Waiting Upon the Lord: A Message of Psalm 145 — By Paul Anderson
An amazing thing about the beauty of the Psalms is that they speak to the minds and hearts of the multitudes from one generation to another. They were composed and used for worship in the ancient days of Israel, and yet they speak to the condition of everyone, in every generation since.
The Psalms were first embraced as musical hymns and choruses — sung by people and worship leaders long ago — and they also serve us well in meaningful worship today.
One such passage that spoke to me powerfully, long ago, in the Oakwood High School choir in Canton, Ohio, was this passage from Psalm 145:15-21, set to music by the amazing composer, Jean Berger. He also was not simply a music composer; he wrote and arranged many a Psalm and biblical text for use in worship, as one of the leading composers of the 20th century.
Here is the passage that still resonates in my heart, several decades later, setting the classic language of the KJV text of Psalm 145:15-21 to music —moving from unison to dissonance to resolution to harmony:
15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
As I ponder the meaning of this text, and I can still feel the music welling up within me, it speaks to me in a number of ways.
First, the eyes of all do indeed wait upon the Lord, as we realize how much we need God, and also as we come to appreciate our indebtedness to the Ground and Source of our Being. To assume otherwise is foolish and short-sighted; only the fool has said in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).
Second, the Lord does indeed give us what we need in due season. Sometimes we have to wait and trust, because we are blind to the Lord’s provision—and sometimes it is still on the way—but being mindful of God’s provision in God’s way and timing invites us to trust, and to wait, patiently and humbly.
Third, as God opens his hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing, we can trust God to provide for the needs of others, not just ourselves, and we become partners with God in seeing to it that the created order is also sustained and provided for. We are thereby drawn into meeting the needs of others, yoking our endeavors with the holy and righteous ways of God.
Fourth, believing that the Lord is nigh to those who call upon him in truth—authentically and honestly—we can also trust that the Lord will preserve those that love him: hearing their cry, fulfilling their desire, and bringing salvation in due time. And, the Lord will also deal with the wicked; we don’t have to.
Finally, the Psalmist declares his intention to speak praise to the Lord with his mouth and with his life, just as all creation glorifies the Creator by its very being. We are thus invited to join in that ageless chorus of the saints, who, with Saint Augustine, endeavor to build that awesome City of God, which has Love as its Law, Truth as its King, and Eternity as its Measure.
As we celebrate with the Psalmist the many ways that God provides for us—aware and beyond awareness—may our lives also become instruments of praise, as we join that ageless chorus of the saints, praising God with our voices and also with our lives. Indeed, the Lord meets our needs beyond imagination, and the only coin with which to repay his gifts is the entirety of our lives, our love, and our devotion.
Written by Paul Anderson