Monday, January 28, 2013

Getting out of our own way

How often would you say we get in our own way?  With things of the Spirit, the Gospel, our work, families, kids, relationships? I wondered today just how often we ourselves are predominately what gets in our own way.  Sometimes it's the mind, which tries to run the show or become overly analytic, or at times it could be our heart which is troubled, holding on to pain, regret, or not moving towards forgiveness.  

I wonder if most problems we associate with "others" or attribute to "them" or blame on someone or something else involves a lot of us getting in our own way.  Take any problem and notice how it will usually be presented or pass through our mind as though someone or something "else" is the cause or culprit.  And yes sometimes others could stand to make some changes, but if we're not careful that is where we get stuck. We may deceive ourselves into thinking we couldn't possibly be contributing to the problem.  Self deception, blaming, being the victim, fear of not doing it perfect, avoiding, needing to "prove" our virtue, indecision, denial, doubt, anger, amplifying the faults of others to justify our assessment of them, the need to be right, the need to correct others all the time, needing "them" to change.  These are things and tendencies that so often get in our own way.

Those things can also easily cover their own tracks.... meaning we feel totally justified by doing them and then don't notice or remain unaware that we are doing them.  What if, in the last analysis it turns out one of our greatest impediments was not God, others, or our circumstances, but ourselves getting in our own way? 

The times in life when we truly "listen" to the light within us and then get out of the way are fulfilling and enjoyable.  Freeing even.  Sometimes it's the simple, unexpected solution which you didn't expect.      

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Despair

Despair involves the opposite or absence of hope (Moroni 10:22).  Moroni says despair comes because of iniquity.

When recounting his experience just prior to the First Vision, in one part Joseph said he was about to sink into despair due to being seized upon by the adversary...  Here is a boy, out in the woods praying to God inspired by a phrase from James in The New Testament.  Nothing in that would have produced a whole lot of despair. The despair in this situation doesn't seem to be the kind that came from Joseph's 14 year old iniquity.  This despair he says he was about to sink into appears and is described as having come from the actual unseen being that sought his destruction. (JSH-16)

Satan's presence was one of despair.  He is the author of iniquity so it would make sense that despair accompanies him.  It's opposite is hope.  Satan seeks to destroy hope, which leads to despair and regret.

Because of the Lord, there is always hope.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The "Bad" Guy's Testimonies

I thought it would be interesting to look at the testimonies of some of the folk in scripture we typically don't associate ourselves with, but which in reality may carry some striking relevance for us and our day.  We often thing of the "bad" guys in scripture as not having a testimony.  However they too believe things.  And sometimes it's strikingly similar to our own beliefs.

It's not helpful if we insist that we are only, and exclusively associated with the good guys in scripture; and therefore never look at how we may be guilty of the same errors made by the "bad" folks.  When we refuse to see ourselves as anything but the good guys we may miss a great deal of what the scriptures are trying to teach us and tell us.  It may even boarder on willful blindness.

Laman and Lemuel's Testimony

"And we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them, and hath led us away because we would hearken unto his words..." (1 Ne. 17:22).

"we know that they are righteous".... They had a testimony that the people they lived among were righteous. They "knew" it was true. They base this on some form of keeping the (outward) statues and judgments of the Lord and all his commandments according to the law of Moses (read checklist). This brought them comfort and pride.  From that position they incorrectly evaluated Lehi as being judgmental. As it turns out they were mistaken, their "foolish father" (as they called him) actually had the true view of the situation.  Lehi's view was that the residents of Jerusalem were in serious peril, and needed to repent.  Being outwardly religious did not necessarily mean the residents of Jerusalem (or Laman and Lemuel for that matter) were righteous.  All was not well even though they may have perceived and sang that it was.

Lehi on the one hand "prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people."  He came to know God.  Laman and Lemuel on the other hand would have seen no need for such a thing, because they "knew" the people were already righteous. So unless your testimony is based on the truth it seems it ends up mostly blinding you.  That's why it's so important to receive the truth through the Holy Spirit.  The arm of the flesh or flattering assessments by men are not trustworthy.

Sherem

And ye have led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come.... (Jacob7:7)

And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? And he said, Yea. (vs 10)

Sherem claimed he believed in the scriptures, and also in the law of Moses.  He saw himself as a missionary. He uses the words of scripture to teach and share his beliefs and witness.  But, regardless, his beliefs were false.  What we have recorded of his testimony is sort of anti-testimony since it deals a lot with what can't happen, what isn't going to happen, and who doesn't exist.  He claimed to believe and teach the "right way".  You see you have to claim yours is the right way or you'll never be an effective missionary.  The misled folks however would not have thought they were mislead.  They, like all of us, need to harken to true messengers and obtain God's word for ourselves, so we are not dependent on others who are capable of misleading us. The precepts of men are very misleading, even the humble followers of Christ are subject to such things (2 Nephi 28:14).  Interestingly the D&C teacher's manual lesson 42 (link) quotes Sherem in their description of the correlation committee.  They ironically quote an anit-christ in their description of their own existence.

Sherem disagreed with the law of Moses being "converted" into something that worshiped a future Christ.  He preferred the law of moses which he taught was the right way.  Instead of looking for the reality, he preferred the symbol.  

