But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31Even Prayers are not always answered immediately. This may be a bit uncomfortable statement in age that is after "fast food" and everything "instant". Someone said that God responds to prayer in three ways: the first is an immediate answer "yes"; the second is a definite "no"; and third often is "wait." Wait upon God some more too.
(Psa 127:1 KJV) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Psa 94:17 KJV) Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.(Psa 94:19 KJV) In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
"'Come to Bethel, and transgress; to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!' says the Lord God. 'I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,' says the Lord. 'And I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send no rain upon another city; one field on which it did not rain withered; so two or three cities wandered to one city to drink water, and were not satisfied; yet you did not return to me,' says the Lord. 'I smote you with blight and mildew; I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards; your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,' says the Lord. I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men with the sword; I carried away your horses; and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,' says the Lord. 'I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me,' says the Lord. 'Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!' For lo, he who forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought; who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth - the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! " Amos
"I will hedge up her way with thorns; and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers, but not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them. Then she shall say, "I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better with me then than now." (Hosea 2:6-7)
One of the hardest things for many persons to do is to WAIT on God. To Worship before Him. Nobody wants to wait. It would be easier to quit on a need than wait. They almost seem obsessed with not waiting, of being in a hurry to accomplish, to do something, to be on go, for people to see, and places to be at! And our society is filled with people that are in a hurry to get some place, like they are on some kind of mission. And who is driving them.. Satan is and why he is in a hurry to make them do something so that they can sin and reap negative consequences. god forbid that hey stop and think about what and why they are doing what they are doing... they may change their minds and do the right thing with God.They that wait upon the lord shall renew their strength.... (Psa 11:1 KJV) . In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"When your driving in your car, someone may cut in front of you just to arrive at their destination a couple of seconds earlier than if they would have remained behind you. In the grocery store, people are jockeying for position with their carts filled with food, looking for the shortest line. Now in their desire to not waste time, not to wait, to hurry up and get things done, most people still fail, they end up tired, frustrated and many times it takes them just as long. "
And God will not be coerced into our way of doing things.
(Isa 55:8 KJV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
But the Lord is saying to us that if we wait upon Him, we will not be tired, we will not be frustrated, and all of His tasks will be accomplished in the perfect amount of time
Isaiah 40:31, "But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint."
Lets see what God wants us to do as we go through difficult times.
The word translated "waiting for" is a very common Hebrew word and there is no special meaning to it. However, the historical context of this prophetic oracle gives it a very special significance. This is addressed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. A group of people who had lost their homes, their land and their temple. They were a group of people who were going through a time of testing, which was very heavy on their faith. They needed proof that their God is still living and is able to save as he did in the times past. The military defeat, and the losses of all sort has raised a few serious questions. These questions have divided their community as well. There were some exiles led by their prophets who believed that their God is still able to redeem them. They wanted an immediate end to the exile and wanted to go home, because they believed that their God is able to save. He is still powerful. Their mistake was that they thought a God who is mighty will not demand patience. Prophet Jeremiah had to struggle with this problem. He wrote a letter to the exiles and asked them not to think that they will return immediately. In his letter found in Jer. 29 he advises them to settle down in Babylon, to plant vineyards, to build houses, to give their daughters in marriage and to take wives for their sons. In other words, to have long term plans for their life in exile! He advised them so not because Yahweh has given them up, but he knew that it will take another seventy years for Yahweh to bring them back to their land. So he advised them to take it as it is. However people were not willing to wait. They went after prophets who prophesied an immediate return. This unrest lead to rebellion which was duly suppressed by the Babylonians. According to Babylonian sources, thousands of people were killed as the Babylonian suppressed the rebellions led by these prophets of impatience. It was their faith that God is going to act soon that led them to this misery. God is able to deliver us; but he has his own time.
On the other extreme is the group of exiles we find in the book of Ezekiel. Especially chapter 14. These exiles are well settled. They have come to terms with the reality. They had come to terms with their thinking that Yahweh is defeated, his temple is destroyed, Bel and Nebo the gods of the Babylonians have won the victory. There is no point in following a God who is defeated. So there is no point in hoping for a return. So they decided to follow gods that were available. They gave up Yahweh who as far as they are concerned has turned his face against them.
