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Author:Rev. Jeremy Segstro
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Congregation:Cloverdale Canadian Reformed Church
 Surrey, BC
Title:I Will Wait Upon the LORD (Part 1): In the Day of My Trouble
Text:Psalms 37 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Reading: Psalm 73

Text: Psalm 37



  1. My Path Is Clear

  2. My God Will Be Victorious

  3. My God Will Preserve Me


  1. Psalm 37: 1-3

  2. Psalm 119: 22-24

  3. Psalm 73: 1, 6, 8

  4. Psalm 91: 1, 5

  5. Psalm 1:1-3

  6. Hymn 82:1-2


Words to Listen For: hasten, laments, witchdoctors, doomed, sealed


Questions for Understanding:

1. What’s the difference between “Let go and let God” and “Wait for the Lord” ?

2. Why would we fret because of evildoers?  Why would we be envious of wrongdoers?

3. Where is the wicked man eating his feast?

4. What (or who) is our hope as we encounter the spiritual forces of evil?

5. What’s the problem with the poem “Footprints” ?

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Jeremy Segstro, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved in Christ our Lord,

What can you learn from a LIE?

It might seem like a strange question, but think about it for a moment.

What can you learn from a LIE?


Well, of course, to learn from a lie, you must know that it is a lie.  If you view a lie as the truth, then you will be led astray.

But a lie, labelled as a lie…this can be a wonderful teaching tool.

This is something that the young peoples in this congregation have been finding out in this year of study.  The leaders, as they do amazing work leading and guiding the young believers here, picked a book called “The Gospel According to Satan: 8 Lies About God that Sound Like the Truth” by Jared Wilson.  It’s a fantastic, challenging, and applicable book.                                    

And, as we begin this sermon series about waiting upon the Lord, I remembered one of the lies addressed in this book.  The lie of “Let go, and let God.”

Wait on the Lord.  Let go and let God.

One of these is a lie from the Devil, the other is the truth of God.  Do you know the difference?  Can you tell the difference?


But we must not LET GO AND LET GOD.

There is a difference, and it’s an important one.


So…what so wrong about letting go and letting God?

Well, as Jared Wilson so rightly explains - in the most charitable understanding of Let go and let God…this is an exhortation to repent of our own self-involved agenda, and trust in God.

That’s wonderful…but why can’t we use Jesus’ own words for it: REPENT AND BELIEVE?


But so often, this saying is used in a negative, and even nefarious way.

It is seen as a formula - if you aren’t having a breakthrough, if you aren’t living a completely happy, completely successful Christian life…then this mean that your faith isn’t strong enough.  You have to focus more on yourself and your weaknesses - I’m not letting go enough!

What this saying does, is it takes our eyes off of the power and fulfillment and the work of Christ, and it makes us focus, ruminate, and become obsessed with our own weaknesses.  I have to let go MORE.  I have to let go BETTER.  Because…if I don’t…then God CAN’T work victory in my life.


And that’s the second dangerous element of this saying.



REALLY?  Do you think that you can let GOD do anything?  Do you think that you can prevent Him from doing anything?  God will work in you, despite you.  And He does, so much of the time.

When we were SINNERS, when we were ENEMIES OF GOD, when we were DEAD in our sins, Jesus saved us.  We were loved by God, we were raised from the dead.  How much of THAT did YOU “let God” do?

“Let go and let God” is a lie that the devil tells us, a lie that sounds like the truth, this is a lie that makes us doubt the power of God.  It is a lie that encourages us to take our focus off of Jesus Christ and His work, and, instead, focus in on ourselves.   While it claims to be a selfless saying, it is deeply selfish.  It is deeply wrong.  It is deeply dangerous.

But what then of WAITING UPON THE LORD?  Waiting for the Lord?  As our psalm for this morning tells us?