The Priests of Noah

...Behold, we have brought a man before thee who has prophesied evil concerning thy people, and saith that God will destroy them. And now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain. And behold, we are strong, we shall not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies; yea, and thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper. And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man? (Mosiah 12: 9,13-15)

...Therefore, what teach ye this people? 28 And they said: We teach the law of Moses. (vs 27-28)

These priests had a testimony of the scriptures as well as the the law of Moses. These were leaders and teachers of the people. They recognized prophecy when they saw it. The problem is they didn't like how it made them look. Based on their teetering testimony, they assure Noah that he really hadn't sinned, because they keep the law of Moses, and they are guiltless, therefore any news to the contrary just HAS to be a lie because it just doesn't fit inside their testimony. As it turns out they were wrong. Who you choose as your advisers matters. They may be more off base than you.

These priests are another example of someone supporting or basing their testimony on outward appearances or religious observance.  Seems that when testimonies assure us that we are just so dang amazing, chosen, and guiltless, and prospering, such talk should raise red flags because they can set us up to reject anything and everything that goes against your "testimony", even if its a true message from God.        

Nehor

And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people. And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life. (Alma 1:3-4)

Nehor's Testimony is that the Church leaders should be "popular"!  They should be supported so they don't need to work to support themselves or families due to their church service.  He practices and promotes priestcraft.  His testimony helps the leaders get gain, get rich, and acquire the honors of men.  He wants them to be religious celebrities, awed, reverenced, and fawned over and celebrated. This is all done for the sake of "riches and honor" (Alma 17:16).  Many folks found this pleasing (guess who found this most pleasing?).  They even built synagogues after the order of this Nehor (Alma 24).  Seems their very religious architecture/statues, followed after the pattern of priestcraft.

Nehor basically testifies to the people they they are righteous...indicating  that they should not fear nor tremble (which is the true reaction to someone discovering their lost and fallen condition before God). In other places in the scriptures we are told to work out our salvation "with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12) Nehor attempts to dispel fear with lies.  He was also skilled at using scriptural phrases, he "testifies" to the people but did so with lies and deceit and sets men up as a light. This would be like lulling someone to spiritual sleep, gently soothing their troubled conscience with partial truths, softly assuring them that all is well with platitudes and pretty flowered memes, and no harm will come due to their righteousness.  Apparently this kind of testimony was lucrative for the leaders.  

Zeezrom

Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.  Now Amulek said: O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations? Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him...(Alma 11:22-24)

Zeezrom trusts in things like logic, deception, status, money, and social persuasion and manipulation. He relies on the arm of the flesh.  He tries to get the crowd to turn against Alma.  After all Alma was perceived as being offensive, offensive to the core almost.  The offending Prophet however revels that Zeezrom is in love with money.  Zeezroms's actions in the verse quoted are consistent with his love of money.  He would sell what matters for it.  However later on he undergoes quite an ordeal and experiences a mighty change.  The trouble in his mind over his wickedness brought an intense, scorching fever (Alma 15:3).  However through faith in the Lord he was healed and then was "Baptised unto the Lord" by Alma.  That should give us hope.  Rather than being soothed by others and flattered into disregarding Alma's troubling testimony Zeezrom repented, came to the Lord, and was baptized.        

Zoramites 

Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.  But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.  And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen. (Alma 31:17-18)

In Vs 28 Alma gives some insight into these folks hearts: 28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.

The Zoramite's testimony is that they are part of the true Church. They are grateful they haven't been deceived by all the other foolish and errant people living in their day.  They give thanks as part of their testimony.  A thankamony even! But it's empty gratitude. The gratitude may have been sincere to a degree, but it was false in that it was based on error, and motivated no true Gospel fruit.  Their testimony builds on pride. They again, perceive themselves as righteous. Alma tells us that they love nice clothes, they love jewelry, they love expensive stuff obtainable at the local places of commerce. The wealth deceives them into thinking they are favored of God while others perish.  That belief is so bad it causes Alma pain in his soul.  Alma wants them to come to the truth, and make a course change, but their strong testimonies make them a tough crowd....

And last but certainly not least is our friend:

Korihor

His testimony is that people have frenzied and deranged minds as a result of the foolish religious traditions they follow.  He claims that this hope in Christ is vain and foolish, and there is no Christ because we can't know of things to come. He's an atheist. I know a number of Psychological or other professionals who would agree with Korihor's assessment about peoples minds being deranged and frenzied by religion.  It's convenient to view all religion that way, it makes it all easier to dismiss.  You can dismiss entire populations of people as objects, and mere biological creatures over which we needn't show regard.  It appeals to the carnal mind.    

But here's the real interesting part of his testimony.  It necessarily flows from the above position about there being no Christ, no hope, and basically no God or accountability.  "and that every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime."  (Alma 30:17)

This part extends the Christ-less view of life.  He says "whatever man does was no crime".  In other words you can treat people as poorly as you need to in order to get ahead because people don't matter anyway.  They were just creatures, objects even.  Prior to that he says that man "fairs in this life according to the management of the creature".  You can find that teaching at any given college campus on any day of the week.  And often taught from the pulpit in church.  Don't people get rich depending on how they manage the creature?  Don't they conquer according to their genius and strength?  I mean, don't they?

