Wait for the Lord

Wait for the Lord
The message in this post is for those who recognize and struggle with doubt, fear, failure, disappointment and inadequacy. More specifically, this message is for you if you are having trouble with sin in your life.  Perhaps, recently, in the hour of testing, you have been too weak to resist temptation and have fallen into one vice or another?  Maybe you have fought against this particular sin vigorously, but you have been defeated? Consequently, you are now ashamed because you can’t seem to break free from the grip that this sin has on your life.   This message is for you if you are struggling with unbelief.  Maybe you are ashamed to say it aloud, but in your heart you are asking, “Is God real? or Am I making this God up in my head or believing something that is just a product of my imagination?”   This message is for you who do not trust God?  I know this may be hard to admit for some. Christians are supposed to trust their God, but, nonetheless, there are times when you do not trust him.  Perhaps you do not trust Him because of some trial you are going through? Perhaps, while going through this trial, you do not sense His presence and he does not appear to be answering you? Maybe you have expected God to do something – answer a prayer, bless you or someone you love in a certain way, provide for you, or just show up in your life in a way that you can truly feel and know Him?  However, despite much prayer and great attempts to trust Him, your expectations have not been satisfied.   This message is for you who have made some commitment to God, but haven’t been able to carry through.  Maybe you have promised to pray more or read the bible more or to dig in deeper to the call God has on your life, but you feel impotent and discouraged because you can’t seem to keep your promise.   This message is for you who don’t know what God is calling you to do or are confused about your calling and purpose in life.   This message is for you who are at a crossroads in life.  Perhaps you need to make a major decision and do not know what to do. Sometimes choices you are faced with are both good options for your life, but you don’t know which choice is right.  Alternatively, sometimes both choices are bad, but you do not know what to do other than make the best of a bad situation.   This message is for you who have been hurt deeply by someone you love.  Maybe you have been betrayed, lied to, physically or mentally abused, or ___________________ [fill in the blank]   This message is for you who are facing a problem that is too great for you.  Maybe you sense that you don’t have the strength to push it through?  Maybe life has become a burden too heavy to bear? You feel too tired to try to go on. You are at a place where you just want to get away, change or die.   THE MESSAGE I HAVE TO SHARE WITH YOU FROM GOD’S WORD IS TO “WAIT” Isaiah 40:27-31: • 27 Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, My way and my lot are hidden from the Lord, and my right is passed over without regard from my God? • 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. • 29 He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. • 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; • 31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Right now you might be saying, “Great, Jason, thank you for the encouragement.  ‘Wait.’  Very helpful. I am drowning in despair and you tell me to wait (sarcastic sigh).” I understand.  Please stay with me a moment while I explain. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO, “WAIT FOR THE LORD”?  
  1.   When God Tells You To Wait, He Wants You “To Hope” In Him.

  One of the Hebrew words for “wait” is “yachal” (Strong’s 3176) which also means to hope for, to expect, to await, to tarry for and to trust.   Read and meditate upon the following usages of “yachal” (in bold):

  • 1Sa 10:8 – And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, [and] to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.
  • Psa 69:3 – I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I waitfor my God.
  • Job 13:15 – Though he slay me, yet will I trustin him . . .
  • Psa 31:24 – Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hopein the LORD.
  • Psa 33:18 – Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hopein his mercy . . .
  • Psa 33:22 – Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hopein thee.
  • Psa 38:15 – For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
  • Psa 42:5, 11 – Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hopethou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.
  • Psa 71:14 – But I will hopecontinually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
  • Psa 119:43 – And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hopedin thy judgments.
  • Psa 119:49 – Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to
  • Psa 119:74 – They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hopedin thy word.
  • Psa 119:81 – My soul fainteth for thy salvation: [but] I hopein thy word.
  • Psa 119:114 – Thou [art] my hiding place and my shield: I hopein thy word.
  • Psa 130:5 – I waitfor the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I
  • Psa 130:7 – Let Israel hopein the LORD: for with the LORD [there is] mercy, and with him [is] plenteous redemption.
  • Psa 131:3 – Let Israel hopein the LORD from henceforth and forever.
  • Psa 147:11 – The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hopein his mercy.
  • Lam 3:24 – The LORD [is] my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hopein him.
  • Mic 7:7 – Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will waitfor the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

