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.
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). In Psalm 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.
(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.