A theme in all these testimonies is that none of them initially think they are wicked.  They think the opposite.  They believe they are either guiltless, sinless, righteous, chosen, favored, or completely safe.  But when an offending true prophet comes along and actually tells them what God thinks, they can't conceive of themselves as being the ones the message addresses.  They think the messengers sent from God are crazy, look wrong, are off the wall, out of line, judgmental, arrogant, offensive, overly critical, apostate, lacking the right calling and credentials etc....  Instead of the truth, their testimonies only allow room for what makes them feel good.  And there exists plenty who are are happy to sell them that very thing in any shape, size, or color that suits their (our) fancy.  Some even offer feedback surveys to ensure the audience is happy with the quality of the deception offered.  Hugh Nibley is a great antidote for Korihor.  If you haven't read Approaching Zion, that's a great one.

In closing, the "Bad" guys are people too.  Just like you and I, they lived with hopes and dreams, they were subject to the trials of life, deceptions, and all the rest.  We will learn better from them by viewing them as people, people who faced not so very different illusions and temptations than we face.  They too were subject to a myriad of challenges, false doctrine, false testimony, difficulties and enticements. As people they can teach us much. As punching bags and as people by which to make ourselves feel prideful they don't offer quite the same benefit to the reader.  Don't forget to regard and see them as people, in doing so we may come to see some reflections that can open our eyes.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Waiting on the Lord Conclusion

Waiting Develops Patience

Impatience can be an ugly thing to encounter. It's easy to notice in young children, who at times can hardly wait for anything. In our spiritual lives, patience is mature virtue, or rather a virtue that comes from maturing. God loves us too much to allow us to skip the character building times when waiting develops patience. James 1:3-4 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. [We are also taught by the Lord to not "run faster than we have strength" (Mosiah 4:27)].

Waiting Encourages Others and Gives Greater Ability to Witness

Psalm 40:1, 5, 9-10  A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. …5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. … 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest. 10 I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.

Psalm 119:43-44, 74 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Thine ordinances. 44 So I will keep Thy law continually, Forever and ever. … 74 May those who fear Thee see me and be glad, Because I wait for Thy word.
We must never discount the impact of our lives on others both for bad and for good. It is hard to have a positive word and a positive witness to others when we haven’t been waiting and aren’t resting on the Lord.

David wrote Psalm 40, a psalm of praise (vss. 1-10) and petition (vss. 11-17), while surrounded by trouble. First, he praised God for past deliverance and declares the blessedness of those trust God (vss. 1-4).

Psalm 40:2-12 A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear, And will trust in the LORD. 4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

Second, he declares the incomparable nature of God and offers his life in dedication to God and His purposes (vss. 5-10). Verses 6-8 go beyond David and apply to Jesus. 5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. 6 Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened; Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me; 8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart.” 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest. 10 I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.

Third, he then brings his present needs before the Lord, but it is his knowledge of the Lord and His truth which preserve his heart in the midst of his plight (vss. 11-12). Thou, O LORD, wilt not withhold Thy compassion from me; Thy loving kindness and Thy truth will continually preserve me. 12 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head; And my heart has failed me.

Finally, he cries out to God for deliverance and vindication from his enemies, but in it all, though asking God not to delay, his motive is “The Lord be magnified.” Therefore, he is committed to waiting on the Lord as his only help and deliverer (vss. 13-17). Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; Make haste, O LORD, to help me. 14 Let those be ashamed and humiliated together Who seek my life to destroy it; Let those be turned back and dishonored Who delight in my hurt. 15 Let those be appalled because of their shame Who say to me, “Aha, aha!” 16 Let all who seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee; Let those who love Thy salvation say continually, “The LORD be magnified!” 17 Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me; Thou art my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

Conclusion

I don’t know what you may be going through at the moment, but whatever it is the challenge of Scripture is to wait on the Lord because, unlike temporal man and the fleeting world in which we live, the sovereign Lord of the universe loves us with a steadfast love and personally cares for us like a father. So David wrote in Psalm 103:13-19: Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more; And its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the loving kindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant, And who remember His precepts to do them. 19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all.

Wait for the LORD; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

[Rather than getting bogged down with Why? and How long?, we should instead choose to say, “I will wait upon the Lord . . . and I will look for Him” (2 Nephi 18:17), perhaps in a moment when we’re not expecting it, we will find Him.]

___________________________________________________________________

1 Mark S. Wheeler, “Hurry Up and Wait,” Kindred Spirit, Autumn 1991, p. 11.

2 G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd edition, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1937, p. 384.

3 Ibid., p. 46.

4 Ibid., p. 31.

5 The New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas, general editor, InterVarsity, Downers Grove, 1982, electronic format.

6 Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 3, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1971, p. 64.

7 Larry J. Crabb, Understanding People, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987, p. 109.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Waiting on the Lord Pt 10

Waiting Means Remaining Teachable.

