Waiting is a normal part of our experience as believers. The Old Testament saints waited thousands of years for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Noah, Jacob, and David experienced extended trials. The New Testament church is still in a lengthy period of waiting for Christ’s return. We do not always know why we must wait, but we know that the sovereign God always places His children in situations where they must wait patiently (see Rom. 8:23–25).
Though we cannot be sure of his particular circumstances, the writer of Psalm 130 gives an intense description of waiting: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning” (vv. 5–6). In one sentence, “wait” is repeated three times and the picture of a watchman twice. A watchman would spend the night straining his eyes to identify potential threats to his camp or city. The darkest hours, well after midnight and just before dawn, would often be the most dangerous. As time passed, watchmen would begin to wait for first light eagerly. They would look forward to the moment when dark shadows turned into discernible objects and they could see threats well before they drew near. The illustration and the repetition, along with the word “more,” tell us that this psalmist was really waiting. The structure of the poetry itself is a picture of the challenges of waiting.
The tone of his testimony, however, is very optimistic. This believer had learned to wait in hope. He was not waiting merely for peace, deliverance, or health. He was not waiting until the latest threat or crisis had passed. Knowing the prophecies of God’s Word, this psalmist was waiting for the Lord Himself. He knew that the Lord had promised to come and deliver His people. He was able to eagerly wait because he had experienced the Lord’s plentiful redemption in the past (v. 7). Knowing himself as a forgiven sinner, he could testify to the nation of Israel that it was worth waiting for the Lord. Psalm 130 ends with a short gospel sermon, a call to hope in the Lord’s “steadfast love” and the “plentiful redemption” that will save His people from all their sins.
The psalmist was eagerly waiting for the Lord’s personal appearance. Though he lived through a long night, he knew by faith that the morning would come. Hundreds of years later, in the birth, death, and especially the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, his hopes were finally fulfilled. Ask yourself: For what am I most eagerly waiting? What do I look forward to more than anything? Do my circumstances lead me to wait more eagerly for His appearing? Like this psalmist, do I share this testimony with others? Many Christians live in contexts that appear to be growing spiritually darker. In the midst of darkness, will you eagerly await His return (Rev. 22:20)?