WAIT, the TEST of PATIENCE
INTRODUCTION: For the most part, we would have to agree we live in a hurry, hurry, rush, problem, stress, anxiety-filled world, where the mentally is that of the military, “hurry up and WAIT.” Three words describe our times as we ricochet from place to place, they are HURRY, WORRY, and BURY!
So in this race called life, with pressing demands of time upon us, we need to STOP and discover God. In order to do that, God uses an infinite number of vehicles in the process of discovering Him. One of these is in the area we call PATIENCE. I’m sure you agree, we have become accustomed to the American prayer – Lord, give me patience… And I want it right now!
It's awfully hard for a country that exits on instant everything…every time to learn how to wait. We want it when we want it, and we want it right now. It's amazing;
When you are in a hurry, you catch every RED LIGHT.
When you need to make that phone call, the other line is BUSY.
When you are in a hurry to get through the check-out line, you get behind someone who is taking their GOOD OLD TIME as if they have nothing else to do.
Wouldn't you rather do anything than wait? In life, I have found that waiting is the rule rather than the exception. In the Christian life, I also have found that I have spent more time waiting on God.
Oh, there have been those occasional open doors to go through. But the rest of the time is filled with a few yellow lights and mostly red lights that flash, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! You definitely get the feeling that you're in a hurry and God isn't.
Yet that's the key: WAITING is the TEST of PATIENCE..
In the New Testament there are two Greek words used from which we get our English word patience.
Number 1 is “Makrothumia" translated by our English word "long-suffering." This word has to do with patience in respect to PEOPLE.
Ephesians 4:2, “…With all lowliness and meekness with LONGSUFFERING, forbearing one another in love.”
Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on therefore…bowls of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, LONGSUFFERING: forbearing one another, and forgiving one another…”
Number 2 is "Hupomeno" often translated by the word “patience.” This word tells us to "bear up" under the CIRCUMSTANCES of life. In a real sense we are to develop "endurance." We envision getting under the pressure put upon us by circumstances and standing fast. It’s another expression for “DON’T QUIT.”
In James 1:2-4 we read, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (means testing). Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing.”
In the Bible PATIENCE is not a passive acceptance of circumstances. It is a courageous perseverance in the face of suffering. Impatience and unbelief usually go together, just as faith and patience go together. WHEN YOU LEARN TO WAIT UPON THE LORD, THEN GOD CAN DO GREAT THINGS THROUGH YOU.
Now the only way God can develop patience or Christian character in our lives is through trials. Endurance cannot be obtained:
By reading a book on ten steps to achieving patience,
By listening to a sermon on patience or any other subject, or
By praying the prayer, “O Lord, please give me patience right now.”
None of these things will produce patience. Patience is built through trials and tribulations. In Romans 5:3-4 we read, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh PATIENCE; and PATIENCE, experience; and experience hope:”
Now if God is going to develop patience in us then, “God must build CHARACTER IN us before He can work THROUGH us.” Let me say that again, “God must build CHARACTER IN us before He can work THROUGH us.” God needs to wean us away from spiritual babyhood to bring us to completion. Each trial causes us to develop a little more maturity to smooth out the rough edges of our Christian faith. Let me put it this way,
“God wants us to become Spiritual adults and the school he often
takes us through is the school of "HARD KNOCKS."
So what is the test for patience – WAIT, “Waiting on the Lord.”
Psalm 37:7, “Rest and WAIT patiently for him…”
Psalm 130:5-6, “I WAIT for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul WAITETH for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”
Isaiah 40:31, "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.”
Now turning to Psalm 62 we discover a rather simple three-point outline for guiding us to victorious “waiting on the Lord.”
“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. (2) He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. (3) How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence. (4) They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah. (5) My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (6) He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. (7) In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (8) Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. (9) Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. (10) Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. (11) God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. (12) Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.”
First: We are to Wait for God to direct our steps. In verse 1 David says, "Truly, my soul waiteth upon God." The word "waiteth" conveys the idea of "silence." Literally verse 1 reads, "My soul is silent before God." That speaks of waiting on God. "Don't be anxious, WAIT!" Notice verse 5, "My soul, wait thou only upon God…" Ever had to do that? Sure you have. It's all a part of the growing pains of the Christian life. Soul, STOP and LISTEN! Wait for God to direct your step.
