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Waiting On The Lord; Steady Calm 4 Big Faith

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Waiting On The Lord; Steady Calm 4 Big Faith
Waiting on the Lord means resting in Jesus and obeying His Word. “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;” Isaiah 40:31

Waiting on the Lord: Steady Calm 4 Big Faith

Waiting on the Lord: a double meaning

The first is simply to anticipate, to expect something to happen. We are all waiting like this. St. Paul* tells us:

*means there is a short biography of that person in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES.

All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children. Romans 8: 19

The second meaning is to serve as a waiter serving a meal, or a lady-in-waiting the queen.

John Milton speaks of the angels like this:

They also serve who only stand and wait. On His Blindness

Waiting on God for His Promise

God called Abram* when he was 75 years old and promised him a son. He obeyed God and traveled more than a thousand miles to the land of Canaan which the LORD promised to give to his descendants.

When he was 86 and still childless, he decided to take a concubine, Hagar, who bore a son they named Ishmael.

Thirteen more years passed, and God appeared to Abram* and changed his name to Abraham* and promised to give him a son with his wife Sarah*. Abraham asked,

Can a man have a child when he is a hundred years old? Can Sarah* have a child at ninety?

He asked God, “Why not let Ishmael be my heir?”

But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah* will bear you a son and you will name him Isaac.* I will keep my covenant with him and with his descendants forever. It is an everlasting covenant. – Genesis 17:17-19

All this came to be. Abram’s view was too small, and earthbound. God was planning redemption for the world and creating a people through whom His Son would come.

Two takeaways:

God’s plans are bigger than ours, and “helping God out” always creates big problems.

It is amusing as we look at this from afar to see Abraham* try to talk God out of His purpose by suggesting what he wanted, the uncomplicated way, the painless way, the practical way.

I do this all the time, foolishly, and God reminds Abraham* that his wishes and concerns are a small part of God’s covenant with the yet unborn Isaac* and his descendants.

We are included in that group and covenant, and it is not bound by the timeline of Abraham’s life. It is an everlasting covenant!

Waiting on the Lord for deliverance

Esau* hated his brother Jacob* and wanted to kill him. He had good reason. Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright and his father’s blessing. Now Esau was coming to meet Jacob with 400 men. Jacob was afraid and distressed:

Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. – Genesis 32:11

Jacob had a guilty conscience. He knew he had done wrong and that his brother was fierce and powerful. He did not know where to turn, and so he turned to God. This is a recourse every believer has, and God not only answers but delights in showing His love and mercy.

Two takeaways: We are a part of God’s everlasting covenant with Abraham. We are His people, and He loves us. Notice how Jacob uses that covenant to plead his case:

God of my grandfather Abraham and God of my father Isaac, hear me!

You told me, LORD, to go back to my land and to my relatives, and you would make everything go well for me.

I am not worth all the kindness and faithfulness that you have shown me, your servant. – Genesis 32:9-10

Jacob reminds the Lord that he is in His family, obeying His commands, and expecting Him to keep His promise that all will be well. We can do the same.

Waiting on the Lord during trials.

Job* suffered terribly at the hands of Satan.* He lost everything, position, wealth, children, dignity, and health. Satan did all of this to pressure Job into taking his wife’s advice; curse God and die. Job 2:9

Job’s answer:

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: – Job 13:15

Like us, Job* saw only the sordid circumstances of his current situation. He did not know he was being tested by God for greater blessing. He was caught up in the spiritual warfare that seemed so painful and cruel.

God was testing him, and he came through the trial. God doubled all that Job had lost, and Job gave a testimony we can use today:

He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. – Job 23:10

Waiting on the Lord in exile

God saved Moses* from Pharaoh’s purge of Hebrew male infants and put him in a place of power and influence. God had already set the timeline for this deliverance with Abraham,* but Moses acted prematurely.

As a result of his rash killing of an Egyptian, Moses had to flee Egypt to what the Bible calls the “back side of the desert.” The LORD kept him there for 40 years.

Moses was not ready for the place God wanted him in. Now God used those 40 years to make him the leader He wanted to lead the Exodus.

Again, we see that God’s plan and scope of action are vastly beyond our ken.

Moses wanted to settle a dispute, defend an injustice, force a crisis, and lead the children of Israel to freedom.

God wanted a leader, a general, a lawgiver, a historian, a writer, a prophet, a judge, and an architect.

Moses* was none of those things when he left Egypt. God made him all of that and more during those 40 years of exile. But the most important thing he learned in those 40 years came at the end when he saw the Lord in a burning bush.

