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.

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