Proverbs 1:7 : The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

[The Lord knows more than we do (Abraham 3:19).  When we wait on Him we stay open to new understanding and thing never before considered. What was before an insurmountable challenge can take on new light and a new perspective as we learn from and wait on The Lord. Waiting is not rigidly clinging to and playing out old ideas, traditions, and patterns. It's instead staying open to receive higher understanding and instruction. Waiting implies remaining teachable.  This as opposed to becoming old dogs who won't learn new tricks. The Lord is the Great Teacher, desiring for us to learn and grow in light and truth without force. Some instruction will undoubtedly challenge us and our views. When we close our hearts and minds and won't consider new, challenging, or unfamiliar things, we may not truly be waiting on the Lord. (Matthew 7:7-8, Proverbs 12:1, Matthew 5:6, 1 Corinthians 2:14, D&C 50:24)]

Waiting Straightens and Builds Character

Waiting is part of maturing.  We see this with children, as they mature, they can develop the ability to be patient and wait when necessary.  

One of the emphases in the following three passages is on what happens in us and to us as we learn to wait on the Lord. It builds our character because through the process of waiting, we learn to depend on the Lord alone and to find our source of strength, security, and joy in Him which is the lesson the Apostle learned and refers to in Philippians 4:11-13. But let’s look at Psalm 37.

Psalm 37:1-11 has three challenges:

(1) Look Ahead. Verses 2, 9a, and 10 are absolutely true of everything that is rooted in time and not in eternity. We must learn to wait on God’s time and purposes and turn our minds and hearts towards Him.  (vss. 7-9). 

(2) Look Up. An obsession with problems, with rivals, with painful circumstances and the consequent harmful attitudes and strategies cannot simply be switched off, but they can be exchanged or removed by a new focus which rests and waits on the Lord (vss. 3-8).  Remember our explanation of what it means to wait on the Lord? It included spending time getting to know and love the Lord. Look at verse four “…delight yourself …” This means “take delight” or “find delight.” Remember Paul and Silas in prison who were singing as well as praying.

(3) Be Productive. This is put forth both in the positive and in the negative. This is seen in “do good” and “dwell in the land” (verse 3), and in the negatives of verses 1 and 8.
  • Doing good involves living for the Lord and positive ministry. It means living out of deep dependence on the Lord.
  • Not fretting, ceasing from wrath and anger which leads only to evil doing means setting aside our strategies for handling pain or getting our desires (cf. vs. 4b).
  • Doing evil, the product of fretting rather than waiting and resting, constitutes our human substitutes and false routes to joy, a common ingredient:

All false routes to joy, …  have one thing in common: they represent strategies for living that in some measure we can control. They do not require us to yield our core commitment to independence. God’s message is consistent: utter dependency is the route to satisfaction.7

The results of all this is verse six, the Lord is free to bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the new day. The result is nothing short of godly character with wise choices reproduced in the life of those believers who learn to wait on the Lord by way of patient faith rather than by self-assertion. These are the meek who will inherit the earth.

Psalm 39:7-8: Deliverance From Sinful Patterns.
Psalm 39:7-8 And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; Make me not the reproach of the foolish.
Psalm 40:1-9: Stability With Obedience
Psalm 40:2-9: A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD ;And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear, And will trust in the LORD. 4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. 5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. 6 Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened; Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me; 8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart.” 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest.


Waiting Lifts Us Out of Despair and Causes Praise to God


Psalm 40:2-3 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear, And will trust in the LORD.

Psalm 42:5-11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. 6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember Thee from the land of the Jordan, And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Thy waterfalls; All Thy breakers and Thy waves have rolled over me. 8 The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life. 9 I will say to God my rock, “Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 43:5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 145:15-21 The eyes of all look to Thee, And Thou dost give them their food in due time. 16 Thou dost open Thy hand, And dost satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways, And kind in all His deeds. 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. 20 The LORD keeps all who love Him; But all the wicked, He will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD; And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

When we are in despair or depressed, we moan and groan, whine and complain. But waiting on the Lord gets our eyes focused on Him and our glorious future. It puts a song in our hearts and praise on our lips.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Waiting on the Lord Pt 9

Waiting Teaches Humility As We Confront What We Are Not Able To Do

We live in an world that has constraints and limitations. We all live within the confines of what the Lord has allowed and given us. [It is enough. Personally we will all encounter weaknesses, difficulties, challenges, or setbacks that reveal our own limitations or capacities. These things can produce humility if we let them. Then in humility, we are drawn to approach the Lord. When we come to Him in faith and meekness He has promised to make weak things become strong (Ether 12:27). There will likely be times when this is not all accomplished in an instant, but involves persistence, faith, and humility as we set about doing what the Lord would have us do, while waiting confidently on Him.]    

Psalm 52:6-7 And the righteous will see and fear, And will laugh at him, saying, 7 Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, But trusted in the abundance of his riches, And was strong in his evil desire.

Prov. 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

Jeremiah 10:23 O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man who walketh to direct his way

Psalm 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.

In contrast to the mighty man of wolrdly strength and acclaim is the godly one who waits on the Lord. The mighty man is the person who thinks he is sufficient in himself and thereby refuses or see's no real need to wait on the Lord. He’d rather trust in himself and his own philosophies for life. He works evil, and gets ahead (he thinks) by using others and by selfishness. But the Lord cuts him off, uproots him like a tree. 