Verse 7 - Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him

Verse 34 - Wait for the LORD and keep His way

What exactly is the difference here?  Well, over the next few weeks, we will examine, in detail, what it means to wait upon the Lord.

We will examine

  • Waiting upon the LORD in the Day of My Trouble (Psalm 37)

  • Waiting upon the LORD in the Day of My Sin (Psalm 38)

  • Waiting upon the LORD in the Day of My Fleeting Life (Psalm 39)

And finally:

  • Waiting upon the LORD in the Day of My Salvation (Psalm 40)


So this morning, we begin our sermon series, proclaiming with the Psalmist:

I WILL WAIT UPON THE LORD: IN THE DAY OF MY TROUBLE.  We will see that each of us can wait because

  1. My Path Is Clear

  2. My God Will Be Victorious, and finally because

  3. My God Will Preserve Me



Waiting upon the Lord.  This is a theme throughout the Old Testament, especially in the psalms.  There are at least 32 instances of the word “wait” in this context, with many other allusions to it, and other words used.

This isn’t something we can ignore.


And, lest we think this is just an Old Testament phenomenon, something fulfilled by Christ - they waited in the LORD and then He came…another 10 times or so, this appears in the New Testament.

In Romans 8, we learn that, first, creation is groaning while waiting.  And then we too wait while groaning.  Waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.

In 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, and Titus, we learn that we must wait with the church, we wait for the revealing of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Waiting eagerly for His return.

In Galatians we are encouraged to wait eagerly for the hope of righteousness, in 2 Peter we are told to wait for, and even HASTEN by our actions, the Day of the Lord.

This isn’t something we can ignore.


And we see that waiting for, or waiting upon the Lord is different in two ways from the lie of Satan - Let go and Let God.

Firstly, waiting on the Lord is an acknowledgement, rather than a denial of the sovereignty, the absolute power of our God, and secondly, waiting on the Lord is something ACTIVE, even when it is PASSIVE.  More this throughout.

Let’s get to our text.


Fret not yourself because of evildoers; do not be envious of wrongdoers.

Fret not yourself

The way is clear - we can learn the positive, how to walk through our lives, following that clear way laid out for us in Scripture, by learning what to reject.  Do not walk in this way.


Do not FRET because of evildoers

And do not be ENVIOUS of wrongdoers

These are two separate, but related instructions to us.


Do not fret because of evildoers - why would we fret?  Because they are doing evil against us.  David knew this throughout his life.  Better than most.

Scholars estimate that David was on the run from King Saul, living in the wilderness, for approximately 12 years.

And that’s not even taking account of the enemies who sought to take his life while he was still loved by Saul, and all the battles, even uprisings by  his own sons, when he was king.

We learn from verse 25 that David writes this psalm when he is old.  And throughout his life, he has been taught, directly by God, and indirectly by God through his experiences, that there is no need to fret because of evildoers.

And one of you might say - “How can David say this?  They’re EVIL.  They want to put the righteous to DEATH!  They seek my can I NOT FRET?”

“If I don’t fret, if I don’t plan, if I don’t build a 50 foot wall with razor sharp wire at the top, if I don’t fill up a gun cabinet…”

“If I don’t protect myself…who will?”


If I don’t protect myself, who will? 

There is nothing sadder than hearing this argument from a child of God.


“If I don’t protect myself…who will” ??  

Have you forgotten who you are?  More importantly, have you forgotten WHOSE you are?

You belong…to GOD.  GOD will protect you.


Do not fret because of evildoers.  Do not let your mind be filled with the evil being done in this world.  For it will emotionally paralyze you.  The more you look into corruption and evil, the more you are glued to the news…the less peace you will have.

It’s not that ignorance is bliss…it’s simply removing yourself from the one-sided stories that completely forget about God.

Do not fret, David says.


And…do not be envious of wrong-doers.

We are tempted to FRET because evildoers rise against us, but we are tempted to be envious…because wrong-doers do whatever they want, and there seems to be no consequence.

