Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.…
When you have nothing to do, and there is nothing to produce anxiety, it is easy to wait — for it is laziness; and all men are apt by nature to be lazy. But when there is anything that you have set your heart upon, it is very hard to wait, especially if the thing does not come as soon as you expect it to. Waiting is easy when it is sinful, and hard when it is a duty. You tell your child that this pine-tree out here in the sandy field is one day going to be as large as that great sonorous pine that sings to every wind in the wood. The child, incredulous, determines to watch and see whether the field pine really does grow and become as large as you say it will. So, the next morning, he goes out and takes a look at it, and comes back and says, "It has not grown a particle." At night he goes and looks at it again, and comes back and says, "It has not grown a bit." The next week he goes out, and looks at it again, and comes back and says, "It has not grown any yet. Father said it would be as large as the pine-tree in the wood, but I do not see any likelihood of its becoming so." How long did it take that pine-free in the wood to grow? Two hundred years. And do you suppose that God's kingdom is going to grow so that you can look at it and see that it has grown during any particular day? You cannot see it grow. It has been rising all the time, only you could not see it rise." When, therefore, God says, "Wait patiently," there is good reason in it. Now, apply these general truths.
1. To the men who laugh and jeer at the whole idea. They believe only in the selfishness of men, and that nothing good can be made out of them. But they are shallow men, and have no faith in the overruling providence of God. Because progress is so slow, and many professed Christians are traitors, and because God works in plans too vast for them to understand, they say, "It is folly to be talking about advancing the world. It is a poor, mean world, and we must make the best of it. Eat, drink, and be merry, O soul, for to-morrow you shall die." Yes, and perish! For God sits in judgment, and though the day of His coming seems to be long delayed, yet we, with strong assurance of faith, resting on the pledged word of God, do look for the "new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness."
2. Consider the folly of the discouragement which many feel because men are so imperfect, particularly those who go from a higher to a lower state of society. In the army the soldier learns to put up with things that are worse than those which he has been accustomed to. No soldier, when he is on a raid, thinks of having a parlour like his mother's, or sitting down in a kitchen before a fire when he is wet and cold, as he has often done in his father's house. He is contented if he can find a dry spot under a tree to lie down on. He makes up his mind that he must adapt himself to his circumstances. But many men go down into states of society very different from those to which they have been used, and because they are not men enough to do the work; because some men are clumsy and rude; because some are deceitful and dishonest; because men are just what they always have been, they are disgusted. They cannot wait for a better condition of things to come about through the processes of time and Divine power. To such men the word is, "Wait on the Lord; wait patiently; and by and by He shall give you the desire of your heart."
3. Consider the folly of envying wicked men when they are in power, and thinking that perhaps it is worth while to be as wicked as they are. This is the very thing that the psalmist says you must not do. "Fret not thyself in anywise to do evil, neither be thou envious against workers of iniquity." Their prosperity, says the psalm, in effect, is at the beginning, and not at the end. When men eat opium, they at first experience feelings of ecstasy, and they see visions, and dream dreams, and have a glorious hour or two; but when they have gone through these pleasant experiences, then what have they? Purgatory on earth! The after part is hideous to them in the proportion in which the fore part was agreeable. Pray on, then. Trust in God! Do not listen to any one who would make you discontented. I beseech of you, have faith, not in man, but in Him that loved you, that redeemed you with His precious blood, that sitteth on high, and that hath decreed that every yoke shall be broken, and that the oppressed shall go free.
(H. Ward Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.