This passage in Isaiah gives here another alternativeŃ wait for the LORD. In this waiting there is faith, but it also implies patience. This is a life style that is marked with confidence and patience. Living with a heavy baggage of apparently unanswered prayers must be time of 'waiting for the Lord", a patient anticipation for the mighty arm of the Lord to be revealed.
The message of the Bible is clear. God is always powerful and there is no limit to his knowledge and power. However, he has his time and his ways as well. God knows better than anyone. The patient waiting for God to answer our prayers is founded on this basis.
The heroes of faith in the Bible are people who exhibited tremendous sense of patience. The book of James (5:11) mentions Job who though in time of pain and abuse did not give up his hope. He was not willing to give up at the advice of his wife nor when his friends condemned him. He was willing to wait and his patience was rewarded. The one who composed the beautiful Psalm 123 is another example of this patient waiting.
To thee I lift up my eyes, O thou who art enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he have mercy upon us. (Psalm 123:1-2)
The Psalmist is willing to wait on till God shows mercy upon him.
The passage from Isaiah not only demands a patient expectation but also promises that this waiting is a useful spiritual exercise. They who wait upon the Lord with hope and confidence in his mercy is surely going to be strengthened. The period of waiting and the increased confidence that the answered prayer would bring is certainly a boost to faith.
The Bible talks about how the suffering and pain that would accompany while answer to prayer is delayed can turn out to be a blessing. In the book of Romans it is an elevator to a higher degree of spirituality.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
During this waiting the Christian grows from one degree of godliness to another till he reaches the perfection in Christ. This is what makes the psalmist say, "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes." that it was good for him to be in trouble"Ń Psalm 119:71. This waiting is a time of learning.
Those who heeded the message of Isaiah and Jeremiah waited for the Lord; those who heeded the words of the prophets of impatience ended up in the gallows and those who worked out their ways never returned to their land of promise. Those who waited for the Lord had to wait seventy long years but some of them and their descendents returned to the land of promise to build their city and temple and reinstate the worship of God. While they waited there they were purified in their thoughts and perceived their God in a fresh way. They studied the Law of God and were renewed individually and as a people. They turned out to be the fresh shoots of the people of God. Ezra and Nehemiah were among them.
It is even more difficult to wait upon the Lord now in this fast moving world. The demands of modern life needs quick fix solutions. Quick fix solutions may stay in place for a while or may last long. One thing is certain those who go for these are certainly to miss the power of God. They may a get a double promotion from a human point of view but miss important spiritual lessons that determine the quality of their walk with God.
David is writing Psalm 69 out of the events that transpired between him and his son Absalom. David's own flesh and blood, his own son was out to kill him and take over the kingdom. And David's heart was overwhelmed, it was broken, he feels hopeless over what has taken place. And he cried out in Psalm 61:1-2 "HEAR my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed..."
David feels he is drowning in a sea of despair. The waters of rebellion are suffocating him. It feels like he is going under and is crying out to God to rescue him, to pull him out of the water before he drowns in despair. And it is not only the rising water that troubles David, but his feet seem to be stuck in the mud. Thus, David is unable to move, to free himself, he is not able to escape from Absalom, who will be coming after him. And the situation looks hopeless for David, he is no match for Absalom's forces, and he was overwhelmed! And for David, this was not just a "Save me, O God!" and then he went on his way. He didn't E-mail God with his request and then get back to life. David's eyes were red, they were swollen from all the crying he did. Living now in the desert, the wilderness of Judah, as he cried out to God his throat became dry and parched. With all the tears he cried, his vision became blurred. That is what David was going through, physically speaking, as he waited upon God.
Psalms 69 :13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the water flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. 16 Hear me, O LORD; for thy loving kindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. 17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. 18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. 19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. 20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
In verses 19-20 of Psalm 69 "You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; My adversaries are all before You. Reproach has broken my heart, And I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none." And all David could do is wait upon God to deliver him, for he could no longer run or escape, only wait to see what God was going to do.