So what happens when we wait on the Lord? A number of marvelous things happen to us, in us, and through us.  Here are just a few of the benefits of waiting on the Lord


Waiting Sustains and Satisfies (or Allows the Lord to Do So)


Psalm 145:14-16 The LORD sustains all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to Thee, And Thou dost give them their food in due time. 16 Thou dost open Thy hand, And dost satisfy the desire of every living thing.

While the word “wait” is not found in this passage in the English translation of the NASB, the concept is clearly here. Note the words, “The eyes of all look to thee.” “Look” is sabar which means, “look, wait, hope” and is so translated in the KJV. Compare its use in Psalm 104:27-28 where it has the idea of “be dependent on.”

But can’t the words of Psalm 145:15, “in due time,” perfectly describe those periods in our lives when we are sitting in one of those places God has marked with the words “Waiting Room”? But how does it describe us? As fallen, bowed down, yet looking, waiting on the Lord to supply and sustain, but in His season, in His time! Every time we encounter one of the variegated problems of life, we are faced with a very important choice—to look up and "wait", or focus on the problem and worry, run away, throw in the towel, or run ahead of the Lord.  Persistence, in the face of opposition develops our faith.  Waiting implies faithful persistence.  

When we choose other ways than the Lord we can even suffer various kinds of consequences:  Of course not all are a result of disobedience, but choosing ways other than the Lord's will eventually have consequences.  

(1) Some are physical and we become prime candidates for ulcers, migraines, high blood pressure, etc.
(2) Others are financial (like the burden of debt or bankruptcy).
(3) Others are relational (like the heartache of a marriage in turmoil, divorce, or rebellious children).
(4) Still others are geographical and situational placing us in difficult circumstances and places.
(5) But always, when we refuse to wait, there are spiritual consequences—loss of fellowship with the Lord, loss of spiritual strength and wisdom, loss of our witness, or being out of the Lord’s will.


Waiting Strengthens and Enables


Isaiah 40:29-31: 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

As we look at this passage, we might think about the following:

(1) While there are obviously other causes, continued weariness and a lack of strength to carry on may be the result of failing to wait on the Lord as it’s defined above. (Cf. verses 29-30 with verse 31.)
(2) We all become not only physically tired and weary, but emotionally and spiritually depleted. That’s human. But God says part of the solution along with good health habits (diet, rest, exercise, etc.) is “wait for the Lord.”

Isaiah is telling us we often grow weary because we fail to wait on the Lord. When we run around in our own strength and operate by our own insufficient resources we are going to sooner or later run out of steam.  The key question is, why don’t we wait on the Lord? Often it’s because we do not believe sufficiently in God and all that He is. For some reason, we begin to think and act like God is simply not involved or doesn’t understand, [or the biggest lie of all.... that he doesn't care].

Isaiah 40 is a chapter designed to bring comfort to its readers. Let’s never forget—God is the God of all comfort. He wants to comfort His people, but this doesn’t mean He always removes the sources of our pain. This chapter is written against the background of 39 chapters announcing judgment against Israel, Judah, and the nations. Israel would suffer and go into captivity. In fact, even this captivity was a result of God’s love.

Intellectually we acclaim God’s care, but practically, we often deny it. Isaiah 40 challenges our knowledge and how well we are really listening to the Word, it then quickly focuses our attention on God as the one who is all-powerful, full of wisdom, and faithful to strengthen us in the struggles of life.  At times however we feel or suggest we have been forsaken or passed over (Isa 40:27-29… It is a universal complaint, raised in times of difficulty and adversity.6  Perhaps you have said something similar.  The idea of the questions in vs 28 are designed to awaken and expose us in order to get them (us) to evaluate our thoughts and actions in the light of God’s person, His principles, and His promises. Why? So we can see just how far off we have drifted from anchoring their hope in the Lord as those who wait on Him.

Lets turn to the promises of verse 31:
Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

First, there is a general promise, “… those who wait … will gain new strength”: It is the promise of new strength to do what is needed. This would include emotional, moral, and spiritual strength, and undoubtedly, physical strength is to be included since it is often affected by our spiritual condition.

Then there are three specific promises:

(1) “They will mount up with wings like eagles.” This would seem to point to the ability to rise above the problems of one’s life through one’s heavenly experience or relationship with the Lord by waiting on Him.
(2) “They will run and not get tired.” The analogy to running because of the stress involved would look at the strength God gives to handle particularly stressful situations that come up in life. The tougher the situation, the more we need to draw on the Lord and literally cling to Him.
Compare Deuteronomy 10:20, 13:4 and Joshua 23:8. The Hebrew word there is dabag, “to cling, cleave, keep close.” But also compare Deuteronomy 13:17 and Joshua 23:12Jeremiah 13:11 gives us an illustration of the meaning of this word, like the waistband on a pair of trousers, or a belt around the waist.
(3) “They will walk and not become weary.” Walking portrays our everyday life with all of its daily and often humdrum activities or routines. Even when things aren't particularly stressful, we still need to wait on the Lord.