It was not Moses who was in charge, but the Lord. And the task was not natural, but supernatural. God is almighty and holy, and we must recognize that:

God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; – Exodus 3:5-7

Here again we see that God is faithful to His covenant people, that He hears their cry, and that He knows their sorrows.

Moses had to learn all of this before he could accomplish God’s purpose, and so do we.

Waiting on the Lord for a child

Hannah* was miserable. She was barren. Her husband loved her more than he loved wife #2, but she had many children, sons, and daughters. She provoked Hannah about her barrenness and “tormented her sore.”

Hannah* came to worship the Lord at the Tabernacle:

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

And she vowed a vow, and said,

O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child,

then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. – 1 Samuel 1:10-11

God answered her prayer and gave her a son, Samuel*, who became a great prophet and the last judge of Israel.

Hannah kept her promise and God gave her 3 more sons and 2 daughters. She rejoiced and sang a wonderful song that was prefigured the Virgin Mary’s Magnificat.

Lessons: God listens and gives more than we ask!

Waiting on the Lord for maturity

David* was anointed king of Israel as a boy, before he killed Goliath. He did not ascend to the throne until he was 30. During those 15 years he was hunted by king Saul* and had to live as an outlaw.

He had to learn how to lead, how to survive, and most of all, how to always trust the Lord. He thought he was just “staying alive,” living day by day in fear and danger, but God was making him a king.

The promise may be a long way off, as it was for Abram, but God is faithful, and learning that is the most important lesson our waiting on the Lord teaches us.

Two takeaways:

1) What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. – David in Psalm 56:3, and

2) all the Psalms that David wrote show him waiting on the Lord all through his life.

Praise God, we can use them too in our waiting!

Waiting on the Lord for healing

Hezekiah* was king of Judah, a good king who honored the Lord. When he got sick, he called Isaiah* the prophet who told him to get his house in order, that he was going to die.

Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,

I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. – 2 Kings 20:2-3

And the LORD saw his tears, heard his cry, healed him, and gave him another 15 years of life. God is in the healing business. Every healing is from Him.

“God heals, and the doctor takes the fees.” – Benjamin Franklin

But we have a more trustworthy source, the LORD Himself as recorded by Moses:

I am the LORD that healeth thee. – Exodus 15:26

Waiting on the Lord when no one listens

Jeremiah* was an unpopular prophet. He prophesied during the years that God’s judgment fell on Judah and Nebuchadnezzar* destroyed Jerusalem and took the people captive. No one listened to him.

One king cut up and burned his prophecies. Another cast him into prison where he sank up to his armpits in a muddy cistern. But God was with him, and he testified:

Great is Thy faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:24.

Jeremiah was a major prophet whose prophecies comfort us today:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. – Jeremiah 29:11

Waiting on the Lord when the future is unclear

Habakkuk lived at the same time as Jeremiah, a time of great uncertainty. Israel had been destroyed. Judah was in great danger. He stood upon the watch tower in Jerusalem, called on the LORD for help, and waited for His answer. Here it is:

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. – Habakkuk 2:14

And the LORD gave him instructions for handling this:

Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. – Habakkuk 2: 2-3

“Tarry” is a good old word for “wait.” God’s Word will not linger; it will surely come. We can wait in faith with that assurance.

Waiting on the Lord when His commands seem crazy

Ezekiel* was blessed with wonderful visions of God. He witnessed 13 theophanies, far more than anyone else in the Bible. He lived his whole life in captivity ministering to the Jews in dramatic ways.

The LORD put him on a strict and restricted diet and commanded him to lie on his left side for 390 days, representing the years Israel worshipped the golden calf.

Then he turned to the right side for 40 days, the last years of the kingdom of Judah.

Ezekiel* obeyed every detail of the Lord’s command. God gave him extraordinary visions, of chariots with wheels within wheels, and beings covered with eyes and wings.

God showed him the future and the great rivers of living water flowing from the throne of God.

Obedience pays off. Here is what Jesus said about obeying His Word:

If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. – John 14:23

Waiting on the Lord for the impossible

Daniel* was the 4th major prophet. He was taken prisoner in Jeremiah’s time and was a contemporary of Ezekiel. One day King Nebuchadnezzar* had a troubling dream and asked his wise men to interpret it.

There was one unexpected difficulty; he had forgotten the dream!

But he demanded an interpretation anyway and sentence his entire corps of wise men to death if they could not produce it.

When Daniel* learned about this

Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. – Daniel 2:17-19

Think of the pressure these young men were under: a death sentence! What did they do? They came together and asked God for mercy.