In Psalm 70:1, 5 David he said "Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O LORD!...But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay." In other words, "Hurry up Lord, I can't wait any longer!"
But why is it so hard for us to wait upon God? Lets look at a couple of reasons why we have such a hard time and see if we can resolve that problem.
One of the reasons we have a hard time waiting upon God is because we from our human perspective see the situation that we are in as hopeless. And because of that we feel if we don't do something now, since God isn't doing anything, we are just going to be in more trouble.
David, in Psalm 37:7 had the right perspective. He said "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass."
You see, it doesn't matter how big the enemy is or how strong the enemy may be. We are to wait upon God and see the salvation that He will bring in a given situation.
The second reason it is hard for us to wait upon God is because we become inpatient. We see an opportunity and if God is not going to act we better before the door closes. And it is hard to wait when God has placed a burden upon our hearts, but if He has not opened the door of opportunity, you will be foolish to try to kick it down yourself. You will only find frustration and failure.
A good example of this is seen in the life of Moses. At the age of 40, as this burden of bondage in Egypt weighed heavy upon his heart, he took matters into his own hands and tried to defeat the Egyptians one man at a time. You see, one of his brethren was being beaten by an Egyptian, and Moses steps in and kills the Egyptian, and then buries the body so no one will know. The next day he sees two of his own people fighting and tries to break it up, exhorting them not to fight amongst themselves. And we read in Exodus 2:14-15 "Then he said, 'Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' So Moses feared and said, 'Surely this thing is known!' When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well." Moses had it all planed out and yet his plan failed and he had to flee for his life, and ends up in Midian, as a shepherd. What happened? It was not God's time. Moses tried to rush ahead of God's schedule and you can't rush ahead and accomplish God's plan. You must wait upon God to act.
The third reason why it is hard for us to wait upon God is because we see time ticking by and begin to think it is now too late for God to do anything. The feeling may be "God, you had your chance to do something, but now it is way to late!"
I like the way Andrew Murray puts it, he says "Be assured that if God waits longer than you could wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. God waited four thousand years, till the fullness of time, ere He sent His Son. Our times are in His hands; He will avenge His elect speedily; He will make haste for our help, and not delay one hour too long."
On Thursday we used the example of Lazarus, dead 4 days before Jesus responds to the cry of Lazarus' sisters to come and help their sick brother. But now it is too late and as Jesus comes by, Martha rebukes Him for not coming sooner. She said "...'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.'" John 11:21. In other words, because Jesus took so long, and now Lazarus is dead, nothing can be done for him. The decay process had already begun.
But Jesus, in no real hurry, tells them to remove the stone from the tomb and Martha responds by saying "...Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, 'Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.'" John 11:39. And Jesus just thanks the Father and says "Lazarus, come forth!" and he does. You see, it is never too late for God. He is not in a hurry. It is according to His timetable and plan. Thus, all we can do is wait upon God.
And for Moses, he must of felt that is was too late for God to use him. The golden opportunity had passed by and now he is 40 years older, far too old to do anything at the age of 80, especially the horrendous task of leading a few million people from bondage to the promise land. And that is exactly where God wanted Moses to be. It was not going to be done in the power of Moses, but in the power of God. Moses had been brought to the place of brokenness and all he could do is wait upon God to work for he surly could not do it on his own. And as the Lord tells Moses what he is going to do, Moses responds by saying "...'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?'" Exodus 3:11. And God tells Moses "...'I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.'" Exodus 3:12. And Moses is like you and me, for he says to the Lord in Exodus 4:10 "...'O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'" Now when God calls you to do something, understand that He will equip you also. The Lord goes on to say to Moses "...'Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.'" Exodus 4:11-12.
The point here being is that it is never too late for God to respond. He has a plan and we must not rush ahead of that plan or we will only become frustrated and unfruitful in our endeavor. It is as Micah 7:7 says, "Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me."
Now we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed as we go through these difficult times. David, in Psalm 6 felt this way. In this Psalm , starting in verse 6 of Psalm 6 we read "I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; It grows old because of all my enemies."