What a beautiful and complete way to describe the blessed consequences of waiting on the Lord.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Waves

Amazing video and music.



-Taylor

Waiting on the Lord Pt 8

Why We Should Wait on the Lord?

What are some of the benefits of waiting on the Lord? And what are the consequences when we do not?
To wait on the Lord, we must know what waiting on the Lord means and involves, the foregoing discussion has hopefully clarified many aspects of this. But we also need to know why we do these things. One of the keys to obedience or appropriation of something is motivation. There is, of course, great motivation to wait on the Lord.  It is best done, when done out of joy.  

We Wait Because of Who God is and what He is able to do

Waiting on the Lord means learning to have a single and consistent focus on God as the source of life because of all that He is as God—holy, just, sovereign, good, righteous, merciful, gracious, loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, infinite, truth, and eternality.  We need to know God's character to exercise faith enough to wait on Him.  

Jeremiah wrote,

Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not Thou, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope (Hebrew = qavah, wait, look to, hope) in Thee, For Thou art the one who hast done all these things (Jeremiah 14:22). David wrote, My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken (Ps. 62:1-2). IPsalm 25:5 David said, Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, For Thou art the God of my salvation; For Thee I wait all the day.

In each of these passages, we can quickly see it is because of who God is that we can and should wait on Him.  As the familiar commercial might remind us, we are “in good hands” when we are in God’s caring, powerful, wise, and loving hands. But because of our natural tendency to wander and go our own independent way, keeping up outward appearances, one of the issues we face is how can we maintain a spirit of meekness, and humbly wait on our Lord.  

Obviously, as mentioned previously, we must recognize that waiting includes seeking the Lord. As we saw, that includes study and meditation on God's Word and prayer, those spiritual disciplines that help to keep our eyes and confidence on the Lord. But still, how do we maintain consistency in seeking the Lord?
Several of the verses on waiting reveal some interesting reminders of a number of biblical principles that are quite fundamental to our spiritual life. These principles sometimes get lost in the busyness and routine of everyday life. Sometimes they get lost in our spiritual life too because we can so easily fall into the rut of a deadening religious routine. Remember, the only difference between a grave and a rut is a rut has the ends removed.

If we have been going our own way—too busy to take time with the Lord—we need to acknowledge that and return to the Lord with a view of waiting on Him. Hosea 12:6 looks at this very need of returning to the Lord in an attitude of confession with a view to looking to (waiting on) the Lord for His salvation. “Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually.”
In Psalm 39:7 we see David’s determination to wait and hope in the Lord rather than the futility of anything he might be prone to trust in. But David’s determination is an acknowledgment based on the realization of the futility of his own resources to handle life, especially due to its brevity. “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee.”

The words sometimes translated “wait” are at other times translated “look” in the sense of dependent expectation, and included are the ideas of focus and attention.

Note Psalm 123:1-2: A Song of Ascents. To Thee I lift up my eyes, O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens! 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress; So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He shall be gracious to us.
In Psalm 145:15 none of the regular words for “wait” listed earlier are used, but the concept is the same. “The eyes of all look (Hebrew = sabar, “to wait for, hope”) to Thee, And Thou dost give them their food in due time …” (cf. also Isaiah 5:17). Psalm 52:9 reminds us again of why we should wait on the Lord: “For I will wait on Thy name, for it (God’s name) is good.

What’s the point? How do we wait on God’s name? Remember that names in the Bible have great significance—especially the names of God. The reason for this is because the names of God stand for His character, for who He is, what He is, and will do. They stand for the principles and promises. For instance, the name Yahweh means God is the self-existent and independent one, the God of revelation and redemption. As such, He has revealed Himself as El Shaddai, “Almighty God,” as El Elyon, “God Most High,” as Yahweh-Jireh, “the Lord will provide,” and as Yahweh-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness,” among others.

So the Psalmist declares that he waits on God’s name because it reminds Him of God’s character and His promises.

Application:

(1) Are you in an impossible situation? Do things seem out of control? Then wait on God as the Almighty and as God Most High, the Sovereign One.
(2) Are you facing a problem of need? Then wait on the Lord as the One who will provide, but be careful to wait according to His timing and purposes.  In this be wise, and use common sense. 
(3) Do you lack assurance of your salvation, or are you facing feelings of guilt or insignificance? Then keep His commandments, and wait on the Lord as your righteousness, the source of all truth, and the giver of the Heavenly Gift.  

Psalm 62:5-6 again reminds us of why we should wait on the Lord: “My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken” (emphasis mine). In this Psalm, David said he would wait on the Lord because He was like a rock and a stronghold. As names are used to portray God’s character, so pictures are used in Scripture to portray certain aspects of God’s character and provision and life’s situations. Here David used the pictures of an immovable rock and a impregnable stronghold.

Life is full of battles and enemy attacks. We need defenses that will be able to stand against the enemy. So we wait on the Lord for our security and our strength. But let’s turn to our next reason to wait on the Lord.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Waiting on the Lord Pt 7

More Pit Falls 

Numbers 4: 

And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” 7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. 8 The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil. 9 And when the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.

