FEB. 26 – LEARNING TO WAIT, WAITING TO LEARN
DEVOTIONAL: Lent is a season of waiting and preparation. For the Psalmist, waiting offers the opportunity to learn. Psalm 25 is an a-b-c-Psalm, an acrostic, meant to be used as a memory device for teaching and learning. Each verse begins with a new letter in the alphabet. In this case, the Psalmist surprisingly adds an additional letter “p” at the end of the alphabetized Psalm, so that the first, middle, and last verses of the Psalm spell the Hebrew word a-l-p, which translated means “to learn” or “to teach.” Throughout the Psalm, the poet repeatedly asks God to teach: teach God’s ways (4), teach the truth that leads to salvation (5), instruct those who sin to do what is good and upright (8) and teach those who humble themselves before God, the right way to live (9).
There’s an old French saying, “people count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.” Not so, for the Psalmist. Instead of pointing out God’s faults, waiting “all day long” becomes an opportunity to learn about God’s infinite mercy, God’s great faithfulness and steadfast love.
We all experience times of waiting in our lives reflected by the season of Lent. We wait night and day for love, for job satisfaction, for children, for peace, security, forgiveness, healing, hope and much, much more. We wait for Easter, for the resurrection. The Psalmist knows such longing and pleads our case: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” But, the Psalmist also turns our waiting into a wonderful opportunity to learn from God our Master Teacher. In waiting, we learn of God’s faithfulness to us through difficult times and God’s steadfast love for us no matter what. Apparently, for the Psalmist, some things worth learning are worth waiting for.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 25:1-10 (NRSV)
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.