Inwardly David was devastated. His life was in turmoil. And now, what was taking place inwardly was manifesting itself outwardly with groaning and weeping, with many tears. He is completely broken at this point. He is completely overwhelmed at this point. And yes, even men like David went through times like this. God knows our frame, that we are but dust. He doesn't want us to be something we are not. David was honest, he just cried out to God in this time that seemed so hopeless. Too often we try to portray ourselves in a way that is not real or claim to be what we are not, after all we are all still sinners depended on God for our help, preservation. So what do we do when we find ourselves in situations like David's? How do we get the proper perspective. Listen to what the Psalmist said in Psalm 119:89-104.
Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants. Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life. I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts. The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies. I have seen the consummation of all perfection, But Your commandment is exceedingly broad. Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way."
(James 4:8 KJV) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Here is the most important truth. The Psalmist is saying that no matter what situation we may find ourselves in, we must not become overwhelmed, but first get back to the Word of God which will re-focus our thoughts and emotions back onto the only one that can help.
Jesus said that as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, neither can we. If we do not receive a full supply of nourishment from Jesus, our life will not show the Christian fruits of "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal 5:22-23).
As tough as things may get, we can stand on the promises of God for they are enduring, they are everlasting. Thus, as we see these difficult times come upon us, and we cry out to God, and we wait for Him to answer, to intervene, we must rest in the truth of His Word, the promises He has made to us. Jesus said, "Abide in me and I in you...I am the vine, ye are the branches...for without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:4-5). If a branch is cut from a vine, it withers and dies. If you and I are cut off from our daily source of nourishment - prayer and study of God's Word - we die spiritually.(Mat 4:4 KJV) It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The other way we can approach things as we wait upon God is in our Praise, also to be overjoyed, knowing that what God has promised, He is able to do. Back in Psalm 69, David says starting in verse 29; "But I am poor and sorrowful; Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, Which has horns and hooves. The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live." Psalm 69:29-32.
Waiting upon the Lord is characterized by several things. Humbling yourself before God, entering into His words, prayer meditation, putting your own personal trust in God's promises and not in ourselves, praising him, thanking him. To wait means to dully expect God's help. Instead as the prophet Jeremiah also said, "My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jer 2:13).
Waiting also never implies personal inactivity. Suppose a farmer said, "I'm not going to farm this spring. I'll just wait upon the Lord and see what happens." He did nothing, he not plant. He said, "I'm just going to trust God for the crops to come up." When harvest time comes, he goes out to the field and there is nothing there. Why? He did not sow anything by faith in God's sole instructions, therefore he did not reap. Many people have wrongfully done the same thing now too.
(Heb 10:38 KJV) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Rom 10:17 KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
You see, David recognized his condition, "poor and sorrowful" and he also recognized the power of God working through his frail frame. It is out of all of that we see David praise God as he waits upon God to intervene in this situation. Knowing that God will not forsake us should cause humbly our hearts to rejoice in God again.
But we understand that it is not by our power or strength that we will see the victory, but by His Spirit. Remember the story of Jehoshaphat, he was the king of Jerusalem and the people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir were mounting an attack against him and his people. And the king fasted and prayed and called for all Judah to do the same. And as they waited upon God to answer, the Lord spoke through Jahaziel and said "...'Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.'" II Chronicles 20:15. And instead of Going to war with swords and spears leading the way, they had the worship team up front, leading them into battle. And they sung out "...'Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.'" II Chronicles 20:21.
And as they began to praise the Lord, singing of the beauty of His holiness, the enemy began fighting each other till they all laid dead on the ground. And when Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah came to pick up the spoils of victory, there was so much it took them 3 days to haul it all home! Jehoshaphat could have ran out into battle and not waited upon God, but they would have been defeated. And as they waited upon God, He gave them a plan they would have never come up with on their own, to go into battle with praise. And they did receive the victory! And God received the praise!
It is hard to wait upon God, but as we do we learn patience.
We allow the word of God to become a living, experienced part of us too.
We learn how to be still and see the salvation that the Lord will bring.
- We also learn rightfully not to trust in our strength in our own abilities but only in the living God who makes for us, gives us all good things(2 Cor 4:7 KJV) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.As Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up as wings of an eagle, they shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
As you wait upon the Lord you will find that your Joy, your life with God is renewed and that you would be able to praise Him in a greater manner too.
