"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
-David Livingstone

December 29, 2010

Waiting On the Lord


So I found myself struggling again last night. In my heart I said, "God, it's been 10 months........"
His answer?
Abraham waited 15 years for the promise of Isaac... Moses' wilderness experience lasted for 40 years... Joseph, was innocent, and yet he was not only sold into slavory, but got to sit in a dungeon for years... David had the promise that he would be king and yet he certainly wasn't seeing it happening as he spent years running for his very life... Or what about my Son Jesus as he worked in His father's carpenter shop? Daniel in Babylon? Elijah in hiding for 3 years?............

I mean just think of Moses with his transition from the life of a prince to a simple sheep herder way out in the middle of nowhere. Think of how traumatic that must have been! We're told that he was a successful millitary leader and a favorite with the king and the nation. He had been accustomed to receiving praise and flattery. His heart burned with the desire to deliver his people and he believed that he could do this and then - bam! - he finds himself out herding sheep.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eales; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

The key word in this verse is obviously wait. It's the condition to the promise. From the way it puts it, if we don't wait on the Lord we will never have the strength of the Lord.
This subject is very near and dear to my heart right now. For a while it seemed as if everywhere I turned, everything I read, and even in the songs I heard, the word wait, as in waiting on the Lord, would jump out at me and catch my attention.
I was struggling with feeling extremely discontent. I felt like I was in a "holding pattern." I felt trapped. Then as this was drawn more and more to my attention I began to realize that sometimes God gives us a season in our lives - a season that often we would think of as "dry" - a season for waiting.

-To stay in place in expectation of
-To look forward expectantly
-To be ready and available

Hebrew translation: Wait = Qavah
1) To bind together like a twisted rope
2) Look patiently
3) Hope, expect, look eagerly...

Actually the word qavah has both a literal and a fugurative meaning. The literal meaning is to bind together like a cord, while the figurative meaning is to wait, to hope, to expect.
What does a rope have to do with anything?
You make a rope or cord by twisting and weaving (binding) together thin strands or threads which make up the rope. The more strands that are used in making the rope, the more strength is has. There the word strength is again. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "...a cord of three strands is not quickly broken..."
A piece of string cannot take much weight because it does not have the strength because it is not made of as many strands. A piece of rope though can lift hundreds of pounds because it has many strenads in it. When a rope lifts or pulls a load it stretches a little while it is working. As it stretches, the individual strands are pulled closer together. While this "stress" is on the rope the individual strands work together to lift or pull the load. No one individual strand does all the work. If it did it would break. A ropes strength comes from all the strands working together.
The literal definition of qavah implies strength through numbers. As was already mentioned, the more strands in your rope, the greater its strength. Just as a rope's strength comes from being made of many strands, so our strength comes from being united with Christ. The "rope" of our lives gains strength by being twisted, or woven, or bound together with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
A rope's strength remains constant even when it is not being used. When a rope is not being used, what is it doing? Waiting. It waits for its owner to put it to use. When the rope is attached to the load, it draws its strength from all the strands and goes to work.

Some "strands" that are needed in our lives:
The 2nd most frequently used word translated "wait" is yachal. The KJV sometimes translates yachal as trust (Is. 51:). When you completely trust someone you won't be afrid to wait for them. Neither will you be afraid to let them have your hopes, your dreams, and your future....
-Patience = the willingness to suppress restlessness when confronted with delay.
Psalms 40:1
Think of it like a desert. Patience is our journey for a season and hope is our water during that season. We must have both to arrive at our destination.

But most translations of the Bible choose to translate qavah figuratively instead of literally. To wait, to hope, to expect....

1. Wait

I regress to the examples I began with. Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David....
Going back again to Abraham waiting for the promise of Isaac: Genesis 12:7, 15:5,6
He believed. In chapter 16 Abram grew tired of waiting and followed his own understanding... In chapter 17 we see how at Abram now - at 99 years old! - is still waiting on God and God renews His promise to him. Think of how he must have felt... He still had to wait another year for the fulfillement of the promise. His time of waiting lasted 15 years!
What do you think was God's purpose in making Abraham and Sara wait rather than giving thm what they so desired (and even what was His will for them to have) right away?
Think about it! Almost all the great men in the Bible that come to my mind had a period of waiting in their lives. Even a time of miserable waiting... But it was exactly that that turned each and every one of them into the men that they became.

When a potter has completed his work he will set the piece of work on a shelf, waitng 'til he's certain it is dry. If he puts it in the kiln before that point it will crack or come apart due to the moisture inside.

Read Matthew 25:1-13 about the ten virgins. They were supposed to be waiting. They were expected to wait. With their lamps trimmed and burning, no less!
There's only 2 choices in the waiting process - to be faithful or unfaithful.

We tend to put a negative connotation to waiting. I mean who likes to wait? We live in a world where so much is instant.. We don't like waiting. In fact, often waiting is what we allow to add stress to our lives.

But waiting doesn't mean inactivity or putting our lives on hold. We need to actively carry out our responsibilities and serve in every way we can where God has currently placed us.
Think of a mountain climber who's trapped on a ledge in fog. His rescuers lower a rope to him - he can either lie there and wait for them to come down and tie it around him, or he could talk to them, follow their instructions, tie the rope to his harness and wait for the order to start climbing up.
Hebrews 4:11 "Let us labor together to enter into that rest..."

Lamentations 3:25 Waiting involves seekng the lord.
How do we seek Him?
-Time in Bible study
-Time in prayer
-Time in meditation - on who God is, what He wants to do in us and through us, as well as examining our motives, actions, values, and priorites...
Often waiting is what lease us to soul-searching.

Ecclesiastes 3 talks about seasons in our lives. There's a time to plow, a time to sow, and a time to reap, but they're never done at the same time... God's trying to grown a spiritual harvest in our lives, but that takes time and our cooperation in doing the right things at the right time.

Reasons to wait on the Lord:
1) Because of who God is and what He's able to do!
Jer 14:22
Ps. 62:1-2 and again on 5,6

2) Because of who we are and what we are not able to do!
Proverbs 14:12
Jeremiah 10:23

2. Hope
To wait we must have hope... Do you wait when there is no hope? What are we hoping for? Sometimes we choose the wrong things to hope for simply because they appear to be more present, more tangible, and more responsive to our needs and desires.

Hope - looking forward to a favorable end with expectation and confidence - I like that word confidence.:)

"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
Romans 8:25
Galations 5:5
Psalms 130:5
Hebrews 11:1

3. Expect

We can expect great things from God!
Psalms 34:8
Psalms 18:30 "...His way is perfect..."

There's a general promise: "...Those who wait...will renew their strength..."
But there's also 3 specific promises:
1) "...They shall mount up with wings as eagles..." You could think of this as the ability to rise above the problems and difficulties of life thorugh the strength that a relationship with God gives you.
2) "...They shall run, and not be weary..." The analogy to running becouse of the stress involved would look at the strength God gives us to handle particularly stressful situtions in life.
3) "... They shall walk, and not faint..." Walking portrays our everyday life.

"Hast though not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searaching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 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." Isaih 40:28-31

Note: This is way long, I know. That's basically a variation of a speech I had to do during our training program last month. I was delighted to finally put into words a little of what's been on my heart for some time. I should mention that not all of these are my words. Quite a few of the ideas and illustrations came from various authors who wrote on the subject on webpages and discussions that stemmed from that.

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