Sunday, December 02, 2007

Waiting on God (1)

Culturally, and perhaps even inherently, human beings are impatient creatures. Waiting is far from virtuous in our marketplace-driven social self-awareness. Fast food, express grocery lanes, 15 minute oil changes... we don't like waiting. Especially when it matters... like when we're waiting on God. And yet the practice of waiting on God appears to be a core practice in the experience of those who truly know Him.

A friend of mine recently assembled a brief study on the practice which can be viewed HERE. I've added more of my own thoughts below:

Biblically, it seems there are a number of different kinds of waiting...
  1. Waiting on God's sustaining person - (the basic action of faith for our dependent personhood)

    "Surely every man walks about as a phantom; surely they make an uproar for nothing; he amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You" (Psalm 39:6-7).

    "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.
    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. 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 40:1-3).

    "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him" (Lamentations 3:25).

  2. Waiting on God's justice

    "For Your salvation I wait, O Lord" (Genesis 49:18)

    "To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day" (Psalm 29:1-5).

    "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" (Psalm 37:7).

    "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay' says the Lord" (Romans 12:19).

    "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God" (1 Corinthians 4:5).

    "And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise" (Hebrews 6:15).

    "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

  3. Waiting on God's forgiveness and redemption

    "Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your lovingkindness remember me, for Your goodness' sake, O Lord... Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles" (Psalm 25:7, 20-22).

    "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it" (Romans 8:19, 23, 25).

  4. Waiting on God's strength

    "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" (Isaiah 40:31).

  5. Waiting on God's leading in a specific action or decision

    "Moses therefore said to them, 'Wait, and I will listen to what the Lord will command concerning you'" (Numbers 9:8).

    "Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me" (Acts 1:4).

    "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5).

  6. Total waiting on God - (the cessation of all activity like work, eating, and sleep for want of a prayerful interaction with God, generally in desperate circumstances.)

    "For You I wait all the day" (Psalm 25:5).

    "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul longs for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night while they say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'" (Psalm 42:1-3).

    "Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God" (Psalm 69:1-3)
  • And by the way, as mentioned in the previous post, it also seems that the waiting that honors God and yields fruit normally occurs simultaneously with the active and ongoing doing of good.

    "Wait for the Lord and keep His way and He will exalt you"(Psalm 37:34).

    "Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually" (Hosea 12:6).

    "If anyone is serving Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be (i.e. wait) also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him" (John 12:26).

    "Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life" (Jude 1:21).

  • Also, I'm amazed that not only do we wait for God, but God waits for us.

    "Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He
    waits on high to have compassion on you For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him" (Isaiah 30:18).
Conversely for us, there are times in which waiting is unwise and even evil...
  1. Waiting to do good

    "Then they said to one another, 'We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent; if we wait until morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come, let us go'" (2 Kings 7:9).

  2. Waiting to obey a direct command of God

    "Now Elisha the prophet called one of
    the sons of the prophets and said to him, 'Gird up your loins, and take this flask of oil in your hand and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you arrive there, search out Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in and bid him arise from among his brothers, and bring him to an inner room. Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, "Thus says the LORD, 'I have anointed you king over Israel.'" Then open the door and flee and do not wait'" (2 Kings 9:1-3).
So, aside from a general classification of these different kinds of waiting, what do they actually look like in practice?

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