Humbly Waiting on the Lord is having hope and an expectation of what he is going to next do in your life.
The Lord is always waiting for you to turn to him so that he can show himself mighty in your behalf. God he is always holding your hand even in the times you cannot seem feel, sense him as well and he will not let it God but will you let go of Him?
No one really taught me how to wait before God by quietly reading his word, praising God, quietly listening for his words, his spirit, for I had learned this with Jesus alone. It always brought me peace, faith, tranquility as well when I did it. It is always a good thing to do as well daily. Sadly it has been my own past personal experiences dealing with many persons that they do not know how and that they do not wait daily, hourly upon God even for their instructions, guidance, for they rather do that which appears right in their own eyes, or even worse, they do what they want to do, even though Jesus clearly said that without me you can do nothing. These people falsely actually next tend to even think still God will bless what they do too.
Let us always be the people who will purpose in our hearts that we will wait upon him in the early mornings, through the day and night too, and be filled with expectations that he will work miraculously on our behalf.
Oh, Lord I again do give myself to you and I relinquish all my plans and I accept your plan for me today. Come and be glorified in my life today, so that others may see Jesus Christ and they too as a result will want also Him to be their Lord too
(Isa 55:8 KJV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. 56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
(Mat 6:33 KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Wait upon the lord, let his Holy Spirit move, learn to listen to his voice, for where the Holy Spirit of the Lord is there is peace, sweet peace.. in his timing he will tell you where to go, what to do.. " I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will counsel you with my eyes." Psalms 32:8
"Waiting upon God implies confidence and faith in His Word in spite of consequences. A Christian who patiently waits with expectancy manifests his faith in God's character. By waiting, we exchange our mind for His thoughts. We are renewed and strengthened. As we are filled with His Word, we become more confident in our faith despite our human weaknesses. The Word promises us rewards for waiting. :
(Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Psalm 91:1 says, "He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Abiding means waiting, resting with expectancy. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7)(James 4:10 KJV) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
(Gal 6:7 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
(2 Chr 34:27 KJV) Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
Psalm 34:8 – “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”
Or do we still trust falsely in ourselves, and want to follow the lusts of our flesh?
"King David was a man who enjoyed the presence of God. As a psalmist, I believe he went past the outer court of praise and entered into the holy place of God’s manifest presence. It was in God’s manifest presence that David received the psalms that have brought much deliverance, direction, encouragement, joy, restoration, and salvation to saints and sinners alike. He was a man who was not willing to settle for less than what the Lord had ordained for his life. He was determined in his heart to press through the veil and enter into the glorious reality of having a true intimate relationship with the King of Glory. Psalm 24:8 – “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.”
In Psalm 24:8, David answers his own question. He was well acquainted with the “King of Glory”. When he went into battle, the King of Glory was present with Him. When he went through fiery trials, tests, and tribulation, the King of Glory was present with Him. When he stood before Goliath, the Philistine giant, the King of Glory filled David with holy boldness and might which brought forth an awesome victory.
I've learned through experience that I cannot face the battles, trials, and tests of this life with my own ability and strength. I have been brought to a place of total dependency upon the grace, mercy, and strength of the Most High God. I can’t do anything apart from Him. I am totally dependent upon Him. He provides absolutely everything that I need. He lifts me up when I am down. He comforts me when I am in need of comfort and encouragement. He protects me from the wiles of the enemy, and sets my feet upon a rock of safety and security in Him.
We must learn how to press through the veil and enter into the Most Holy Place. God’s manifest presence lies just beyond the veil. Many of us have fallen short of experiencing His manifest presence because we have not pressed into it. We have had a “give up” mentality and have been guilty of settling for less than God’s best. I believe many of us have come so close to pressing through, but because of lack of determination, we have found ourselves over and over again consistently abiding in the outer court. The outer court experience is exciting and provides a certain amount of fulfillment and joy to our spiritual man. But there is nothing that compares with the manifest presence of God that is found in the Most Holy Place. There are no distractions in the Most Holy Place. There are no telephones or pagers in the Most Holy Place. His presence fills every part of this secret place of intimacy and worship. The only sight available to see within the Most Holy Place is Jesus – the King of Glory. The light of His omnipotent presence and glory makes this place a place of safety. His glory makes this place a place of purity and power.