God gave it to Daniel in a dream, and He blessed God and gave Him the glory. Praying with others always helps, and God always answers in ways that meet our needs and bring Him glory.

Waiting on the Lord for submission to what seems impossible

Mary* was a virgin betrothed to Joseph. Suddenly the angel Gabriel appeared to her, and she was greatly troubled. Gabriel told her what Christians regard as the good news of Jesus’ birth:

behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. -Luke 1:31

This frightened her even more. And Mary* said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

Gabriel explained that God could do the impossible, but her world had been turned upside down. Nevertheless, Mary said:

Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. – Luke 1:38

We all know rest. What wonderful courage and submission to God.

Waiting on the Lord in obedience

Simeon and Anna were two faithful Jews living in Jerusalem in just before Jesus was born. The Holy Ghost had shown him that he would not die until he was the Messiah. Anna was a prophetess, 86 years old who faithfully worshipped in the temple.

When Joseph* and Mary brought Jesus in, both Simeon and Anna came in at that very moment. They recognized the infant to be the Messiah, and Anna announced this to people. Simeon took the child in his arms and said:

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, -Luke 2:28-30

These two faithful servants of the Lord show us clearly that God uses us even into old age. As they were faithful to Him, He was faithful to them and to His promise, orchestrating the scene Luke describes.

He works all the circumstances of our lives to our benefit. Praise God, our waiting is not in vain.

Waiting on the Lord in love

Mary of Bethany was one of Jesus’ dearest friends. When He came to the home she shared with her sister Martha and brother Lazarus, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to His words.

Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was not helping her with the work. Jesus’ replay is instructive:

Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,

but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. – Luke 10:41-41

This convicts me about all the things that come between me and sitting at Jesus feet. Sitting there is at once the lowliest place on earth and the place where all things are possible.

Waiting on the Lord in repentance

Luke tells the story of an unnamed woman, merely identified as “a sinner,” who came to a dinner where Jesus was:

She brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Luke 7:37-38

The Pharisee was outraged by this, thinking if Jesus were a prophet, He would know this woman was a sinner and move away from her. But Jesus did just the opposite.

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.

You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” – Luke 7:44-47

Jesus is a Forgiver. He welcomes us when we come to Him and repent.

Waiting on the Lord in agony

Jesus waited on the Lord more than anyone else in the Bible. He was in constant touch with His Father

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. – John 8:29

But there was one thing Jesus had to do alone, and this terrified Him. Just before the soldiers took Him in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.

And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. – Luke 22:42-44

At this moment, the soldiers took Him, and He was cruelly mocked, beaten, humiliated, and crucified. The Father did not answer this prayer according to Jesus’ agonized desire but made Him drink that cup.

But on the third day, Jesus arose from the grave in victory over death and secured our salvation.

When we are afraid, in agony, at death’s door, we are at the place where Jesus was.

Praise God, He has gone before and as we have waited on Him, He is waiting for us.

Jesus knows all about our struggles!

Waiting on the Lord for reconciliation

The apostles did not accept Paul.* They were afraid of him. He had to separate from them and go into exile in Arabia. But God had called Paul specifically to be a missionary to the Gentiles.

There was no such role for him among the original Jewish disciples who thought the Gospel was to be preached only to the Jews.

So, while there was no place for him at first among the apostles God had one in place for him from his mother’s womb, and he became the greatest apostle bringing far more to Jesus than all the others combined.

After he returned from Arabia and began his ministry to the Gentiles, the apostles recognized him:

“He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”

And they glorified God because of me. Galatians 1:23-24

Waiting on the Lord at the end of life

John* outlived all the other apostles. He was alone, exiled to the lonely island of Patmos. He was waiting to die or for Jesus to come. One Sunday morning Jesus appeared to him:

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; – Revelation 1:17-19

And Jesus gave him the Book of Revelation, which indeed shows us what lies in store for us, but more importantly, shows us what Jesus is doing now. We see Him in glory, at the right hand of God, waiting to come for us, His bride.

How wonderful God is who showed this old man that his life was lived according to God’s purpose and that He honored his faithfulness. He will honor ours too.

As we listen to John’s teaching we are encouraged to Wait on the Lord and trust Him to meet us and honor our waiting.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. – 1 John 2:15-17

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Do NOT wait to give your life to Jesus!

If you have not given your heart to Jesus, do not wait any longer. St. Paul says,

Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favor; today is the day to be saved!– 2 Corinthians 6:2

Jesus calls now: Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

As we wait with Jesus, our waiting becomes sweeter every day!

They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall run, and not be weary; walk, and not faint. Teach me Lord, to wait.

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