Wait on God.
This is an awesome sermon that I read this past weekend as I have been here in TX resting and waiting…In my reading and praying the one word that seems to keep coming up, is the word Wait.
So waiting is what I’m doing.
I read this sermon by PASTOR STEPHEN MUNCHERIAN. From: May 9, 1998
I pray it blesses you as it has me today.
This morning we want to talk about what it means to wait on God. There are many times in our lives when we wait – and we wait – and we wonder what God is doing – or if He’s doing anything at all.
We have questions like – When will my children return to the Lord? Or, Doesn’t God have someone out there for me to marry and why is He taking so long to bring us together? Or, How can God allow this situation to go on? Why does God continue to allow me to suffer? Overwhelmed by the demands and pace of life – we ask questions and wonder when God will give the answer.
This morning we want to focus on what to do while were waiting on God. With God – waiting is always an adventure – never passive – always productive.
In a minute – we are going to come together to Psalm 27:14 – and talk about “waiting” – Before we come to Psalm 27:14 – I’d like to set this verse in to the context of David’s life. David was someone who understood – by experience – what it meant to wait on God.
In first Samuel 16:1 we read that the Lord said to the Priest Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? – Saul was still alive and king of Israel – but his sins were so bad that God had rejected him as king – and Samuel was really upset – God says – Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” So the Priest Samuel goes to the home of Jesse – a man of no great rank – living in the little town of Bethlehem. And there Samuel asks to see Jesse’s sons. Its hard to imagine what this must have been like – like Ed McMahon and Dick Clark showing up at your door and handing you a check for $10 million. Only this is better – God has chosen one of your sons to be the next king of Israel.
And so, I imagine with a certain amount of excitement and nervousness, Jesse begins introducing each of his sons to Samuel. Its like a beauty pageant – or a king pageant – each son is a contestant – one of them will be chosen to be the king. There’s a procession in which each son is made to pass before Samuel. Each son comes – beginning with the oldest, Eliab – then Abinadab – then Shammah – and so forth until 7 of Jesse’s sons have been introduced to Samuel. And each time a son is introduced God says to Samuel, “This is not the one I’ve chosen.”
So Samuel says to Jesse, “This is it? Isn’t there another one?”
“Well,” Jesse says, “There is one more – he’s out watching the sheep. But, he’s just a boy.”
So David was brought in before Samuel – and Samuel, the High Priest, took his horn of oil and anointed David as king – right there in the presence of his father and older brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. Dramatically, we see the promise of God: “David – I have chosen you to be the king of Israel.”
For about 20 years that promise hung over David’s life – and the relationship of David and King Saul. Because Saul was still king.
For about 20 years there was this strange love/hate relationship going on between David and king Saul. And, its not hard to imagine David wondering what God was doing.
On one hand David was Saul’s trusted servant – his musician, whose music would soothe the spirit of the king. David was Saul’s armor bearer. David married Saul’s daughter Michal. He became the best friend of Saul’s son Johnathan. David was a mighty warrior – the commander of thousands – who risked his life many times to defend Saul and the people of Israel.
And yet – whenever God blessed David – Saul became more jealous – more fearful. Saul placed a death sentence on David. And David fled for his life – living in villages – fields – mountains – the cave of Adullam – and even the countryside of his enemies, the Philistines. A fugitive on the run.
For 20 years there is the promise – “David, I have chosen you to be king over Israel.” And there must have been times when David wondered if he had misunderstood the promise.
Even after Saul dies – there’s civil war between the House of Saul and the House of David. Until finally – after all this hardship – and all these years – the promise is fulfilled and David becomes king of Israel.
What does it mean to wait on God? David writes in Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord!”
Waiting on God means that we:
1. WAIT WITH EXPECTATION
David says, “Wait for the Lord.” The Hebrew word for “wait” is “qäwâ” – which means to wait in eager expectation with our whole being.
What do we expect from God?
I recently read a story about a salesman who had a flat tire. It was a dark rainy night – and the salesman had a flat tire on a a very lonely road. To his dismay he didn’t have a lug wrench – he couldn’t get the tire off to change it. Seeing a nearby farmhouse, he set out on foot with the expectation that the farmer would have a lug wrench.
As he was walking the salesman began to think to himself – Will the farmer even come to the door? And if he did, he’d probably be furious at being bothered. He’ll say, “What’s the big idea of getting me out of bed in the middle of the night?” This made the salesman angry. Why, that farmer is a selfish old clod to refuse to help me.
Finally, the salesman reached the farmhouse. Frustrated and drenched, he banged on the door. “Who’s there?” a voice called out from a window overhead.
“You know good and well who it is,” yelled the salesman, his face red with anger. “It’s me! And you can keep your old lug wrench! I wouldn’t borrow it if it was the last one in the county.”
What do we expect from God? Should He operate in our time frame – in the ways we understand – to bring the fulfillment we think is best?