When wrong becomes prosperous, we might begin to re-evaluate whether it’s really wrong or not.  We think…maybe I was a little harsh.

Again, when we do this, we are removing God from the equation.

Take the example of an affair -  a husband finds his female coworker attractive, and begins an affair with her.  The affair turns into something more, there are feelings involved now.  The husband leaves his wife, and marries his mistress.  They have a long and passionate marriage and are blessed with several wonderful children.

But…that’s not how it’s supposed to be!  Marital infidelity is WRONG.  It is EVIL.  It should be PUNISHED, not rewarded.

But…God didn’t do anything…so…maybe affairs aren’t so bad?  After all, God is a God of love, isn’t He?  And I DESERVE a beautiful, passionate, understanding wife.  The one I have…not really interested in her anymore.

The Bible says one thing - do not commit adultery

Experience seems to say something else - adultery pays off!  Do it!

And this is where our reading comes in.

We see the the psalmist Asaph is in the middle of a struggle that the psalmist David has already been through.

David has concluded - Do not be envious of wrong-doers, but Asaph, at the beginning of Psalm 73 says - I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

And Asaph mourns.  Asaph laments, in verse 13 - all in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.

But then.  But then Asaph remembered the Lord.  Then Asaph began to WAIT UPON THE LORD.  Asaph went into the sanctuary of God.  He fell to his knees, he laid his concern before God…and what does the text read?

Then I discerned their end.  Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors.

And then he praises God: Whom do I have in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you!

Asaph has learned to wait upon the Lord.


Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrong-doers!  For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

The prosperity of the wicked is TEMPORARY.  It WILL NOT LAST.  What is 50 years in the light of eternity?

I once heard it explained like this, picture the scene.

You see a wicked man surrounded by rich food.  He has an enormous steak cooked to perfection - medium rare - lobster, mashed potatoes, and a very expensive bottle of wine.

And then you see a mother.  A hard-working widowed young mother who depends on the Lord, going hungry to feed her children.  Her plate is empty, and on their plates, just a single piece of bread.

How is this FAIR?  How is this RIGHT?  We should switch their places.

But zoom out, and you see that the wicked man is wearing an orange jumpsuit.  He is eating behind bars on death row.  This is his final meal, and in a few minutes he is about to be executed for his crimes.  Are you going to envy him still?

This is the reality of the wicked.  The wicked live on death row.  Do not envy them.

But instead, wait upon the Lord.

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Notice here that trusting in the LORD, another way to speak of waiting on the LORD, is not something that is purely passive, like “letting go and letting God.”

But instead, what does it look like?

Trusting in the LORD…this means

  • Do good

  • Befriend faithfulness

  • Delight yourself in the LORD

This is the path that we must walk.  It is clear.  These are the instructions of our God.  Do not let your experience…your experience being attacked by evildoers, being envious of wrongdoers…do not let that muddy the waters.

What we are called to is to trust in the LORD.

And trusting in the LORD begins, as all things in the Christian life do…it begins with PRAYER.

First, pray.  Seek His counsel, submit to His wisdom, recognize His power.

Pray in this way: Heavenly Father, I feel trapped.  I feel as though there is no way out.  I am like Solomon at the beginning of his reign -  I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in…give therefore your servant understanding.  Please show me the way to go.  I cannot do it my own strength, please show your strength.  Fill me with strength that I might do your work, or fill me with patience that I may watch you do your work and rejoice.

First, we must pray.  Then we must listen for that still small voice.  We must seek out God’s will.

Are we to be still?  Perhaps!  Perhaps we to be as the Israelites were at the Red Sea - Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.

There are times when we must confine our actions to prayer.

But there are other times when we are encouraged by God to act.  2 Samuel 5, David waits on the LORD, prays to Him, seeking His will, and God tells David to fight.  Go up, fight against the Philistines, for I will give them into your hands.

