Waiting for Yahweh
(30) The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. (31) The law of God (is) in his heart. His steps do not slip. (32) The wicked (person) watches for the righteous and seeks to kill him. (33) Yahweh will not abandon him to his hand nor allow him to be condemned when brought to trial. (34) Wait for Yahweh and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
David in this passage again contrasts the righteous and the wicked as he did in the previous segment. First, he describes the righteous person in terms of wisdom, justice, and hiding God’s law in his heart so as to keep his feet from stumbling (vss. 30 & 31). He then portrays the wicked person as focused on seeking the destruction of the righteous, watching for an opportunity to bring him down (vs. 32).
David concludes this paragraph with two promises regarding Yahweh’s care. First, Yahweh pledges to protect the righteous one from any attempts by the wicked to destroy or discredit him (vs. 33). Then, regarding the destiny of the righteous, Yahweh guarantees to those who wait on him a glorious inheritance in the land (vs. 34). In an almost offhand way David closes this segment by describing the destiny of the wicked as being cut off in full view of those whom they tried to destroy.
I. What the righteous do (30 & 31)
II. What the wicked do (32)
III. What Yahweh will do for both (33 & 34)
Yahweh promises to protect his own from all who would seek their destruction as well as to provide for them a secure future.
This section contains two breathtaking promises for all who have committed themselves to Yahweh. We can count on his present protection from the wicked who are seeking our destruction. We can also look forward to Yahweh’s generous provision of spiritual and physical blessings represented by our inheritance in the Promised Land. However, there is a proviso that conditions these promises. It is the phrase that opens the last stanza, the command to “wait for Yahweh” (vs. 34). We frequently encounter this same message in other psalms as well as in other places in Scripture. Waiting is not something we relish. We find ourselves impatiently asking, “Why do we have to wait? How long must we wait? What is the purpose in our waiting?”
J. I. Packer, a well-known theologian and prolific author, helps us deal with such frustrations: “Waiting patiently means living out the belief that God orders everything for the spiritual good of his children. Patience does not just grin and bear things, stoic-like, but accepts them cheerfully as therapeutic workouts planned by a heavenly trainer who is resolved to get us up to full spiritual fitness.” As we mature, we come to understand why waiting patiently on Yahweh’s timing is so important. If we do not learn to wait patiently, we stand in danger of short circuiting the program God has specifically designed for our benefit. If we wait patiently, we can rest in the assurance that he will surely accomplish his good purposes in us and through us just as the writer of Hebrews expressed it: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere (wait) so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Heb. 10:35 & 36).