  Having mediated on the foregoing passages, you should come to the inescapable conclusion that waiting “for” or “on” the Lord means to place your hope in God and God ALONE. Hope. Waiting = Hope. Hope.  [selah] Think about the word “Hope” for a moment and be real with yourself when you answer these two questions: What do you place your hope in?  Is your hope in our Lord or in someone or something else?   While you think through the answers to these questions, let me propose something to you:  all hope – what ever it is we hope for or in is defined by receiving the fulfillment of some promise.  Life, death, health, wealth, peace, love, friendship, success, comfort, freedom, etc.  The only reason we have hope in these things is because there is some promise that we may receive them. Perhaps the better question is who do we hope in? Every promise has a source.  Who is the one making the promise that you are hoping for or in?   Hope is always defined by a promiser and a promise.  Without a promiser and a promise, there is no hope. Stated another way: Hope does not exist without a promise and the person who makes the promise.  Indeed, our hope is really only as strong as the assurance we have in the person who has made us a promise.  If you know the person making you a promise is unable to deliver on his or her promise, then the hope you have in receiving what is promised is in vain.   However, if you know the person who makes you a promise is able to deliver on his or her promise, then you have substantive hope that you will receive what you have been promised.   Hope guides our thoughts, feelings and actions.  We all have hope.  Again, I believe the question is who and what do we place our hope in?  Perhaps a related question is: how reliable is our hope?  Is it a vain and desperate hope in one who can’t deliver? or Is our hope substantive and sure because the person we have placed our hope in can deliver on his promise? Do you hope in the promise of a man? Do you hope in the promise of the world? Do you hope in the promises you make to yourself? Do you hope in Satan’s promise? Do you hope in the promise of God? I know all of us desire to say that our hope is in God and his promise.  Perhaps . . . However, let’s  briefly consider each promisor and promise and allow the Holy Spirit speak to us about where our hope truly is so that we can redirect it to the one who provides us the best hope. PROMISE OF MAN What are the promises of man? What I mean is: are there promises that people have given you that you place your hope in?  For example, in a marriage there is a promise between a husband and a wife.   In employment, there is a promise of an employer to an employee. Parents offer the  promise of care, love and support to their children.  A farmer promises that, if he plants a seed and waters it, it will grow.  A bank promises to keep your money safe. Think of people in your life and what they have promised you? What is the promise? What are the terms of the promise? Do you believe you receive what has been promised? Why do you believe you will receive what has been promised? PROMISE OF THE WORLD What is the promise of the world?  I believe we can sum up the promise of the world in one word: “success.”  Here are some definitions of “success”:

  • the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
  • the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
  • a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
  • a person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show.
  • Synonyms: achievement, fame, triumph, winning
  • a winner

  Are you driven by the promise of success? Who is the source of the promise?  What is your assurance the person will deliver on the promise? PROMISE TO YOURSELF What promises do you make yourself? Goals: I will ________ [fill in the blank] Dreams: Before I die, I want ________ [fill in the blank] Are you self-reliant? What assurance do you have that you will be able to deliver on the promises you make to yourself? Do you pursue your agenda for life and ask God to bless it?  Do your goals and dreams supersede the plans God has for your life?  How do you tell the difference between your promises and the promises of God? PROMISE OF SATAN In the bible, Satan is well-know for making several kinds of promises.   I will summarize them into four categories:

  1. Satan promises that you and I will be equal to God if we eat the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of good and evil rather than the tree of life.
  2. Satan promises that he can give us dominion and power if we worship him.
  3. Satan promises we can live by our own will and resources apart from the word of God.
  4. Satan promises us that God owes us something and that we should demand from Him payment of what we have coming to us by right.

