Monday Morning Devotional

Week of March 23, 2020

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.” --- Psalm 130:5-6

In today’s passage, the Psalmist describes waiting on God as being as intense as that of a watchman – a military sentinel – watching for the dawn. During times of war, sentinels sometimes stood guard on city walls, and soldiers kept watch in camps, surveying the darkness for lurking danger and waiting in anticipation for the protection that daylight would bring. They knew the certainty of the coming light, so their waiting was not irrational or unrealistic.

Throughout this Psalm we are encouraged to wait for the Lord or put our hope in the Lord, and just as the watchman is certain of the rising sun, the Psalmist has every confidence that God will hear and respond to every cry, “for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption” (v. 7b). To wait in the sense mentioned here is to live expectantly, with awareness of how God has acted in the past, and with keen anticipation of what God can and will do in the future.

Notice at the beginning of the Psalm (vv. 1-4) the Psalmist is crying out to the Lord. He is speaking to God. Then the tone changes and the Psalmist speaks to himself, reminding himself to hope in the Lord (vv. 5-6). Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that which we know to be true. And as the Psalmist is reminding himself to wait on God and hope in the Lord, the tone changes yet again as he calls others in the community of faith to do the same. “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord…” (v. 7a). We should see it as one of our greatest aims in life to encourage others to hope in the Lord, especially in times of uncertainty as we are experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Timothy George recently retired as dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University where I received my Master of Divinity degree. In a sermon entitled “Unseen Footprints,” Dean George tells a story from his graduate student days at Harvard Divinity School. He learned preaching from Dr. Gardner Taylor, a pastor in New York City. He says:

“I'll never forget those lectures. I remember him telling us a story from when he was preaching in Louisiana during the Depression. Electricity was just coming into that part of the country, and he was out in a rural, black church that had just one little light bulb hanging down from the ceiling to light up the whole sanctuary. He was preaching away, and in the middle of his sermon, all of a sudden, the electricity went out. The building went pitch black, and Dr. Taylor didn't know what to say, being a young preacher. He stumbled around until one of the elderly deacons sitting in the back of the church cried out, Preach on, preacher! We can still see Jesus in the dark!"’

Sometimes that's the only time we can see him—in the dark and out of the depths. And the good news of the gospel is that whether we can see him in the dark and out of the depths or not, he can still see us. So we wait on him and hope in his word.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you that we can still see you in the darkness of the coronavirus pandemic, but even if we cannot, help us to remember that you can still see us.