There are times when waiting upon the LORD means action.  Prepare, train, work, fight, argue, struggle.  But even in all of this, note what God said to David - fight against the Philistines, for I will give them into your hands.  Even though the action is OURS, the power belongs to GOD.  Even in action, wait upon the LORD.  Maintain that humble reliance upon Him.

Do good, befriend faithfulness, delight yourself in the LORD.

This is the path we must walk.  And this path is clear, even if the ending isn’t.  The path is clear even if it feels futile and hopeless.  When we despair like Asaph and wonder: “What good is doing good in a world of evil?”  We must answer ourselves, we must preach to our own soul: “This is the BEST GOOD.  This is the LASTING GOOD.  This is the ETERNAL GOOD!”  And we can rest in the Lord, because He will be victorious.  Our second point.

We skip ahead in our psalm to verse 12.

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He sees that his day is coming.

Again, I encourage you to remember David’s life.  Remember that David is writing this knowing exactly how it feels for the wicked to plot against the righteous.  Remember that David waited on the Lord for 12 years as he ran and hid from Saul.  David isn’t ignorant here…instead, David sees the whole picture.

We don’t know how often David doubted and even despaired in the wilderness during those 12 years, but now, when he is old, and is looking back on his life, he sees the Lord at work throughout his sorrows, throughout his sufferings.

Throughout all of this…God was there.  God allowed evil - and that’s hard to understand, but we have to trust.  God allowed evil…but only for a time.  There is a recompense.  There is an end.

He sees his day coming.

God sees that the day of the defeat of the wicked is coming.  And of course He sees it, for He is the warrior who causes it.

God is the warrior.  God is the fighter.  He is the one leading the charge into battle.  He is a true king.

For this is what kings were like in the days of old.  When we imagine kings, we imagine pomp and circumstance, we imagine men in their ivory towers, sending the soldiers to fight and die while they merely watch.  But once kings were noble.  Think of King Saul at the very beginning, leading the armies.  Think of King David, before Bathsheba, leading the armies.  This is our God.  He does not sit up in Heaven merely watching the people of the earth fight and squabble.  No!  He Himself fights for His people!  He Himself leads the charge!

And this is what we must remember.  We must remember that the battle is the Lord’s.

This very thing came up in the Senior catechism class this past week.  We were discussing REAL EVIL.  The spiritual forces of evil and how they interact with this world.   How they interact with us as believers.  I spoke of witchdoctors.  Evil men and women who have opened themselves up to the occult and have real demonic power.  This is primarily in other countries - African countries, some Asian countries, Papua New Guinea, but even here with ouija boards, with Tarot cards, crystals, and fortune tellers.

And one student was taking all of this to heart so seriously, that there was some anxiety produced in him.

“Sir, how can I be protected?  What if I encounter a witchdoctor?  What can I do?”

And I told him, I told the whole class to turn to Ephesians 6.

And I’m telling you this now too.  Turn with me please, to Ephesians 6.


Here we can see how even fighting, even standing firm against the spiritual forces of evil…even our death match with the devil and his demons…this is resting in the Lord.  This is waiting upon Him!

Ephesians 6, starting at verse 10

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.


Notice what Paul is doing here already.  Be strong…not in yourself, not in your cleverness, not in your self-righteousness, not in the strength of your arm…but be strong in the LORD and in the strength of HIS MIGHT.  HIS - NOT YOURS.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Paul’s battle wasn’t REALLY with human beings.  Though he was dragged before human governors, though he was condemned to death by a human emperor…the real enemy of the Christian is the spiritual forces of evil.

David’s battle wasn’t REALLY against Saul.  Or Goliath.  Or the Philistines.  It was against the spiritual forces of evil.

And also us.

And what can we do?  What MUST we do?

We must wait upon the LORD.  We must depend on Him, even as we fight.

For look at the armour.  Look at the weapons.

  • The belt of truth - that’s GOD’S TRUTH.