  The foregoing promises are exemplified in Genesis 3 and Matthew 4; however, when ever the bible describes Satan at work on humanity, one of these promises or a variation of one of these promises is at play.  What needs or emotions do such promises appeal to? Have you placed your hope in any one of these promises? What assurance do you have that Satan can deliver on anything he promises? WAITING IS THE PROCESS OF RELYING UPON THE SUBSTANCE OF OUR HOPE – JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD One might argue that the foregoing promisers and promises are not evil in and of themselves.  Indeed, one might argue that for man to give and receive promises is good and can fulfill Christ’s command to love one another.  Another might argue that being successful in this world can bring a certain joy and fulfillment in life and can allow us to be an effective witness to the goodness of God.  Still another might argue that setting goals and having dreams can bring a certain level of inspiration and purpose in this life and glorify God.  Finally, one might argue that God really doesn’t mean what he says and that he is unreliable to deliver on His promise.  I have known many people who charged God with being unreliable because of some disappointment in not receiving something from Him for which they felt entitled.  However, God’s promise of new life in Him can not be chained to human pride and selfishness. “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.” (Romans 3:4) Do you see the deception and distraction of placing another hope ahead of the hope we have in God and his promise? More often than not, I would submit to you that our temporal hope supersedes the hope we have in God and His promise.  Consequently, we struggle and despair in life because we have entrusted ourselves to a hope we have in the promises of man, the world, ourselves and, perhaps, the devil himself. Any hope that usurps the hope we have in God and His promise is a vain hope.  Man’s promise is limited.  The world’s promise is empty.  The promises you make to yourself can only achieve what you are capable of doing.  Satan’s promises can only lead to eternal damnation. Ultimately, any hope beyond the hope we have in God and his promise is idolatry and will result in bondage to sin, emptiness, suffering, pain and, in the end, death.  We must not mix any other hope [promisers and the promises] with the hope we have in God and his promise.  As Christians, we often try to fit God and his promise into the promises we have received from man, the world or promises we have made ourselves.  However, the consequences of combining our temporal hope with our eternal hope will always be frustration, disillusionment and/or apostasy. So, in summary, when God tells you to wait, God is asking you to place ALL your hope in Him and His promise.  Notably, our faith is partly defined by our hope as expressed in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Dear friend, God loves you with a jealous affection. “Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us . . . with a jealous love?” James 4:5.  So, don’t place your hope in another and, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  (Rom. 15:13)    

  1.   When God Tells You To Wait, He Wants You To Be Patient In The Hope He Has Placed Upon Your Heart.

  One of the greek words for “wait” is “hypomonē” (Strong’s 5281) which also means steadfastness, constancy, endurance, patience and perseverance.  Read and meditate upon the following usages of “hypomonē” (in bold):  

  • Luk 8:15 – But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with
  • Luk 21:19 – In your patiencepossess ye your souls.
  • Rom 8:25 – But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patiencewait for [it].
  • 2Th 3:5- And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patientwaiting for Christ.
  • Hbr 10:36 – For ye have need of patience,that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
  • Hbr 12:1 – Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patiencethe race that is set before us.
  • Jam 1:3 – Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh
  • Jam 1:4 – But let patiencehave [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
  • Jam 5:11 – You know how we call those blessed (happy) who were steadfast [who endured]. You have heard of the patienceand endurance of Job, and you have seen the Lord’s [purpose and how He richly blessed him in the] end, inasmuch as the Lord is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy.
  • Rev 3:10 – Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth. 11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown.

  As you have mediated on these passages and considered your own life experiences, I trust you have come to the same conclusion  I have, to wit, waiting on the Lord is not easy.   I don’t think patience would be patience if waiting on the Lord was easy.   Waiting on the Lord takes a lot of time – sometimes many years.  However, if we love God like the people applauded for their faith in Hebrews Chapter 11, we will trust in His ability to keep His promise and patiently wait.    Even when we feel like we don’t have the strength to wait, God himself will provide you and I with strength to wait. But how?  Good question.  The answer leads to my third, final and favorite point about what He means when God tells you to wait.  

