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Friday, January 13, 2017

Wait Upon The Lord

Wait Upon The Lord

Psa 27:14  Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD...

Contrary to popular belief... or what my wife might tell you... I really am not a very patient person. Now, I know that may be surprising to some... since I've acquitted myself in this so well over the years... but the truth is... I'm not a very patient person.

For example... I absolutely detest standing in lines. I can't think of how many restaurants I've not eaten at... or opening night movies I haven't seen... simply because there's a line waiting to get in. I have never been to a Black Friday sale in my life because one thing I dislike more than standing in lines... is standing in a loud, pushy, and rude crowd of people jockeying to get in the line to get in the door first.

When I go to the store... I try my best to find a checkout lane that doesn't have any customers in it... or at least just one or two that only have a couple items in their baskets... in hopes they'll get done quickly. You know... checkout lines and walking around “shopping” at the store is one reason I do so much more online shopping now... but then... I have to wait for my purchases to arrive in the mail.

Now... being impatient can be a problem living in the Texas panhandle... because here, we tend to measure distance by the amount of time it takes to get somewhere. Everywhere, other than where you're at is far away. It's going to take time to get anywhere. We might try to lessen this time by exceeding the speed limit... but it still takes time... and a measure of patience.

Oh... and don't even get me started on Doctor's offices! More than once I've thought about sending them a bill for every ½ hour I've had to wait past our appointment time. I've walked out of more than one waiting room without ever seeing a doctor... simply because they kept me waiting past my endurance.

Yeah... my patience leaves some to be desired... and I should probably be in prayer about it... but I'm afraid He might answer my prayer by making me wait in even more things... like lines... or doctor's offices...

But you know... one thing I've found in reading my Bible... is that I'm not the only impatient person that God knows. Nor am I the only impatient person that God has continued to use despite their flaws in this area.

For example... Abraham's impatience brought Ishmael into the world... and the following generations of hatred between the children of the flesh and the children of the promise. Tamar's impatience guaranteed her place in the lineage of Messiah. Saul's impatience gave rise to a new royal blood line in David.

And Peter's impatience took him fishing... and then to a seaside conversation with our risen Lord where he was told to... Joh 21:15  ..."Tend My lambs."

Now, we know that the Lord works all things (including our impatience) together for the good of those who love Him (Ro 8:28)... So, those who love Him... should exhibit patience... because... 1Co 13:4  Love is patient...

And the truth of that statement is clearly displayed to us each and every day, through the Father's loving patience with us. Though we sin all the time, and fall short of His design for us... His love for us, is demonstrated through His patience with us.

Psa 103:8, 10  The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. [10] He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

Now... our opening verse tells us to... Psa 27:14  Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD...

And many times, when we think of that verb “wait”... we also tend to think of adjectives that so often go along with it in a sentence... such as “patiently”, “calmly” or “continually”. That's why I spoke so much about my patience... or lack of it... in relation to “waiting” in lines or doctor's offices.

And though “patiently waiting” is implied in our verse... it also goes beyond that and actually speaks of “eagerly”, “expectantly” and “hopefully” waiting.

In other words, we are to “patiently” and “expectantly” wait on the Lord. Not just calmly and stoically sit back and wait for Him to do whatever... No! Our waiting is filled with anxious anticipation of His revelation.

And there are several other strands of meaning behind the biblical thought of “waiting” on the Lord. Strands such as...

I. Our Dependence on Him

Act 17:28  for in Him we live and move and have our being...

Just as the newborn baby waits on his mother for life and sustenance... and as the patient waits on the skills of the surgeon to give him the hope of life... so also we wait on the Lord because our very existence is dependent upon Him.

He is our original fountain of life... and He upholds us each and every moment... in the palms of His hands. The fact that we live at all is his gift... That we have power to move is his gift... And our continued and prolonged existence is also his gift.

Now... there is a sense in the Scripture where this waiting on the Lord is a universal thing. Psa 145:15  The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.

But this is an inescapable and unconscious dependence. In other words... all of creation is dependent upon the Lord... whether it's conscious of that dependence or not.

But our verse speaks of dependence that's a conscious and hopeful anticipation of the Lord's providence. We wait on Him because we know that in Him we live and move and have our being. Our minds have been wakened to the knowledge that on Him... hangs every beat of our heart... and breath that we take.
We gain strength in that knowledge... and it produces a courage within us beyond what would be possible if we were dependent upon ourselves.

Waiting on the Lord speaks of our dependence on Him... but it also speaks of...

II. Our Obedience to Him

Psa 123:2  Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

To wait... is another term for service. When we go to a restaurant and sit down at a table... the person who's there to supply our wants is distinguished by the title of waiter. But in biblical times... this service was supplied by servants... or actually, slaves who were so attentive to their master's desires that every minor gesture of the hand would bring them to his side to supply whatever his want or desire was.

This servant's position couldn't be filled with the idle or lazy... because it required the utmost attention to detail, and demanded the highest level of energy. Every flick of the wrist... wink of the eye... clearing of the throat would cause a flurry of activity designed to fulfill the master's need.

