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How do we wait for the Lord

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How do we wait for the Lord to come? Waiting on the Lord –what does it mean?

Often throughout both the Old and New testament we see the phrase, “wait on the Lord”. This is something that has always been hard for people to do but I think it’s especially hard for us now because now our lives are lived in such a fast pace. We are taught by the world from infancy to expect instant gratification and waiting is generally seen as a “bad” thing and something to be avoided if at all possible today. I even find myself getting annoyed at waiting for a full minute to heat my dinner in the microwave at times, so waiting is not something that comes easily to me either! Let’s look at some of the ways we see this phrase in God’s Word today and see how it applies to us and what if anything we gain by “waiting” on the Lord.

Jude 20-23 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.Be merciful to those who doubt;snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

1 Corinthians 1:7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

The type of waiting for the Lord mentioned in the above verses is something we’re especially familiar with since we all know that the Lord will be coming for us soon. Don’t let that first verse confuse you; even though we are already saved and in effect already have eternal life, that life begins when Christ comes for us at the rapture. That is when He brings us eternal life by instantly changing our bodies into new, immortal, incorruptible bodies.

I know most of us here are eagerly waiting for Jesus to come for us, and be revealed to us as He really is and that’s exactly what will happen at the rapture. The Lord tells us that even creation itself “waits” for this moment:

Romans 8:19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

When Christ returns for us at the rapture, He is revealed to us as He really is and we who are His children, will also be revealed for what we really are then—His children, complete with immortal, incorruptible bodies!

Did you notice in the first verse that it says we’re waiting for the mercy of our Lord to give us these bodies and eternal life? This shows us once again that when we do receive our new bodies at the rapture and begin our new lives, that it is only because of His mercy and not because of anything we have done to “earn” it.

Now each of these verses gives us a little hint of “how” we are to wait. Let me post the first one again so we can look at it once more.

Jude 20-23 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.Be merciful to those who doubt;snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

The first one tells us that we are to build ourselves up in our faith while we wait. Notice here that he doesn’t tell us to go to church or Sunday school so that the pastor or teacher can build us up in our faith. He tells us to do it ourselves for ourselves relying on Him to teach us and guide us. The word “and” is included in that showing us that part of building ourselves up in our faith is done through prayer in the Holy Spirit.

Praying in the Holy Spirit here is not talking about praying in tongues. By this he is telling us to pray in the power of the Spirit as our hearts our indwelt and enlightened by Him. In other words, praying as we are led by God not just about the things we normally would pray for. When we do that it draws us ever closer to the Lord and our relationship with Him deepens.

The third thing he tells us to do is to keep ourselves in God’s love while we wait. Since we’ve just been studying 1 John we already have a good background for understanding what he’s saying here. We know that the way to keep ourselves abiding (living) in the love of God is by keeping ourselves in a close relationship with the Lord Himself. These are all linked together because we build our faith through the study and reflection on God’s Word and through prayer and we also build our relationship with the Lord, making it a closer relationship and deeper one through those very same things.

So in those first two sentences we are given 4 exhortations: to build, to pray, to keep, and to wait. Now what does it really mean to wait? I’d like to share the definition of “wait” with you from a bible dictionary as I think it gives us a much better picture of just how we are to “wait”.

WAIT. (Lam. 3:25) qavah (kah-vah); Strong’s #6960: To wait for, look for, expect, hope. This verb is found some fifty times. Qavah is the root of the noun tiqvah, “hope” or “expectancy.” Qavah expresses the idea of “waiting hopefully” (Gen. 49:18; Job 30:26; Ps. 40:1; Is. 5:4; 25:9). In the present reference, even in the overwhelming tragedies Jeremiah experienced, he had hope in God’s salvation and was willing to wait for it. Also (Mic. 7:7) yachal (yah-chal); Strong’s #3176: To wait, tarry, hope, trust, expect; be patient; remain in anticipation. Yachal appears thirty-eight times in the Old Testament. Its first occurrence is in Genesis 8:10, in the account of Noah’s waiting seven days, from the time he first sent out the dove until he sent her out again. Yachal is often translated “hope” (Pss. 31:24; 33:18; 130:5, 7; 147:11). The correct way to hope and wait for the Lord is to steadfastly expect His mercy, His salvation, and His rescue, and while waiting, not take matters into one’s own hand (compare Gen. 15:1-17:22).
[1] [2]Hayford's Bible handbook.

Did you notice that several other words are always used in conjunction with the word “wait”? We are to wait with hope and with expectation of receiving, and we are to do this “steadfastly”. To wait steadfastly means to wait determinedly, immovable in our hope and in waiting. Immovable meaning not allowing scoffers or doubters to move us or cause us to change our minds or waver in our responsibility to wait and not to allow them to cause us to lose our sense of anticipation.

Finally he tells us to be merciful to those who have doubts, meaning that we should help build them up and encourage them in their faith so that they can grow to maturity in Christ. With those who are wandering off into heresy however we are to snatch them from the fire to save them, meaning again that we are to show them the errors of their ways so they can repent and turn back to the Lord. He continues saying show mercy mixed with fear.. Here he isn’t talking about worldly fear but Godly fear, “the fear of the Lord”. We are to show them mercy by showing them the error of their ways doing so in the fear of the Lord reminding them this way that the Lord is not someone to be trifled with.

