In the last post, I mentioned that the object of David’s affection was salvation. As I’ve shared many times, the term “salvation” means a wide variety of things. In our section of Psalm 119, it’s clearly about justice. While it is possible that David was waiting for Israel’s promised Messiah, the vital thing to remember is that salvation here had a very real outplay—righting the wrong done to David.
What is Salvation?
We must interpret the Bible correctly. We have to allow words to mean what they mean within their context. If we take every instance of the word salvation throughout Scripture and impose the idea of Christian salvation on it, we will generate theological problems, such as doctrines of salvation that blatantly contradict what we read in the New Testament.
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” – Psalms 51:12 NASB
“I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel.” – Isaiah 46:13 NASB
“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your help makes me great.” – 2 Samuel 22:36 NASB
“My eyes fail with longing for Your word, while I say, “When will You comfort me?” – Psalms 119:82 NASB
There are two very important parts of this verse. 1. The degree to which David waited on God’s word. And 2. David’s honesty in asking for God’s comfort.
Charles Spurgeon said, “To read the Word until the eyes can no longer see is only a small thing compared with watching for the fulfillment of the promise until the inner eyes of expectancy begin to grow dim with hope delayed.”
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Waiting for Salvation
David wasn’t just reading his Bible until he fell asleep, although that would be a better alternative than falling asleep to the television. Rather what David was saying is that his longing for the fulfilled promises of God—for the justice promised to God’s anointed—so consumed him that his eyes were actually failing in their waiting. He was straining to see hope amid the pain. He knew there was hope, he knew where to find it, but he struggled to see it clearly.
“I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.” – Psalms 69:3 NASB
“My eyes fail because of tears, My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is poured out on the earth Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, When little ones and infants faint In the streets of the city.” – Lamentations 2:11 NASB
Both David and Jeremiah were waiting for God to the point of troubled spirits, tears, stopping souls. I have found that many are willing to wait for God for a good thirty minutes or so, but then they’re just going to take matters into their own hands. This only shows our impatience and lack of trust in the Lord.
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9 NASB
David knew what we do not understand. God is not slow. He is worth waiting on! Does this mean we will not lose heart at times or feel alone? No. But these dark nights of the soul are opportunities for training us in the faith. Just as God allowed the children of Israel to go hungry to teach them that they needed Him (remember Deuteronomy 8:2-5), He will allow our justice to be delayed to train us in faith.David knew what we do not understand. God is not slow. He is worth waiting on! Does this mean we will not lose heart at times or feel alone? No. But these dark nights of the soul are opportunities for training us in the faith. Click To Tweet
How far will God go with this training? Even to the point where we ask what David asked in the second part of verse 82, “When will You comfort me?” Does his question seem brash to you? I assure you, this is only the boldness of a child who believed their Father’s promises. David was candid with God. We should be too. This type of cry is not questioning God (as in putting Him on trial). This is seeking Him, honestly, boldly, and yet with reverence. Look at what David says next:
“Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes.” – Psalms 119:83 NASB
This verse is an example of both honesty and reverence.
Let’s first look at the wineskin in the smoke. The effects of smoke are destructive to a wineskin—it renders them useless. David was declaring that he had become like a blackened wineskin, shriveled up in the smoke of persecution—in other words he felt useless. Job also felt this way in Job 30:30, which you should read for yourself this week.
However, in their despair both Job and David experienced a “but God” moment. In David’s case, God’s promises were contained within His statutes and David was confident that not a single word would return void. Even if he didn’t know God’s timing. Do we have this same type of confidence?David was confident that not a single word of God's promises would return void, even if he didn’t know God’s timing. Do we have this same type of confidence? Click To Tweet
Next, we see the honesty and humility of David, which are both truly amazing to me. David had no issue declaring how hard life was at times. He lamented, he even complained, but David didn’t lie to others, himself, or God. When things were hard, David let us know. Why? 1. Because David knew God is not put off by these truths. And 2. Because this type of transparency trains future generations.
How will our children know how to navigate adversity if they don’t see it modeled? How will young Christians know what patient endurance looks like if they do not see others patiently endure? How will they know persistent prayer if we don’t model it? How would any of us learn that God is not intimidated by cares and concerns if we didn’t see David voice his?David had no issue declaring how hard life was at times. He lamented, he even complained, but David didn’t lie to others, himself, or God. When things were hard, David let us know. Click To Tweet
We may find ourselves withered and feeling as useless as a blackened wineskin. But in those times we should mimic David and fall back on God’s statutes. When David did this, he became more than a man in pain, he became our teacher.
As we learned last week, a faithful life always serves as an example to those who fear God. When we follow David’s example, not only do we learn more about God’s character, more about his love, more about his help, but we also begin to teach others through our example.
God didn’t punish David for being brutally honest about his despair, so why do we try to hide our discouragement and despair behind Christian platitudes and fake smiles? Why play church?God didn’t punish David for being brutally honest about his despair, so why do we try to hide our discouragement and despair behind Christian platitudes and fake smiles? Click To Tweet
God sees the inside. He knows it’s just a mask we wear. But what we need to understand is that the mask does no one any good. Being real, being transparent, not only frees us to receive God’s comfort, it also teaches others to do the same.
Challenging circumstances, unfilled desires, hurt, and heartbreak are a reality of life. When we encounter them, may we be like David as we bring them before God, trusting him to save, fulfill, and deliver. Do you believe waiting on God to move will bring you through hard times? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.