The Christian's Patience
Psalm 40:1-17
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry.…

Patience, as it is not apathy, is not sluggishness, or indolence. There are circumstances which justify haste. For example, we do not walk, but rush out of a house on fire, or falling, a sudden ruin. Patient waiting for the Lord is quite consistent with boldness in design, and energy and promptitude in action; and only inconsistent with those unbelieving, impetuous, ungovernable, headstrong passions which breed impatience, and lead people be run before Providence instead of waiting on it. Of this let me give you two examples.


1. Look at the conduct of Abraham. On his leaving Ur of the Chaldeans to wander a pilgrim in the land of Canaan, God had promised that he should become the father of a great nation. But though the father of the faithful, he formed an unhallowed alliance with an Egyptian; then, with terrible consequences following, he failed to wait patiently for the Lord.

2. Look at the conduct of Rebekah. The Lord had promised that to her younger son Jacob the covenant blessing should be given. But she could not see how this was to be, and so, becoming impatient, she takes steps to anticipate God's time, and lays her hand on the wheel of Providence. Rash woman! she will hurry on the event, and so contrives that lie and deception on Isaac which blasted for ever their domestic peace. Rebekah and he ran before Providence; they did not wait patiently on the Lord.

II. LOOK AT DAVID'S OWN EXAMPLE OF WAITING ON THE LORD. A merchant in times of bad trade, or other trying circumstances, instead of trusting in God to bring him through his difficulties, or sustain him under them, has recourse to fraud; or a poor man, instead of trusting Providence with the supply of his wants, and committing his children to the care of Him who hears the young ravens cry, hard-pinched and pressed, puts out his hand to steal. But how often David was tempted to impatience. How long he had to wait ere the promise made to him was fulfilled. How faint his hope of ever reaching the throne appeared; yet David hoped in the Lord, and patiently waited God's way to put him in possession of the kingdom.


1. We are to wait patiently on Providence in the common affairs of life. To the neglect of this may be attributed not a few of the failures that happen in business. People are impatient to get on in life; to acquire a competency; to be rich.

2. We are to wait patiently on God under the trials of life. He who went forth so magnanimously against Goliath turns pale with fear before those who neither had the giant's stature nor the giant's strength. Where is now the man, whose faith rising with the trial, once said, He that delivered me from the paw of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine! But he feigns madness, letting his spittle fall on his beard, playing himself off for a fool. What a contrast to the heroic trust of Daniel, who, after the night spent with the lions, into whose den he had been cast, was able to reply to the anxious king, My God hath sent His angel, and shut the lions' mouths that they have not hurt me. And who wait on God piously, prayerfully, patiently in their trials, shall have the same tale to tell; the same experience — He will shut the lions' mouths, that they shall not hurt them.

3. We are to wait patiently upon God to complete our sanctification. We cannot be too earnest, too diligent, but we may be too impatient. Take comfort! "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation!" The river may appear flowing away from the sea, when, but turning round the base of some opposing hill, it is pursuing an onward course. The ship may appear to be standing away from the harbour, when, beating up in the face of adverse winds, she is only stretching off on the other tack, and at every tack making progress shoreward, though to others than seamen she seems to lose it. It is star by star that the hosts of night march out; it is minute by minute that we grow in other things. Here also, then, let us wait patiently for the Lord.

( T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

WEB: I waited patiently for Yahweh. He turned to me, and heard my cry.

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