The last verse we’re looking at today shows us again that we are to wait eagerly:

1 Corinthians 1:7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

This makes me think of how my children waited eagerly for Christmas morning to come each December. They would get so excited and so eager that they always had trouble sleeping those last couple of nights! This is how we should be feeling as well!
Every day when we see the news, although it’s “bad” news and shows how bad things are getting here, instead of getting us down, we can instead see them for what they really are: signs pointing to the soon return of our Lord. Just like children waiting for Christmas morning, every sign brings us closer to our Lord’s return! How can we not be excited about that!

In conclusion today we can see that as we wait, we are only to be passive in the sense that we are not to try to take matters into our own hands. Other then that though our waiting should be spent in excitement as we work hard to build our faith and strengthen our relationship with the Lord.

Maranatha! Even so come Lord Jesus!


Waiting on the Lord –what does it mean?

Yesterday we looked specifically at what waiting on the Lord means for us today in relation to this being the end times and the command that we are to wait and watch for the Lord’s return. Today we’re going to look at other ways we are to wait on the Lord. And what it means for us today.

Psalm 39:1-13 I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand. You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth— each man is but a breath. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.”

In the first passage we’ll look at, David is the one writing. He starts off by saying that he vows to guard his ways so that he won’t sin by saying things he shouldn’t. Every thing seemed to get worse for him after that. When he says his heart grew hot within him, he’s saying that he is being convicted of his sins. That conviction caused him to meditate or reflect on God and His laws. It was then that he began to recognize that the things that were happening to him were discipline from the Lord,. He asks God to show him and remind him of just how short our lives really are, so that he can get his priorities straight. He doesn’t want to be running around busy doing things that aren’t of value to the Lord. He wants to please God.

Thinking on all he is going through and suffering as discipline, David cries out to the Lord asking Him, “What do I wait for now Lord, my hope is in You!” In other words David is telling God that he is aware that his only hope comes from Him and that He is the only one that can save him and forgive him. He begs God to remove the discipline, to end it as it is just to much for him to bear any longer. When David says that God’s correction makes mans beauty (KJV and “wealth” NIV) melt away like a moth, he is referring to his health and strength being taken away from him by the Lords discipline. So whatever the Lord was permitting, it must have been pretty heavy.

Notice however that David never says or implies that God is wrong or bad or mean for having disciplined him in such a harsh way. Instead David agrees with God that the discipline was necessary because he needed correction. He says that because of God’s correction he now understands that without God, life is vain and not worthwhile at all. Although David was obviously feeling overwhelmed by the discipline of the Lord and feeling that he just couldn’t take it anymore, his reason for asking the Lord to remove the discipline from his wasn’t just because of that. He asks to have it removed so that he won’t be a reproach to the Lord any longer. He wanted to be a good witness for the Lord instead.

How was David “waiting on the Lord” here? He was waiting for the Lord to hear his cry of repentance, forgive him and remove the discipline from him. David was undergoing what we might also refer to at times as “a time in the desert” when no matter how much you cry out, the Lord doesn’t seem to hear you. We can see from this psalm though that although it might seem that way, the Lord really does hear our cries.

How very differently David handled “waiting on the Lord” then we usually do. Perhaps I should say then “I usually do”. I know for myself that when the Lord’s hand is heavy on me in discipline, that my reaction is usually to whine, cry, make excuses for my past behavior, say it’s not my fault, say how unfair it is, etc. That most certainly is not the godly way to deal with it. When we do that, making excuses and saying it’s not fair etc, that just causes our time of waiting to last longer. Like any good father, the Lord is not going to stop the discipline until we have recognized the fact that we are being disciplined and why and have repented from our sins.

This is especially difficult for us today because we simply aren’t taught much about the Lord’s discipline, if we’re taught about it at all. It’s as though most would simply like to pretend that it doesn’t happen any more, which is just plain silly. God doesn’t change and He doesn’t lie. He tells us right out that He disciplines those He loves and He tells us why:

Hebrews 12:5-10 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

How are we to respond when the Lord disciplines us? That’s what the psalm we’re looking at today teaches us. We should turn to God’s Word just as David reflected on God’s ways and the scripture he knew. We need to turn to God in prayer, not admitting to Him that we have sinned and that His discipline is deserved. We need to show Him, just as we would our earthly father if he was the one disciplining us, that we have learned our lesson, and we need to ask His forgiveness. When we’ve done that, we need to then “wait on the Lord” patiently, knowing that everything that is happening is happening for our good (even though we don’t like it). Like David, we need to humble ourselves before the Lord, asking Him to show us His ways and teach us to walk on His paths, to show us what He would have us do. Then we continue to wait patiently and humbly for the Lord to answer our prayer.

If you recall from yesterdays study, when the phrase “wait on the Lord” is used, it is talking about a “hopeful waiting”, not a discouraged one. So when we are waiting on the Lord in a situation like this, our wait should still be hopeful and expectant because we know that the Lord is good, all the time!

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