The LORD therefore said to Moses,  18 And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, “Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat and you shall eat. 19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’” “Greedy desires” in verse four represents the same Hebrew words translated “craved intensely” in Psalm 106:14. In both cases, the Hebrew reads, “desired desires,” an idiom which means something like “they had intense cravings.” The point is they were being controlled by their desires because they believed Satan’s delusion that happiness comes in having one’s wants met.

Verse 4 above also shows how people are easily and wrongly influenced when they are not personally in touch with the Lord. Israel was wrongly influenced by the “rabble” among them. This serves to remind us that we can’t get by on someone else’s spirituality. We each need to obtain for ourselves.  The weeping and the question regarding the meat to eat displays their discontent and is a form of complaining rather than trusting.

Verse 5 illustrates the foolish and ironic product of a wrong focus. While they quickly forgot the pain of their slavery, their focus turned to the temporal delicacies of Egypt— the cucumbers, melons and onions, etc. Rather than remembering the mighty works of God which manifested His love, grace, and power, they were thinking about temporal things such as cucumbers and garlic.  Verse 6 illustrates the discontent and dissatisfaction that occurs when we buy into Satan’s lies and take our focus off the person and plan of God. As you read this verse, keep in mind the great blessings God had in store for the nation once they reached the land, a land flowing with what? Milk and honey! Verse 18 is a warning to get right with God. It shows them the problem was not their food or lack of what they wanted, but the condition of their heart, their focus, and their lack of faith.

Verses 19 and 20 reveal the disappointment and the irony. That which they thought they had to have for their happiness failed and left them empty. These verses serve to remind us again that the details of life, while they may give pleasure for a season, can never satisfy the primary and deepest longings of our heart. So the things they craved soon become loathsome.

Principle: Things cannot satisfy. Unless we enjoy a vital and dependent relationship with the Lord, we will invariably tire of “things” and end up in the never ending pursuit of new relationships, better working conditions, new hobbies, greater pleasure, etc. But something will always seem to be missing. We will never truly be happy or content. Why is that? Because we are looking for the right things but in all the wrong places. Our focus and our basic foundation for life must be anchored in the Lord. While waiting on Him, we need to prayerfully look to Him to lead us and supply our needs and wants in His timing and in the way He deems fit.

Verse 20b gives us the reason things cannot satisfy—“because you have rejected the Lord who is among you …” Note the “because” that introduces the last half of this verse. The meat became loathsome—they grew tired of it. It wasn’t because they had it every day, but because they were seeking their satisfaction and happiness from their food and the details of life rather than from a vital relationship with their Lord. Scripture calls this rejecting the Lord.

As the text shows us, their cravings, followed by their dissatisfaction, constituted the rejection of God in a number of ways. By their cravings and their complaining, they were saying in essence:
  • God is not enough
  • God is not sufficient for the adversity we are facing
  • God does not know what He is doing. He has brought us out here to die in the wilderness

In their complaining and questioning as to why they had ever left Egypt in the first place, they were not only failing to rest in God’s wisdom, love, and timing, but they were rejecting what God offered them.  Why did and does God do this? Please note the following passage:

Deuteronomy 8:1-11 All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers. 2 And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5 Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. 6 Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. 11 Beware lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today;

Verse one reminds the children of Israel of God’s primary purpose for them as His people. Verse two reminds them of God’s plan and methods. Verse three declares the purpose of God’s testing as well as the reason things never satisfy. They are designed to teach us the need of contentment through a vital walk with the Lord whereby we learn to cling to Him as the foundation for all of life.  We were created for God with a vacuum which only He can fill. God created us so that we could enjoy the blessings of this life, but without a dependent walk with the Lord, one in which we are truly resting in His love and grace, we will be empty!

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on the Lord Pt 6

Pit Falls 

There are a few scriptural pitfalls to take notice of as we continue to wait upon the Lord.  We can learn a great deal from those who have gone before us.  Let us learn from them, rather than judge or condemn them.

Psalm 106:13-15  13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: 14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. 15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

The First Problem: “they quickly forgot His works” (13a) So what happened? They quickly forgot all that the Lord had done. “Forgot” is the Hebrew word shakach which carries the idea of being oblivious to something. How sad! But they forgot because they lost their focus on the Lord, and they lost their focus because they failed to wait on God’s counsel.

How did they fail to wait? It means they failed to cling to the Lord and rest in the promises of His love, provision, timing, and wisdom as it pertained to their needs and His purpose for them. “Wait” here is chakah  which originally may have meant “to adhere, cling to,” and then “to wait.”

When we fail to wait on or seek God’s counsel, we quickly not only lose our focus and forget who God is and what He has done, but in a spirit of idolatry and human foolishness, we begin to look to and depend on (a) the details of life, the things of the world like pleasure, position, power, and prestige, and (b) our strategies to get what we want or think we need for our happiness, security, and satisfaction.

