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New Year’s Expectations

January 1st marks the beginning of a new year, and for most of us, fresh expectations. The dawn of a new decade sparks reflection on the past ten years and the next ten. Perhaps more than usual, New Year’s resolutions, goals, and words fill our feeds. Retailers have jumped on the bandwagon. Marketing strategies reflect the 2020 vision craze. Everywhere you look you’ll find planners and gadgets to help bring your expectations into being.

I have those New Year’s expectations too. I want to read more, feel better, rest well, write consistently. My journal boasts pages of reflection on the past year. You’ll even find a few entries with desires and hopes for the coming year. 

As I think about the year ahead there is a passage of Scripture I keep coming back to. 

Psalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work. 

Psalm 62

There’s one verse I want to focus on, but I think it will be helpful to walk through the passage first. That way we will understand the global context.

Position

In the first two verses, David declares his position.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. 

  • It’s a position of waiting quietly. “For God alone my soul waits in silence.”
  • It’s a position of trust and dependence. “For God alone I wait.” “From Him comes my salvation.” “He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress.”
  • It’s a position of confidence. “I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Problem

Then David turns his eyes to the problem. 

How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah

  • David says “all” were against him. He felt alone, abandoned.
  • “Batter” is translated murder in the NASB. By definition, it is “to break or dash in pieces.” It’s a word of utter destruction.
  • They are after David’s reputation– to utterly destroy it.

Preaching

In the last section David is preaching. First he preaches to himself.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 

He declares position again. It’s a bit different than the first time. Rather than simply stating his position he speaks to himself “O my soul, wait in silence.” 

David preaches to those around. Just as he trusts the Lord, he exhorts those around to trust him too. 

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Remembering

Next David remembers three things.

1. The transient nature of men. 

Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 

2. The transient nature of other things we could trust in.

Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. 

3. The nature of God.

Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work. 

Okay, bring all of this context back into verse 5.

Waiting

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 

The word wait in this verse means to be silent, still, keep silence for someone. To patiently and confidently expect aid.

A few observations based on the context.

  • The waiting is not dependent upon circumstances.
  • It is helped by remembering the transient nature of life and other things we may put our trust in and who God is.
  • David waits in silence.
  • He waits for God alone.
  • He has an expectation of receiving. The word hope in this verse (“my hope is from him”) can also be translated as expectation.

Silent waiting is trustful waiting.

Silent waiting is trustful waiting.

David’s waited silently because He trusted in the Lord. Think of a child who begs and begs. Often this is because he is not sure his request will be granted. On the other hand, if he is sure that he will receive begging is not needed.

Paul and Waiting

In the New Testament there is a passage that conveys a similar sentiment.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 

2 Corinthians 1:8-10

Paul, like David, was surrounded by extreme circumstances. He says “we were burdened beyond our strength”, “we despaired of life”, “we felt we had received the sentence of death.”

On Him We Have Set Our Hope

However, his hope was set, not on a change of circumstances, but on Jesus. Paul says “On him we have set our hope.”

This is what we see in Psalm 62. David’s expectation, his hope, is from the Lord. Even if his circumstances were to change David’s hope wouldn’t. He says, “If riches increase set not your heart on them.”

As 2020 begins we can hope and long for so many things. 

  • A new season of life
  • To be in full-time ministry
  • A new job
  • Healing
  • Difficulty to be removed

None of these things are lasting, everything is transient.  Only Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus is to be our expectation and hope.

What are you waiting for this year? Where is your hope? Is it in transient, temporary, changing things? If it is, you will be disappointed.

No Disappointment

In contrast, the Word of God says:

Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame. 

Psalm 25:3

Put your hope in Christ and you will never be disappointed.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. 

Psalm 62:8