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WAITING ON THE LORD:
'It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.'—Lam. 3: 26
'TAKE heed, and be quiet: fear not, neither be faint-hearted.' 'In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.' Such words reveal to us the close connection between quietness and faith, and show us what a deep need there is of quietness, as an element of true waiting upon God. If we are to have our whole heart turned towards God, we must have it turned away from the creature, from all that occupies and interests, whether of joy or sorrow.
God is a being of such infinite greatness and glory, and our nature has become so estranged from Him, that it needs our whole heart and desires set upon Him, even in some little 119 measure to know and receive Him. Everything that is not God, that excites our fears, or stirs our efforts, or awakens our hopes, or makes us glad, hinders us in our perfect waiting on Him. The message is one of deep meaning: 'Take heed and be quiet;' 'In quietness shall be your strength;' 'It is good that a man should quietly wait.'
How the very thought of God in His majesty and holiness should silence us, Scripture abundantly testifies.
'The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him' (Hab. 2: 20).
'Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God.' (Zeph. 1:7).
'Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord; for He is raised up out of His holy habitation' (Zech. 2:13).
As long as the waiting on God is chiefly regarded as an end towards more effectual prayer, and the obtaining of our petitions, this spirit of perfect quietness will not be obtained. But when it is seen that the waiting on God is itself an unspeakable blessedness, one of the highest forms of fellowship with the Holy One, the adoration of Him in His glory will of necessity humble the soul into a holy stillness, making way for God to speak and reveal 120 Himself. Then it comes to the fulfilment of the precious promise, that all of self and self-effort shall be humbled: 'The haughtiness of man shall be brought down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.'
Let everyone who would learn the art of waiting on God remember the lesson: 'Take heed, and be quiet;' 'It is good that a man quietly wait.' Take time to be separate from all friends and all duties, all cares and all joys; time to be still and quiet before God. Take time not only to secure stillness from man and the world, but from self and its energy. Let the Word and prayer be very precious; but remember, even these may hinder the quiet waiting. The activity of the mind in studying the Word, or giving expression to its thoughts in prayer, the activities of the heart, with its desires and hopes and fears, may so engage us that we do not come to the still waiting on the All-Glorious One; our whole being is not prostrate in silence before Him. Though at first it may appear difficult to know how thus quietly to wait, with the activities of mind and heart for a time subdued, every effort after it will be rewarded; we shall find that it grows upon us, and the little season of silent worship will bring a peace and a rest 121 that give a blessing not only in prayer, but all the day.
'It is good that a man should quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.' Yes, it is good. The quietness is the confession of our impotence, that with all our willing and running, with all our thinking and praying, it will not be done: we must receive it from God. It is the confession of our trust that our God will in His time come to our help—the quiet resting in Him alone. It is the confession of our desire to sink into our nothingness, and to let Him work and reveal Himself. Do let us wait quietly. In daily life let there be in the soul that is waiting for the great God to do His wondrous work, a quiet reverence, an abiding watching against too deep engrossment with the world, and the whole character will come to bear the beautiful stamp: Quietly waiting for the salvation of God.
'My soul, wait thou only upon God!'
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