  • The breastplate of righteousness - that’s the righteousness of CHRIST

  • Feet fitted with the readiness given by the gospel of peace - God accomplished the gospel, not you.  Our peace with Him came from Him.  The curtain in the temple was torn in two, signifying peace, and it was torn FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.  FROM GOD TO US.

  • The shield of faith - a gift of the Holy Spirit

  • The helmet of salvation - yours by the grace of God

  • The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God - it’s right there in the name, HIS Spirit, HIS Word.

All of this…all of this armour…is GOD’S ARMOUR.  Given to you.  When we wait upon the Lord, we might wait in quietness, we might wait in restfulness.  Or we might wait in action.  We might wait while fighting demons on the battlefield.

We must wait, we must trust.

Turning back to our text, Psalm 37, picking it up at verse 14 - The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

It seems to be no coincidence that the wicked man who had opposed David for so many years of his life, who had come after him with the sword, died by that very same sword.

King Saul, the wicked man who caused David so much trouble, ended his own life by falling on his sword.

This is a literal interpretation of this, but there are two others, both of them true, both of them applicable to us today.  Two other interpretations - let’s call them: the general application, and the Christological application.

The general application - David is not only speaking of one incident, but truly what the Holy Spirit is saying through David is that nobody in this life, nobody gets away with anything.  Nobody gets away with anything, ever.

Sins WILL be punished.  The consequences WILL COME, no matter how long it takes.

The Lord laughs at the wicked, for He sees that his day is coming.  If you play with fire, you will be burned.  Because that’s what fire DOES.  When you live in sin and evil and wickedness, you will receive punishment and death because that's what sin DOES.


And now Christ.  Now Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The wicked draw the sword…their sword shall enter their own heart.

Ultimately, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David is looking ahead a thousand years or so, to the greatest defeat of the greatest evil.

Satan looked around for his sword, for his bow, for his ultimate weapon and settled on the cross.

I will bring down the Saviour with THIS.  What a good weapon.  And God said, “You’re absolutely right.  It is a good weapon.  The perfect weapon.”

For Satan was taken down by his own weapon.

JUST WHEN HE THOUGHT HE HAD WON…the Saviour of the world, seemingly in his grasp, arrested, His followers having fled, condemned to death…no salvation from a dead man!  It was then, when the Saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, was breathing His last, did He triumphantly cry: IT IS FINISHED!

It was at this moment he knew…that he was doomed.

Because it was through the cross, the greatest weapon of the Devil, that the Devil was defeated.  It was FINISHED.  Jesus had paid the cost of God’s justice.  The wages of sin is death…and our Saviour died.  The wages of sin is Hell - separation from God, and Jesus was forsaken.

Satan was defeated by his own weapon.

Victory - ultimate victory, ultimate salvation…is in the hands of the Lord.  We need only to wait upon Him.  Depend on Him.  And, while we wait, as we long for that full salvation, when  Satan’s mortal wound finally results in his death…we know that we will be preserved by our God.  Our final point.

We will be preserved by God - this is our great comfort.  This is our great strength, especially when we may feel as though we are falling.  Even when we HAVE FALLEN.

We read of this amazing comfort in verse 24 - though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong.

Put into more modern language - if you fall as a believer, you will not fall the whole way.

And why?

Because of our own strength?  Because the waters of baptism put an unbreakable chain around our foot?

No!  For the LORD upholds his hand.

Throughout all of this, whether you feel it or not, the LORD is upholding you.

It’s like that famous poem footprints - when there is only one set of footprints in the sand, that’s when the Lord is carrying you…I like it…but there’s an issue here.  My issue with this poem is that there should have been one set of footprints in the sand THE WHOLE WAY.

For in good times and in bad times, in times of joy and in times of struggle…the LORD is carrying you.  The LORD is upholding you by His mighty right hand.

