Gracefully Truthful


Read His Words Before Ours!

Exodus 32:1-29
Psalm 106:6-27
Genesis 16:1-3
1 Samuel 24:1-7
Matthew 7:9-11

Sarai was fed up with waiting. For years, she had held to God’s promise He had made to her husband, Abram, a promise of many descendants. (Genesis 15:1-5) Initially, she had received God’s words with such hope, but now, years later and still childless, she decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. 

“Sarai said to Abram, ‘Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.’ And Abram agreed to what Sarai said.” (Genesis 16:2)

David was also waiting for God to fulfil His promise, a promise that he would be the Israelite king. However, years had passed, and Saul remained on the throne. Even worse, Saul’s anger and jealousy meant David lived under the constant threat of death. One day as David hid from Saul at the back of a cave, an unexpected opportunity presented itself for David to kill Saul, but amazingly David chose not to take it.

“He said to his men, “As the LORD is my witness, I would never do such a thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the LORD’s anointed.’” (1 Samuel 24:6)

Two promises from God, two lengthy periods of waiting, and yet two very different responses. While Sarai chose to intervene in an attempt to see God’s promise fulfilled, David chose to trust that God would fulfil His promise in His own time and in His own way.

Often, times of waiting reveal whether we are really trusting God or trusting ourselves. It’s very easy for our own timing and our own idea of how God “should” work things out to become an idol.

We see this as the Israelites wait at the foot of Mount Sinai. (Exodus 32) Moses has ascended the mountain to receive God’s law, but after a while, when Moses hasn’t returned, the Israelites get fed up and decide to make their own gods to worship.

Aaron gathers gold earrings, which he melts down and forms into a golden calf. Then the Israelites worship the golden calf and praise it for rescuing them from Egypt.

It sounds ridiculous! They have personally seen God’s power in freeing them from slavery and parting the Red Sea to allow them to escape from the Egyptians. Now they are worshipping something they have made themselves!

It may sound crazy, but how often do we behave in a similar way? We may not build a gold statue to worship, but how often do we depend on our own understanding of a situation and try to take matters into our own hands instead of waiting for God’s timing?


All of it. 

A lot of this comes from a desire for control, to which I can definitely relate. One situation that comes to mind is supporting a friend through mental health issues. In times of waiting, when we can’t see what God is doing or understand why it is taking so long, it is easy for us to seize control, thinking it all depends on us.

This can show itself in all kinds of ways. We can become overly-obsessed with our own plans for a situation, we can become too dependent on our own idea of success, we can fill the empty space with something to bring comfort, direction, or distraction, we can turn away from God, feeling that He has forgotten us so we have to sort things out for ourselves.

Jeremiah 2:13 sums it up well: 
“For my people have committed a double evil: 
They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, 
and dug cisterns for themselves—
cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.”

 As I discovered, it’s a stressful, tiring way to live, and, as we can learn from Sarai and the Israelites at Mount Sinai, it doesn’t end well.

So, how might the Israelites have avoided the golden calf debacle, and how might we avoid making similar mistakes in our own lives?

Psalm 106 celebrates God’s faithfulness while reflecting on the Israelites’ repeated unfaithfulness. Israel seems to struggle with a loss of focus, easily setting aside God and His love by failing to see the significance of His works (verse 7), trust His promises (verse 24), grumbling about their present circumstances while ignoring the bigger picture (verse 25), and looking to the example of other nations instead of to God. (verses 35-36)

By contrast, David appears to have remembered God’s power and love and held onto his faith by believing God would indeed fulfil His promises. I’m sure the lengthy wait wasn’t part of David’s plan, still he trusted God.

Maybe most important of all, he held onto faith in God’s character. We can’t always understand God’s ways or His timing, but we can trust in His goodness.

“Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:9-11)

The Gospel reminds us it’s not our own efforts that matter, but God’s grace, and great peace comes when we truly surrender our times of waiting to Him.

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