  1.  When God Tells You To Wait, He Wants You To Bind Yourself To Him.

  Another Hebrew word for “wait” is qavah {pronounced “kayvah”}.   This is the word used in the lead scripture for this message, Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait for the Lord . . . “ Many bible teachers and scholars focus their translation on the concept of actively waiting or expectantly waiting for someone or something, i.e., a child wating on Cristmans morning for Mom and Dad to wake up to pen presents, a thief hiding on the side of the road waiting for someone to pass. However, I would like to draw your attention to the primitive root translation of this word, which is “to bind together.”  In this regard, the Hebrew word means to “to twist, to bind – i.e. to whence a rope.”  This concept of “waiting” is closely related to the concept of strength (that is, to be strong and robust) as used in scripture because the word conveys the notion of binding something together – like a rope.   To bind together means to tie the parts of something together, i.e., to tie a number of things or people together or, in chemistry, it means to combine with, form a chemical bond with, or be taken up by, as an enzyme with its substrate. My favorite illustration of this concept comes from a personal experience I used to have with my son, Robbie, when he was a toddler.  Although he could walk, his legs were too weak to take him very far, especially if his mom and I went hiking or on a trip that required a lot of walking.  He would get frustrated and cry walking with his mom and I because it was very difficult for him and his short little legs to keep up.  He needed strength – my strength – to go the places I was going and see the things I was seeing.   Indeed, the chances of keeping up with us were hopeless if he relied upon his own strength.   So what did we do?  He bound himself to me in a backpack.  The backpack was specially made for a child of his size to fit into.  He could securely be strapped in and fit snugly on my back.  This would allowed my son to appropriate a strength that was not his own so that he could go where I would go and see what I would see.  Effortlessly, my strength became his strength and we could experience life together. Likewise, when God tells us to wait for him, he is telling us to bind ourselves together with Him and He will become our strength.   This is good news because waiting on God does not require us to be strong.  It simply requires us to bind ourselves to Him.  His strength becomes our strength and we can experience His life with Him. [selah] Now, with this concept of waiting fresh in your mind, let us revisit Is. 40:31 and replace the term “wait” with the concept to bind yourself to:  But they that [bind themselves] 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.   I was always puzzled by this scripture and how in waiting I would renew my strength and have wings as eagles and run and not be weary and walk and not be faint until I understood that waiting was an invitation to bind myself to God so that he could be my strength. Consider some of these other scriptures that utilize the same concept and be encouraged that the Lord your God is inviting you to bind yourself to Him and live by His life and His Strength:

  • Psa 25:3 – Yea, let none that [bind themselves] on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
  • Psa 25:5 – Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou [art] the God of my salvation; on thee do I [bind myself] all the day.
  • Psa 25:21 – Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I [bind myself] on thee.
  • Psa 27:14 – [Bind yourself] on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: [Bind yourself], I say, on the LORD.
  • Psa 37:9 – For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that [bind themselves] upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
  • Pro 20:22 – Say not thou, I will recompense evil; [but][bind yourself to] on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
  • Isa 25:9 – And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God 430; we have [bound ourselves to] him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
  • Lam 3:25 – The LORD [is] good unto them that [bind themselves to]  him, to the soul [that] seeketh him.
  • Hsa 12:6- Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment , and [bind yourselves] on thy God continually.

  Therefore, if you are having trouble with sin in your life, bind yourself to the Lord your God, indeed bind yourself to His cross, and he will give you strength in your hour of testing.  “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) If you are struggling with unbelief, close the ears of your heart to the voices that plague you and bind yourself to the hope God has promised you in Himself because he is faithful. (Heb. 10:23) As the Apostle Paul exhorts us in Romans Chapter 4, look at the example of Abraham who, “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” (Rom. 4:18-21)   If you are going through some trial  and you do not sense His presence and he does not appear to be answering you, stop looking to your circumstances and bind your eyes to your glorious Lord. He is the answer to your heart’s cry and he will not let you be overcome by the storm. (Matt. 14:27) If  you don’t know what God is calling you to do or are confused about your calling and purpose in life, take heart because He knows you intimately. (Ps. 139) He says He knows you so well that he has even numbered the hairs of your head. (Luke 12:7) Bind yourself to Him and His life in you will lead you and guide you into His purposes for you. (2 Peter 1:2-4) If you have been hurt deeply by someone you love, betrayed, lied to, physically or mentally abused, know that the Lord promises that He is near to the brokenhearted.  (Ps. 34:18) Indeed, our Lord understands because he Himself, ” . . . was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Is. 53:3)   So, having considered what it means to “wait” on the Lord, let me leave you with a few questions:

  • What keeps us from waiting – binding ourselves to – the Lord?
  • What are some of the consequences of not waiting on the Lord?
  • What are some of the benefits of waiting on the Lord?

  Send me your answers to these questions.  I would love to hear from you.