And we see that this isn’t the case for all people…there is a divide, a distinction in how God cares for the righteous and the wicked.

Verse 17 - For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

If you spend your entire life raging against God, attacking His people, scorning His law, not resisting the draw to sin, but jumping in and splashing around…you will get what is coming to you.  Your arm will be broken, your power over the weak, the poor in spirit, those who struggle and suffer…it will be broken, you will no longer have power to terrorize the weak.

But for those who long to serve God, and do it imperfectly, for those who fight against their sins, those who love God’s law, those who depend on God’s Saviour and wear God’s armour…THEY will be upheld.

And one of you might ask… “Wait a second, if Jesus said it was finished…if the cross dealt a mortal wound to the devil…why do we still need to be preserved?  Isn’t it over?  Can’t we just rest?”


Well…yes, and no.


The Devil has indeed suffered a mortal wound…but he’s not dead yet.  Evil still exists.  The wicked still exist, and they attack the church.  Though their fate is sealed it has not yet arrived.

So no, we can’t rest yet.

But…we also can rest…if by “rest” you mean that we can wait upon the Lord.   We rest, even while we fight…because we know the outcome is secure.  Christ will have the prize for which He died, an inheritance of nations.  That’s US.  We are that prize.

For what do we read in verse 18?

The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever

This should bring to mind the earlier verse, verse 13 - The Lord laughs at the wicked, for He sees that his day is coming.

The LORD knows the days of the blameless

But the Lord sees the day of the wicked is coming.

And note here, just briefly, that these titles for God are two different titles.  Lord in all capital letters in verse 18 - Yahweh - our covenant God, our faithful God, our loving God, the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Our heritage will remain forever because HE is forever.

But verse 13, Lord, not in all capitals.  This means master or sir.  This means RULER.  This means JUDGE.

The focus of verse 13 is God’s authority, whereas the focus of verse 18 is God’s LOVE.

And just briefly as we close…and I know, we didn’t get to all the wonderful verses of the psalm…and they are so wonderful, so comforting, I encourage you to meditate on this psalm this week, perhaps read it over a few days for devotions…

But to close this psalm, let’s look at the final few verses, skipping forwards briefly to verse 34, and then ending with 39 and 40.

Verse 34 - Wait for the LORD.  David says it again, because we NEED TO HEAR IT AGAIN.  David says it again, because we DON’T DO IT.  Wait for the LORD and keep His way - actively waiting.

Wait for the LORD and keep HIs way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

The righteous will inherit the land - and in our context, it’s not about the physical land, it is about God’s heavenly Kingdom.  It’s no longer about the earthly Jerusalem with the earthly temple, but about the Heavenly Jerusalem, and the city of God.

He will exalt you to inherit the land - He will make you…sinful, struggling saints…He will make you fit for heaven (more on that this afternoon).  He will lift you up, transform you, glorify you, make you dwell in His kingdom forever.

You will look on when the wicked are cut off - glorification, everlasting life in the kingdom…this is not a promise for the wicked.  They receive a different “reward.”  The wicked, who seem so powerful right now…they will be cut off.  The righteous will receive everlasting LIFE, the wicked will receive everlasting DEATH.  For the wages of sin is DEATH but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And finally, verse 39 and 40 - The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble.  The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in Him.

If you remember nothing else, remember these verses.

The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD - it’s not in your strength that you have victory.  Do not believe the lie of “Let go and let God” which depends solely on you and how strong your faith is, and how loose you make your grasp.

It is from the LORD - rest in HIM and HIM ALONE.


He is their stronghold in the time of trouble

There is trouble…but there is also a stronghold.

There is evil…but it will end.

There is Satan…but there is also a Saviour.

Let me close with words of comfort and encouragement, these words of the preacher Christopher Ash: “We praise, not because the present is easy, but because the future is glorious.”  Wait upon the Lord.


* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Jeremy Segstro, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Jeremy Segstro

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