Monday, January 14, 2013

Waiting on the Lord Pt 4

Waiting Involves Taking Action at the Right Time

There is a time to plow, a time to sow, and a time to reap, but they are never done all together or at the same time. The right thing at the wrong time, still won't get us where we need to go.  For a few years, my father was a rice farmer and as a boy growing up on the farm, I had the privilege of working on the farm and being involved in the rice growing process. The most important and exciting seasons were when we planted and harvested the rice, but they were weeks and weeks apart. We would plow, disk, and harrow the soil, and then we would plant the seed. After the rice had sprouted a few inches, the fields with their levies were flooded with water. For the next months, the job was to maintain the proper level of water on the rice and wait for the rice to grow. Daily we walked and watched the fields to see that the water lever was just right. Finally, after weeks of waiting and watching and anticipation, it was time for the harvest and in would come the combines and the trucks. But the whole process involved doing the right thing at the right time.

Waiting on the Lord is like that. God is in the business of growing a spiritual harvest in our lives, but this takes time and our cooperation in doing the right things at the right time.

Waiting Involves Resting in God’s Timing

Psalm 145:15 The eyes of all look to Thee, And Thou dost give them their food in due time.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. 

Waiting means resting in God’s timing and activity while taking care of our responsibilities—the things we can do and should do as set forth in the Word of God.  On the one hand we are to rest and be still. This stands opposed to running ahead of the Lord. One example may be when one’s spouse is acting in disobedience to the Word (as it is perceived by the other spouse) the great temptation is to nag and brow beat the other partner with arguments and complaining, etc., but scriptural direction to us in such situations is far different. Our responsibility is to seek to win them by Christlike behavior while we wait on the Lord to work in their lives, using our testimony if He sees fit to do so.

Psalm 37:7.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

“Rest” in this verse is the Hebrew damam which is sometimes translated “wait.” Its basic meaning, however, is “be or grow dumb, be silent, still, motionless,” or “stand still.” Note that it is given in a context where twice we are told to “wait on the Lord” (verses 7 and 9).  This word is used of the sun standing still in Joshua 10:12 and where it includes the idea of stopping normal activity. How we need time from our normal activity to get quiet, ponder and be alone with the Lord. So, damam is likewise used in the sense of getting quiet for the purpose of quiet meditation on the Word or on the Lord (Ps. 62:5 [uses damam with tiqvah, hope from qavah]; Ps. 4:4, “be still”).

We might compare a well-known verse, Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving (“be still”) and know that I am God …”Though a different Hebrew word is used, this verse stresses a similar idea. The key word here is rapha, “relax, become motionless, let go.”

On the other hand, Psalm 37:34 points us to the other side of the coin. “Wait for the LORD, and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.” Waiting for the Lord includes keeping His way or doing what is right. 

Waiting Means Trusting in God and His Goodness

Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.

Psalm 62:5-8 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. 7 On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Isaiah 8:17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust (look unto, hope) in him. (NIV)

These verses and many others teach us that the essence of waiting is trust or faith in the nature and character of God. No one can wait on the Lord if he or she does not truly trust Him.  

Waiting Involves Looking Away From What We Should Avoid.

As we rest in God’s timing, goodness, and eternal purposes, taking the right actions includes avoiding the negatives like:

(1) Refusing to retaliate or take revenge (Pro. 20:22).
(2) Refusing to pass judgment, i.e., to judge the motives of others, (1 Cor. 4:5) or to join in condemning those who we may rightly pass judgement upon.  The Lord doesn't condemn mankind, so why should we? (John 3:17)    
(3) Refusing to take the easy way out of relationships rather than committing oneself to working on reconciliation and biblical solutions which is God’s way.
(4) Refusing to run from some other circumstance because of difficulties without first seeking the Lord.
(5) Refusing to resort to the manipulation of others (like one’s husband or wife or child) because we don’t want to wait on the Lord to work. We want change now!
(6) Refusing to fret over the prosperity of others, or be jealous, envious, resentful, frustrated, and angry when our situation is not so good.  In contrast nothing lifts the heart like gratitude.  

When we find fear, anger, or jealousy overtaking our life, we know we need to get back to the things that bring that sweet joy and peace in our hearts.  As seen above, the natural man alternate attitudes can cause us to turn to strategies like gossip, pouting, revenge tactics, or seeking our happiness by climbing the ladder of success in work, in a position, in popularity, etc., at the expense of family, health, or our walk with the Lord.  But waiting on the Lord also means using common sense to do the things we can and should without panic or running ahead of Him. 

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