and no one will give him anything to eat, he thinks of his father’s hired men. Even they are better off than he is. So he rehearses a speech to beg for a job from his father. What he doesn’t know is that his father has been waiting for him to return. The father spots him coming from a long way off and runs to meet him. Nor does the father wait for his son to get through his well-rehearsed speech the father cuts him off and restores him to the family. As the Lord tells us, “Before you call, I answer.”
As we go through our Lenten journey we find that Jesus is also waiting, waiting to become sin for us even though he has none of his own. Waiting to complete His father’s plan of salvation developed even before He created the heavens and the earth. You see like the father in the parable, God did not wait for us to seek to be reconciled with him. He went ahead and delivered us from sin, death and eternal separation all on his own. While we were still sinners God acted in Jesus Christ to make friends with you and me, not counting against us all the ways we break his laws. In the parable of the Prodigal son the father ordered the fatted calf to be killed for the celebration that his son who was dead was now alive. In our case God sent his own Son to be crucified so that we who were dead could be alive and be restored to His family. Even now we are preparing for the Easter celebration of Jesus restoration to life.
Now when we wait for the Lord, we do so encompassed by the Lord, as indicated in psalm 27, which begins and ends with “Lord.” The psalmist adds, He is our light and our salvation.
When life has turned to darkness, when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death where do we find light? Rick attends the Friday morning bible Class I teach. He is a Vietnam veteran. Recently he said, that in Vietnam, the worst times were at night. “We hated the dark.” Because the ally during the day may be a deadly foe at night. But it’s not a matter of waiting, as the song says, “Waiting for the light that never comes.” A psalmist writes, “even the darkness is not dark to you, O Lord, the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Jesus is the light which, “shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Even in the darkness of that Friday afternoon when Jesus hung on the cross, he was “the light of the world.”
That has meaning for our life even now. Have you survived an accident, and wondered how could it be that I am alive? We have those occasions when something happens, perhaps connected with our work and we need to sit quietly and think about it for a while. It might be some foolish thing we did as a teenager and when we look back we wonder that we made it to age 20. God’s rescue may come in a job when everything looked hopeless. It may be an escape from a destructive relationship, or from an addiction to alcohol or drugs or texting. Thus we wait in hope and expectation a very present help in the time of trouble.
However, waiting does not mean doing nothing. The psalmist goes on to take action in prayer. He prays that the Lord would hear him, “Hear when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me.” In psalm 73 the writer is befuddled and on the brink of losing his trust in God when he thinks of those who succeed even though they are arrogant and lack any sense of conscience, “Their hearts overflow with foolishness.” Until “I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” They were on a slippery slope from which they plunge to a destructive end. For the psalmist it was good to be near God in the fellowship of worship.
Then finally, he confesses, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Though we live our life now in the land of the dying, where suffering and disappointment are every day news, nonetheless we still live in the goodness of the Lord. Clinging to our Lord as our stronghold, our fortress, does not guarantee a life free from adversity nor does it mean all days will be calm and peaceful. Yet, we live in the land of the living where faith is not just a doctrine, but a living trust in the Lord across the times and places of challenge.
“Wait for the Lord,” the psalmist urges us. St. Paul promises, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body. Therefore, stand firm in the Lord.” While we wait for the Lord it is as we prayed on Sunday; that his mercies are new every morning. As His children, He provides for all our needs of body and soul. We ask God’s help in giving thanks for His mercy and pray that we might serve him in willing obedience. Let us heed the word of the psalmist to “Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord.”