Read His Words Before Ours!
From the beginning, humankind has been waiting. In one crushing moment, paradise and unbroken relationship with God were lost. As Adam and Eve trudged from the lushness of the Garden into the dust of everywhere else because of their decision to sin against the God who loved them, the waiting for a redeemer and rescuer began. (Genesis 3)
Abraham and Sarah were promised more children than the stars in the skies (Genesis 15:1-6), but they grew tired of waiting and took their own action (Genesis 16). The Middle East has been at war within itself ever since as one son (Ishmael/Islam) warred against the other (Isaac/Judaism).
Generations later, the nation of Israel continued to wait. As foretold to Abraham, God spectacularly and miraculously freed them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:29-42, Exodus 14:5-31), but it wasn’t enough.
While Moses received the Law from God on Mt. Sinai, the people decided Yahweh was no longer worth the wait, so they made their own god, a golden calf. Like Abraham and Sarah, Israel took matters into their own hands and disaster followed. (Exodus 32)
From Israel, we learn what not to do while waiting. Choosing to abandon the wait or wrest control from God always results in destruction.
Israel used their waiting in the wilderness as an opportunity to continue their rebellion rather than choose to grow in trusting Yahweh. (Numbers 16) Eventually, by God’s grace, they entered the Promised Land. However, humankind’s sinful nature continued to manifest through disobedience and rebellion in the face of God’s protection and generosity. Israel took God’s gift of land and, through selfish arrogance, their kingdom became savagely divided. They waited for rescue almost continually. Wait, rebel, endure captivity … repeat. Over and over and over. Israel ignored the signs of God’s provision and protection all around them.
Therefore, God appointed prophets to speak for Him, to admonish and encourage the Israelites to return to God. Still, Israel ignored the words of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and other prophets who all pointed to The Only One who could rescue. (Micah 5:2)
Eventually, the prophets, too, grew silent.
400 years of silence passed without a word or a sign.
We likely haven’t waited 400 years to see God move on our behalf, but even waiting days or months seems like an eternity. It’s hard to hold onto the truth that God still sees us. It’s hard to wait for God to move without attempting to hurry the answer along.
Fast forward to early first century Israel. Rome was the ruling party while Israel still awaited rescue. The 400 years of silent, painful waiting was broken when a young woman was told she would birth the Messiah. (Luke 1:26-33)
Then the Savior was born . . . quietly, inauspiciously, in a stable. (Luke 2:1-7)
A few people knew. Local shepherds and Joseph were visited by angels. The Savior was finally here and they were drawn to worship. (Luke 2:8-20) Seers from the East noticed the star in the heavens mentioned in Numbers 24:17. Though they weren’t followers of Yahweh, they journeyed to Israel to worship this perfect King. (Matthew 2:1-12)
Some suspected. King Herod, who wasn’t the first ruler to order infanticide (Exodus 1:15-22, Matthew 2:16-18), attempted to murder the Promised One, albeit unsuccessfully.
He wasn’t the last to seek Christ’s death.
Still Israel waited thirty more years.
Some in Israel, like Abraham had once done, took matters into their own hands. Zealots began uprisings, fomenting insurrections in an attempt to gain control. They incurred the brutal wrath of Rome and the Sanhedrin (hypocritical and self-righteous religious leaders). Once again, rebellion in the waiting was deadly.
To this unrest, Jesus began His ministry unlike Israel expected, without army or militia. Instead, He revealed the heart of the Father, teaching, healing, and restoring. While the Sanhedrin’s authority felt threatened, and several thousand noticed the miraculous (Matthew 14:13-21), most of Israel completely missed their long-awaited Rescuer living among them.
Sisters, it’s so easy to judge Israel’s folly, but how often have we missed God moving in our lives because He didn’t show up as we expected? Like Israel, we become weary of waiting; we’d rather plunge headfirst into doing things our way. When the outcome is painful, and we open our eyes, we see God was present all along in unexpected ways.
Are you waiting?
I’ve been in a “How long, O Lord?” season.
No clear words from the Lord, and no peace to any direction I consider.
So, I wait.
Is it frustrating? Absolutely. I want clear answers and control.
I want to know “why.”
The uncomfortable call to trust, abide, and rest in Him isn’t easy!
Where do we begin?
Read His Word consistently.
Consider the Psalms where we find company in David’s laments and comfort in his decision to praise.
Put on worship music. Many genres are available!
Finally, let’s be honest with God.
Tell Him the wait is hard, even painful and confusing. Ask the Holy Spirit, our comforter, to teach us to wait with expectancy, ready for our Father’s fulfillment of His promises!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!