I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me,
and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible
pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and
established my steps.” – Psalm 40: 1-2.
It is so hard to wait on the Lord. Especially when one is in trouble or hurting and there just isn’t anyone else who can help. Truthfully, that is not a bad place to be in, since our natural propensity is to lean on God very half-heartedly most of the time. If we want a good spiritual road check I suggest that all we do is to realize how quickly and easily we slip back into the driver’s seat of our lives whenever we think that things are within our own control. Limited dependence on God is the Christian’s default position and the cause of many of his troubles. What God wants from us; what He has always wanted from men and women is total dependence. This is one of the reasons God puts us to waiting for things. If circumstances are against us and nothing is happening to change them it is second nature for us to want to manipulate the situation so the ‘things get done.’ In most cases things don’t change and we have to wait for God to do something.
David understood this. He knew who was in control, and he “waited patiently for the LORD.” David faith caused him to see both that God hears and that He considers. That is why this Psalm twice refers to the thoughts that God has toward us (vv. 5, 17). If we are sure that God is thinking about us, that “He knows what we need before we ask” we have more than sufficient reason to allow faith to settle us. Not that we shouldn’t pray for God to help us quickly. Twice also David asks for just this (vv. 13, 17). That is not a contradiction of his attitude in verse 1, since patience is necessary if God decides not to act when we would like Him to.
Let us not forget that Psalm 40 is both a record of God’s past and present dealings with the author. On the basis of what God did in the past (v. 2) David can have assurance in the present. And what had God done? He had delivered his saint from a desperate situation, described as “a horrible pit” and “miry clay.” In other words, a place of anxiety and discomfort; a position that looked for all the world as if it would only get worse. But God saw and at the right time, when David’s heart and mind had been trained in reliance upon his Maker.
What is significant about God’s deliverance is how full it was. Described by David as a “rock,” a solid point from where he could go forward. But it didn’t stop there. God also “established” his steps. His providence made a sure path for the writer’s feet. It is a great gift from the Lord when He clears all obstacles out of our way and then tells us, “This is the way; walk ye in it.”