And so... when we wait on the Lord... it doesn't mean a cessation of activity because the thought of service runs right through the word. Our eyes remain focused on Him every time we help a brother or sister in need... and do it lovingly for Jesus' sake... expecting nothing... and wanting nothing in return.

We wait on the Lord when we teach our Sunday School class faithfully... or every time we go out of our way to bring some joy to a heart that's in need of cheering up. The servant who works in the kitchen waits on the Lord when they do their job faithfully and to the best of their abilities... for His name's sake.

You know... this reminds me of Kairos Prison Ministry. On the men's units... like the Jordan unit in Pampa... it's only the male volunteers that get to go inside and work with the inmates. So... the only faces of Kairos the inmates see throughout the weekend... are the faces of the male volunteers that go inside. It's only on Sunday, for about and hour or two... that they ever see the other faces that are involved in the ministry. The ones that do all the real work, outside, in the kitchen.

Those women... but there are some men outside too... are waiting on the Lord by faithfully doing all those things that are necessary for the smooth functioning of the whole weekend inside!

Don't forget though... that just as the servant who's faithfully performing their duty for the Lord's sake, is waiting on the Lord... so also is the master or mistress of the house waiting on the Lord when, for His sake, they are faithful and kind and observant of the servant.

We're prone to limit the thought of waiting on the Lord, in this regard, aren't we? It's easy for us to think in terms of servants serving... but the notion that the master can serve too... seldom even enters our thoughts. But the fact is... that our Master is the example of serving... of waiting on the Lord... to all people... whether high or low.

Waiting on the Lord speaks of our dependence on Him and our obedience to Him... but it also speaks of...

III. Our Love for Him

Love... 1Co 13:7  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Intrinsic to the idea of waiting on the Lord is the notion of our love for Him. I mean, think about it. We won't wait for things we don't like or love, will we? I don't like going to the doctor... so it's difficult for me to wait past my appointment time. But those things that have great value to us... those things that we love... we will anxiously wait for... won't we.

Back in the early 90's... Southern Baptist's came up with a program for youth and college students... called “True Love Waits”... The program promotes sexual purity and abstinence before marriage... You see... God has designed man and woman to share this physical union inside the boundaries of the marriage covenant. So the person who truly desires to follow the Lord will wait until after marriage to share that gift with their spouse...

But so many today no longer see value in waiting... for anything. Our society has so warped our sense of morality to the point that instant gratification is now considered right and normal... and waiting for anything... whether it be sex or a new set of golf clubs... is just so archaic!

But the biblical notion of love waiting... still holds true... regardless of what the world may say. Out of his great love for Rachel, Jacob worked 7 years for his bride... and then worked another 7 years after being tricked by his father-in-law. Can you imagine anyone being willing to do that today?

And what is it that makes a mother rise from her bed when she hears her child cry? Love. Even if she's exhausted... sick... or frail herself... she will still pull herself out of bed to bring comfort to her baby. Because love waits on and love waits for... the object of its affection.

You know... it must have been hard, under the old covenant... to wait upon God. He must have seemed so far away back then... shrouded in darkness and clouds... thunder and lightening surrounding His throne.

But now... under the new covenant... access to the throne of grace is within reach and open to all who believe in the Son! Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Heb 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

And because we've drawn near... and He's extended His grace and mercy toward us... we love Him. And because of that love... we wait upon Him. And that waiting also speaks of...

IV. Our Expectancy of Him

Why does anyone “wait” for anything? When we “wait”... aren't we usually waiting “for” something?

For example... I've got two dogs, and every time I go into the kitchen... they come into the kitchen and plop themselves down... and wait on me. But they're not simply passively waiting... they're expectantly waiting. They know that the kitchen means food, and they follow me in there and wait... expectantly. Will I toss them a bite or two of something to eat?

Or... if I've made myself a plate for dinner and go into the living room and sit in the recliner to eat and watch some TV... they'll follow me to my recliner... and will sit down at my feet and remain at the ready... staring at me... hoping that I'll share something with them. They “expect” something from me.

The accused waits upon the verdict of the judge and jury with an expectancy that can border on the painful. The prison inmate waits upon the parole board in anticipation of being granted an early release. The young man waits upon the young lady with an eager expectation of her response to his request of marriage.

To wait upon the Lord is to wait with expectancy. There is no waiting without it... because waiting without expectancy is waiting without faith! Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

So in faith... we wait upon Him for His guidance... His instruction...the fulfillment of His Word... Whatever it is... we wait for it with an eager expectation.

And in faith... we wait for His mercy... His pardon... for His salvation... which He has promised to all who will trust in the Son...

The Bible tells us... Rom 10:9-10  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  [10]  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Waiting upon the Lord implies waiting for something that lies in the future... something that we will receive one day.

His salvation however... is something you can quit waiting for... right now... by receiving Him as Lord and Savior.

Confess with your mouth... Believe in your heart... You will be saved.

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