Lately, I have become one of those people who waits to the last minute to board and airplane. I wait because I don’t like getting trampled.
Have you noticed this? In the waiting room? The boarding call goes something like this: “Ladies and gentlemen we are ready to begin boarding flight 3002 for Outer Mongolia.” And at that point almost everyone grabs their bags – checks their tickets for the 15th time – and starts eyeing the competition – all these other people they have to beat to the gate.
“Ladies and gentlemen – we’d like to begin boarding our first class passengers – those traveling with small children – and anyone needing special assistance” At this point I figure pretty much everyone needs assistance. No matter what seat they have – there’s this crushing movement to the gate.
Unless you’re flying baggage-class on Southwest – everyone has their seat assignment – their seat will be waiting for them no matter when they board the plane. And there are people who really do need help getting on board. But it doesn’t matter. We’ve been waiting – we want to go now – we’re moving to the gate.
Biblical waiting involves eager expectation. But expectation that is tempered with the understanding that God – in His time – in His way – will move – but only when its best to do so.
God has our seat assigned – He’s assigned the gate number – the flight number – the type of aircraft – He knows the route and the destination. There is a certainty – we will go. He will take us forward. He will fulfill His promises to us.
While waiting – Are we expecting His answer – and are we willing to wait for Him?
Secondly – waiting on God means that we:
2. WAIT WITH COMMITMENT
David says, “Be strong” – the Hebrew is “häzaq” and has the idea of a conscious – dogged decision to stand firm – to dig our heals in: No circumstances – no interval of time is going to move us from what we believe.
In Ancient Greece, to prevent idiotic statesmen from passing idiotic laws, lawmakers were asked to introduce all new laws while standing on a platform with a rope around their neck. If the law passed, the rope was removed. If it failed, the platform was removed.
How firmly are we convinced that God will fulfill His promises? How strong is our faith in God?
The apostles – James and Paul – were beheaded by the sword. Simon, Philip, and Andrew – were all crucified. Peter was crucified upside down. Mark had his feet tied together – was dragged through the streets – and was thrown in a dungeon to die. And then – they burned his body. James was stoned. Matthias was stoned and beheaded. Thomas was run through with a spear.
In the last hours of His life, Jesus was alone in the Garden of Gethsemane – sweat pouring like blood from His brow – agonizing with the spiritual war He was fighting. He called out to God to free Him, but He was willing to face what He was called on to do.
A few short hours earlier, in the Upper Room – Jesus had spoken of His confidence that God would win the victory. That confidence never changed because of the circumstances. He never found His own solution to the cross. And, God did bring the victory.
This is the type of commitment we’re called to. Maybe not martyrdom – but obedience – trust – regardless of circumstances or intervals of time.
Some people ridicule this type of faith. They would rather follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “God helps those who help themselves.” We are very clever people. And in these pauses between promise and the movement of God – we’re tempted to find our own solutions – to become involved with things God never intended us to be involved with.
Those who are mature in their faith know this – God does bring the victory. And, they are willing to wait for Him.
Waiting on God means expectation – God will move. It means commitment – to hang in there and trust God for His coming promise.
Thirdly, waiting on God means:
3. WAITING WITH COURAGE
David writes, “Let your heart take courage” – The Hebrew is “amets” – literally, “strengthen yourself.”
Imagine soldiers on the battlefield, during a cease-fire – scattered – wounded – ammunition spent. There is no idleness. There is an urgency to regroup. To take stock of what remains. To distribute supplies. To bandage wounds. To use the time wisely to prepare. To gather strength for what comes next. The cease-fire will end. The enemy will come.
God gives us times of waiting, to prepare – to take stock of the resources He has given us. To equip ourselves – to regain our focus.
Sometimes we’re rushing all over the place – working 25 hours a day – running after kids – ministries and programs – all the things that life is full of – and we have needs – and we pray with expectation. And we wonder, where is God?
David tells us to look around and see what God is already doing. Strengthen what we have. He gives us abilities and talents. Are we developing them? Are we using them in service for Him? Are we developing spiritually? How is our prayer life? Do we have quality time in Bible study? Today, are we living in obedience to God?
One example: For years we prayed for a spiritual awakening in Armenia and the Soviet Union. For the spread of the Gospel. But, in the period of waiting for God to answer our prayers – what were we doing to prepare for when He did answer our prayers?
When communism fell and the doors to Armenia were wide open there was a cry for Bibles and Christian literature. And we didn’t have any. Its taken us almost 10 years to catch up. But while we were praying we could have been preparing.
If God brings an awakening here – in San Francisco – will we be ready? We pray for revival – are we preparing for God to answer our prayers?
With God – waiting is always an adventure – never passive – always productive. Waiting on God means expectation – God will move. It means commitment – to hang in there and trust God for His coming promise. Waiting on God means that we are preparing – to be ready with what He has given us. Because He will fulfill His promises. He will answer our prayers.
David writes, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord!”