I wait for the Lord…
By this the psalmist tells us again that his hope is not in himself, but his hope is in the Lord. Who is the Lord? Yahweh, the LORD God of the Jews. And so we read that the psalmist waits for Yahweh to come and grant him relief from his sins. However, in the very next clause he goes on to tell us that he hopes in God’s “word.” This Dabar is the Word that proceeds from Yahweh, who is indistinguishable from the Father in Essence although differing with respect to Person. How can we gather that the psalmist is hoping in the Word made Flesh, Christ Jesus our Lord? Simply by moving down to the parallel imperative given in v.7, where the “Word” is made equivalent to Yahweh. Is there a difference between Yahweh and the Word of Yahweh? To the extent that His Word proceeds from Himself, going forth from everlasting to accomplish His will, communicating His Glory to man, His Word differs from Himself, but essentially there is no difference. God sends forth His Word to redeem Israel from all of his iniquities. This is to say: The Father sends forth His Son (the Word) who is the object of hope for all of God’s elect.
Even if we do not understand this passage to be referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, which I think is untenable, we can still understand this passage to at the least point us back to the protoevangelium given in Genesis 3:15: “…He shall bruise [the serpent’s] head, and [the serpent] shall bruise His heel…” And in this bruising of the Seed of the woman and crushing of the serpent we have the forgiveness of sins. This prophecy pointed to the Seed of Abraham, namely the Seed of David, the Lord Jesus Christ who was bruised for our iniquities and pierced for our transgressions and who, thereby, made a mockery of sin, death, and the devil. This is the Word of Life, the Gospel, that God preached to our first parents, then preached again to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This Word is the hope of the Old Testament saints and ours as well, not a word of socio-political redemption but salvation from the wrath of God, the wrath to come, and liberation from our native bondage to sin. We see this clearly comparing this verse to v.7, where the Holy Spirit tells us that it is through God’s Word that “steadfast love” and “plentiful redemption” comes.
We can say, then, with confidence that whether this “Word” refers to the Lord Jesus Himself or the Gospel promise to be fulfilled in Christ, the end is the same: God’s Word of hope, i.e. the Good News of justification by the imputed righteousness of the Son of God, is the only hope that sinners have. Moreover, this Word is their hope, which means that they look outside of themselves to the Word. In this statement, we have the Law’s power reasserted, while the Gospel is established again as the only means of being able to stand before the Lord, as the only foundation upon which God promises to remember our sins no more. The psalmist not only cries out to the Lord, he does so in faith. He cries out from the depths and he waits. This waiting isn’t work, it is a description of the soul that understands that God is faithful to His Word. He has promised to come down and redeem His covenant people. The psalmist knows this; therefore, the psalmist waits for Him to fulfill this Word, the Gospel.
We who have believed the Gospel are also waiting for the Word of the Lord to “appear a second time, not to deal with sin,” for He fully dealt with the sins of His elect people, “but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” This salvation is the redemption of our bodies, the glorification of the saints, and, therefore, it is also the destruction of all that offends God. John tells us that at the end he “saw heaven open, and behold, a white horse! The One sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war….He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called The Word of God.”As the Psalmist waited for the deliverance wrought by the Word of God at Calvary, we now await the Word of God’s soon return to judge the living and the dead, and to take His elect to dwell with Him, freed of every spot and blemish, and redeemed from the curse of death. [Amen!]