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Delay, human

Jonah 1:1-16  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Human delay is often the result of fear, indecision or disobedience to God. Scripture indicates that delay is to be avoided.

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Examples of delay as a result of fear

Israel entering the promised land

Numbers 13:31–32 LEB
And the men who went up with him said, “We are not able to go up to the people because they are stronger than us.” And they presented the report of the land that they explored to the Israelites, saying, “The land that we went through to explore is a land that eats its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in its midst are men of great size.
See also ; ; ;

Gideon responding to God’s call

Judges 6:36–40 LEB
Then Gideon said to God, “In order to see that you will deliver Israel by my hand, just as you have said, I will place a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and all of the ground is dry, I will know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, just as you have said.” And it was so. He arose early the next day and squeezed the fleece, and he wrung out dew from the fleece, a full drinking bowl of water. And Gideon said to God, “Do not let your anger burn against me; let me speak once more. Please let me test once more with the fleece; let the fleece be dry, and let there be dew on the ground.” And God did so that night; only the fleece was dry, and dew was on all the ground.

Examples of delay as a result of disobedience

Lot escaping from Sodom

Genesis 19:16 LEB
But when he lingered, the men seized him by his hand and his wife’s hand, and his two daughters by hand, on account of the mercy of Yahweh upon him. And they brought him out and set him outside of the city.
See also

Jonah going to Nineveh

Jonah 1:3 LEB
But Jonah set out to flee toward Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh. And he went down to Joppa and found a merchant ship going to Tarshish, and paid her fare, and went on board her to go with them toward Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.
See also ; ; Jonah obeyed the second time.

Nothing should delay believers from following Jesus Christ

Matthew 8:21–22 LEB
And another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead!”
See also ; ; ;

People should not delay in the matter of salvation

Isaiah 55:6 LEB
Seek Yahweh while he lets himself be found; call him while he is near.
See also ; ; ;

Believers are not to delay in fulfilling their vows to God and obligations to others

Ecclesiastes 5:4 LEB
When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, for he takes no pleasure in fools. Fulfill what you vow!
See also ; ;

Examples of human responses to delay

Sarah’s wrong response brought trouble

Genesis 16:1–6 LEB
Now Sarai, the wife of Abram, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian female slave, and her name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Look, please, Yahweh has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my servant; perhaps I will have children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. Then Sarai, the wife of Abram, took Hagar, her Egyptian female slave, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her husband as his wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, then her mistress grew small in her eyes. And Sarai said to Abram, “may my harm be upon you. I had my slave sleep with you, and when she saw that she had conceived, she no longer respected me. May Yahweh judge between me and you!” And Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your slave is under your authority. Do to her that which is good in your eyes.” And Sarai mistreated her, and she fled from her presence.

Saul’s wrong response cost him the kingship

1 Samuel 13:11–12 LEB
But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “Because I saw that the army was scattering from me and you did not come at the appointed time and that the Philistines had gathered at Micmash, therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not yet implored the face of Yahweh.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.”
See also ;

Jacob responded with patience

Genesis 29:20–30 LEB
And Jacob worked for Rachel seven years, but they were as a few days in his eyes because he loved her. And Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered all the men of the place and prepared a feast. And it happened that in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him, and he went in to her. And Laban gave Zilpah his female slave to her, to Leah his daughter as a female servant. And it happened that in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Now why did you deceive me?” Then Laban said, “It is not the custom in our country to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, then I will also give you the other, on the condition that you will work for me another seven years.” And Jacob did so. So he completed the week of this one, then he gave Rachel his daughter to him as a wife. And Laban gave Bilhah his female slave to Rachel his daughter as a female servant. Then he also went in to Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with him yet another seven years.

Paul responded by giving instructions to Timothy

1 Timothy 3:14–15 LEB
I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you in a short time. But if I am delayed, I am writing in order that you may know how one must conduct oneself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of the truth.

Daniel responded by praying

Daniel 9:19 LEB
Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, pay heed and act! You must not delay for your sake, my God; because your city and your people are called by your name.”
See also ; Gabriel explains the reason for the delay.

David reponded by calling on the Lord

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