Many have longed for the power of God to be manifested in their lives, but from what I have seen in the body of Christ today, many of these same people are not willing to press through the veil and receive this power from the Lord.
Phil. 3:10 – Paul says, “…. that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death….”
The Apostle Paul was a man who had experienced the miracle working power of God in his life. He operated in it. He blessed others with it. The power was there because he walked in obedience. The power was there because Paul was a man who pressed through the veil. He was hungry for the presence of God. The power was there because he never gave up when he found himself in impossible situations. He pressed through the veil when he was beaten with rods and whips. He pressed through the veil when he was imprisoned. He pressed through the veil when he was shipwrecked. He never lost the faith. He pressed through the veil and allowed the King of Glory to come in. He pressed through the faithlessness of his own mind and believed God to move in his life.
Acts 4:13 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
It’s time for the world to marvel at the boldness and miracle working power of God in the lives of the people of God. It’s time for God’s people to spend time with Jesus! There’s so much that the Lord has in store for us. He is more than ready and willing to pour out His presence upon us. We can’t afford to give up now! We must press through the veil and enter into His manifest presence so that we can receive all that is needed for the months and years that lie ahead. The word can’t should not even be in our vocabulary. We must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. We must fix our eyes upon Jesus and learn how to abide in His manifest presence."
"Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait".
"Wait? You say, wait! " my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting.... for what?"
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And he tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want~~But, you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save.... (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that "My grace is sufficient for Thee."
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, Oh, the Loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, My Child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT.""
God is calling us to come to him1. First, you should prepare to meet God in worship we prepare for worship by drawing near to God in our hearts even at home, at work, in our surroundings, hourly, daily and not just a few hours on Sunday!
When God said five times, "You did not return to me," he did not mean that they should have come more often to a physical place of worship. The returning was not a physical movement. Returning to God was a movement of the heart, not just a movement of the body. There is a heart preparation to be done in order to meet God.
Jesus said, "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me" (Matt. 15:8). When this is the case the preparation needed is a movement of the heart from far to near, and yet it is a movement that is not measured in inches or miles.
-- It is measured with the tape of attention -- you may not even be thinking of God Saturday night or Sunday morning. So your heart is far from him measured by attention.
-- Or it may be measured by the tape of focus -- you may have some attention on God but it is broken up by other things and there is no focused attention that gets God clearly in view and makes him the primary object of attention.
-- It is measured by the tape of desire -- you may feel little desire for God but be very much caught up in a greater desire for sports or finances or a trip to the lake, while the desire and the longing for God is weak by comparison.
-- Or it can be measured by the tape of trust and hope -- your trust in God may be weak and your hope faint and wavering.
-- Or it may be measured by the tape of delight or joy in God -- you may feel much more pleasure Saturday night in a late movie than in meeting God in the morning.
Everyone of us is far from where we want to be on one of these measuring tapes every week.
Our primary goal is to meet God , and to commune with him and to hear him and to speak to him and to savor him and this is very hard to do and that it takes teaching an and preparation of heart, a conscious priority -- a sustained, God centered focus on dealing with God without mere human distraction
2. The second preparation for God and his worship is that we renounce all known sin in our lives before coming to worship God.
The wealthy people of Israel tried to make love with their true husband while keeping a mistress on the side. They tried to worship God while concealing sin in their lives. They also oppressed the poor, and crushed the needy, while trying to live in wealth and luxury.
Worship will inevitably become a weak, empty form and ritual if we try to keep on with it while our hearts are running after other gods. God will gladly take the dirtiest sinner into his arms on Sunday morning who comes with a broken and contrite heart intent on forsaking all known sin and trusting in Jesus for cleansing. But God will not be mocked by those who make like they love him and willfully break his law during the week. So the second act of preparation is to confess and renounce all known sin and come to the worship of God cleansed by the blood of Jesus and resting in his forgiveness and hope.