The Second Problem: “But craved intensely in the wilderness” (14a)

First, notice the place where this occurred. It was in the “wilderness.” In Scripture, the wilderness or desert represents the testing places of life, the places and conditions God’s uses in our lives to train and develop our faith, enhance our walk with Him, and prepare us to be the people of God.  They looked back on the past and craved after some of the pleasures of Egypt—the meat, fish, cucumbers (six inches of indigestion), the melons (ninety percent water), the onions, leeks and garlic (these speak for themselves). How quickly they forgot the slavery under the whip of their task masters. They were coveting the details of life, and the New Testament defines coveting as a form of idolatry (cf. Eph. 5:5Col. 3:5).

Why is covetousness a form of idolatry? Because when we covet the details of life (position, power, praise, pleasures, possessions, comfort, etc.), we value and worship them as though they were gods with the power to give security, significance, and satisfaction—things which only God can truly give.

The desire for food, clothing, pleasure, comfort, love, significance, and security are all legitimate desires given to us by God who gives us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17).  They lead to sin when they control our lives or when we seek our happiness in them rather than in God. They are sinful when they cause us to abandon God’s purposes and His timing so that we turn to our own strategies to grasp after our wants what we perceive as our needs.  With the words, “they tempted God” the Psalmist defined the nature of such coveting. 

When we fail to wait on the Lord and crave after the details of life as our source of happiness, we may end up only tempting God. Men test God by behavior which constitutes in effect a defiant challenge to him to prove the truth of his words and the goodness and justice of his ways (Ex. 17:2; Nu. 14:22Pss. 78:18, 41, 56; 95:9; 106:14Mal. 3:15;Acts 5:9; 15:10). The place-name Massah was a permanent memorial of one such temptation (Ex. 17:7; Dt. 6:16). Thus to goad God betrays extreme irreverence, and God himself forbids it (Dt. 6:16cf. Mt. 4:71 Cor. 10:9ff.). In all distresses God’s people should wait on him in quiet patience, confident that in due time he will answer their prayers according to his promise (cf. Pss. 27:7-14; 37:7; 40; 130:5ff.; La. 3:25ff.; Phil. 4:19).5

The Results: “So He gave them their request” (15)
In other words, they received what they thought they needed to be happy. They finally got what they wanted. So now, they would be happy and satisfied, right? Absolutely not! God does not force His will on us, and sometimes He allows us to get what we think we must have. He sometimes allows us to live by our own strategies and substitutes through the energy of the flesh. The results, however, are always disappointing and often disastrous to some degree. The only blessing to come from such self-centered, self-dependent living is when, in the face of our disappointment or the problems incurred, we come to the end of ourselves, repent of our rebellious ways, and return and cling to the Lord.

Rather than trustful waiting, the pitfall is lustful cravings.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waiting on the Lord Pt 5

Waiting Involves Learning to be Content with God

We know the Lords ways are not our ways.  His ways are much higher, and designed to bless and benefit us. To wait on the Lord means to be content and patient because we actually believe what the scriptures say, and are attempting to actually do the things the Lord taught. We can cling to God and resting in His love and wisdom. This means trusting His timing.  This element of waiting, however can be the most difficult aspect of all for two reasons.

(1) Contentment and patience are difficult because they are so contrary to fallen humanity and how we naturally think even after we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. It takes constant renewal in the Word, fellowship with the Lord, and growth through struggle to change.

(2) Contentment and patience fly directly in the face of the cunning delusion Satan constantly seeks to pass off on the human race, namely, that man does not need God and can find security, satisfaction, and significance apart from the Lord through his own solutions and human wisdom.

To wait on the Lord means learning to be content and patient as we cling to God in a fallen world and rest in His love and wisdom (Phil. 4:11). We are assured that someday we will have all the tears wiped away, and that all things will become new again (Rev. 21:4).  The key is to exercise faith here and now, while we struggle through this fallen world.    

2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

On the one hand, being content and patient means learning to be independent of the things we think we need for our significance, security, or satisfaction in life.   

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

On the other hand, it means learning to trust in the Lord in the midst of a fallen world. It means resting in His goodness and being committed to His purposes and glory no matter how things seem at the moment. Though believers generally recognize Satan’s big lie for what it is—a lie—we still tend to buy into part of his sales pitch concerning his substitutes and counterfeits for happiness and fulfillment.   

(1) We tell ourselves we can’t be happy unless we have certain of the details of life—a particular kind of car, or home, or furnishings for our home, etc.

(2) We believe the lie that we can’t be significant and find meaning in life unless we obtain the position we are coveting, unless we are accepted by a particular group of people, or unless certain people respect our opinions. (You fill in the blank.)

When we believe these kinds of lies, we become discontent. Then, in our state of discontent and false belief, we turn from waiting on the Lord, we resort to our own wisdom, various causes, distractions, and prevailing norms of the day.  We reach into our own little bag of tricks to get what we want. Regarding this Jeremiah wrote:

Jeremiah 2:12-13 “Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the LORD. 13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.

One of the greatest evidences of our fallenness is our propensity to seek to get from this world what only God can give us. God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17), but never apart from Him. Without the Lord, even in the midst of great prosperity, life becomes like parched ground and we end up like a gerbil on a wheel, running, running, running, but going nowhere and facing only discontent and boredom.

To wait on the Lord means to learn contentment with His provision and timing in any given situation through fellowship with God— following Him, knowing Him, clinging to Him, and trusting Him because He is trustworthy.