3. The third preparation for the worship of God is that we take note of how God has been trying to get our attention.
Five times in Amos 4 God says that he had done specific things in the lives of his people to turn them back to himself. And five times it says, "Yet you did not return to me." Each of these things God had done to get their attention could be explained as natural events with no divine cause. But God holds Israel accountable to listen and respond. That's the meaning of "Yet you did not return to me."
In not hearing the voice of God, or seeing the hand of God, Israel failed to prepare to meet him. That is what we must not do. We must wake up and stop looking at our lives like secular, scientific, naturalists. God is doing things in your life which are gracious providential messages to return to him and trust him. Take note of what he God has been saying to us in our lives to draw us to himself.
4. Finally, worship starts by also going to a church where Christ's truth is honored and fellowshipping also during the week with the Body of Christ, in prayer as well.
The Israelites were clearly a religious people. They came to Bethel and came gladly. But they had lost touch with the God of truth and they were not worshiping in truth. There were some left over forms like tithing and thank-offerings and sacrifices. But the very center and heart of worship was missing -- the true God.
"So I close with these suggestions for how we might prepare ourselves and others to meet effectively our God even in the Church services:
1. Set aside some time during the week and pray for all of the Church services, and especially Saturday night begin the orientation onto worship. Turn off the television and set your mind on things that above with the word of God and a time of prayer. Pray that God will be manifest in the services, that men will be convicted of sins and judgement and will thus repent.
2. Saturday night also do Go to bed early enough so that you are fresh and emotionally alive Sunday morning. The price of late night movies or parties on Saturday will be powerless worship Sunday morning.
3. Get up in time Sunday so that you do not have to rush to get to church, but have a little time to be alone with God and ask his blessing on you and your family and on the church. I can almost promise you that you depth of your communion with God in the service will be directly proportionate to the way you have sought the Lord for his blessing Saturday night and Sunday morning. This will take some discipline and some planning. But you will probably never turn back once you taste the fruit.
4. When you come into the sanctuary begin to seek the Lord. That means that by and large there will be a holy hush across the sanctuary. But it will be a very different kind of stillness than the awkward silence before a Sunday School class where you want everyone to mill around and talk and nobody is. There is a world of difference. And the difference will be made and felt by whether hundreds of you really going hard after God, or just politely waiting for the show to begin. You will make the difference in those minutes as to whether a visitor senses cool distance or the reality of God. The very point of those moments of going hard after of God is that this room will be filled with the power of God. The goal of those moments is not that people will be impressed with us -- either our piety or our friendliness -- but that they will fall on their face and say, "God is in this place." And that will only happen people are taken up with God.
If you want your friendship to go deep with someone, I invite you to make an experiment. As you enter the sanctuary talking, and the prelude begins, try saying this: "Let's finish this discussion after the service. I think John needs our prayers. Let's do battle for him." My wager is; that camaraderie in the warfare of prayer will take your friendship deeper than another five minutes of conversation.
5. If you have to come late --and we all do from time to time -- minister to those who have to sit in the commons and minister to those worshipping in the sanctuary with a spirit of worship and prayer.
6. Finally, before every act of worship, whether a hymn or a reading or a prayer or an anthem or a moment of silence or a sermon, say to Lord, "Lord, I come. I come to loved worship, praise and to sing to you. I come to pray to you. I come to listen to your word. I come to enjoy your presence." Don't drift through the service as though the action is on the platform. Become the main player Listens and also do pray for the others during the services, pray that they will listen, repent as well.
The greatest action in worship is when a heart that is far from the Lord draws near to the Lord, and focuses on him and desires him and trusts him and enjoys him. "
Portions taken from ref. http://www.indiagospel.net/word_alive/prayer.html ref. http://web1.duc.auburn.edu/student_info/ccc/music/45.html ref. http://www.calvarychapel.com/manitowoc/Library/Guglielmo-Joe/Studies/SM/19PSA/SM1102.HTM ref. http://www.latter-rain.org/his_manifest_presence.htm(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.A house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25) applies to Churches, and our homes, our lives too.
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