I don't know about you, but for me, a guy who has a hard time waiting, that really is tough to wait for God to do something. In essence, I have spent many an anxious night and paced many a floor saying "God, please hurry up; the wait is killing me." And it was, because my sleep was ruined by worry and my days were filled with thoughts, such as "God, why haven't you acted?" I found myself doing nothing but fretting.
And there God was, sitting in heaven with the answer, shaking His head saying, “Why hasn't he learned his lesson and just sit back and trust me to work out all the details?”
If we are to wait upon God, YOU AND I MUST HAVE FAITH IN THE PROMISES OF THE WORD OF GOD, AND BE REMINDED OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO THOSE PROMISES.
Second: We are to wait upon God to provide our needs: Again in verses 1,2,5,6, look at all that God is going to provide. “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. (2) He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. (5) My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (6) He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.” Okay, so you are to wait on Him, trusting Him to provide your needs. How are you doing with "Waiting for God to supply your needs?"
I can “teach you” the principles of patience, but I can't "learn you." God must do that, and His requirement for learning PATIENCE is waiting. Let me take you back to a passage found in Genesis 22:1-14.
God promised Abraham a son, Isaac, a son that would become the father of many nations, and through him the whole world would be blessed.
God promised that his offspring would be as the sand of the sea for the multitudes and the stars of the heaven in number. In due time God kept His promise and Isaac was born.
Now in Genesis 22 God demands of Abraham an incredible thing. The great test was to offer his son Isaac as a literal burnt offering, upon an altar on Mt. Moriah. I believe the key to this extended passage is "perfect faith in the heart is exhibited by perfect obedience in the life."
Faith’s obedience always results in faith’s action. We can never TEST the great resources of God until our faith sees the impossible or the incredible and yet believes the possible.
Faith does not question God; faith believes and obeys. Faith is resting in the promises of God. Where God places a period, I don’t have the right to place a question mark.
As the result of Abraham’s faith and obedience, God supplied a ram to take the place of Abraham’s son. There upon, Abraham called the place “Jehovah-Jirah,” verse 14. This great name of God means to SEE beforehand, and to PROVIDE for the enviable need. Oh, to be sure Abraham no doubt did not understand it all, yet He had FAITH IN THE GOD OF PROVISION!
God does not play games with us. GOD KNOWS and UNDERSTANDS OUR SITUATION before we do, and in turn, HE PROVIDES FOR US IN THAT SITUATION.
Have you ever had one of those answers to pray where there was nothing you could do but pray, pray, pray and then you had to sit back and wait for God to answer. You could do absolutely nothing. There was no one to turn to but the Lord.
Have you ever had to come to the point where you literally had to exchange your weakness for God's strength, even though you didn't deserve the exchange? "It’s impossible, Lord, you do it." If we are going to learn the great lesson on patience, we need to learn to wait upon the God of provision.
Perhaps you are asking if God is the God of provision, why doesn’t he immediately give us what we ask for. Listen, it must be understood God's delays are not the delays of inactivity, but of preparation. God is always answering prayers, for Romans 8:28 tells us, God works in all things at all times, causing all things to work together to accomplish His purposes. SO WHY WOULD GOD WANT AT TIMES TO MAKE US WAIT AND HAVE US CONTINUE TO AGONIZE IN PRAYER?
Because God knows WHAT is best. Sometimes we ask for something God knows is second best for us. He may have something better. Sometimes the Lord delays just to see if we will wait for His best.
Because God knows WHEN it is best. God’s timing is important. The WHEN is just as important as the WHAT. He wants us to have it, but He wants us to have it at the right time.
Third: We are to wait silently, in stillness upon God. Again this was David's cry in verse 1, "My soul, wait (literally wait in silence) upon God…" The hymn writer wrote,
Speak, Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on thee;
Hush my heart to listen, in expectancy."
Some of the best times in prayer are wordless times. This is where you stop speaking, close your eyes, and meditate upon what you have been reading or upon what you have been saying, and just wait. You feel the presence of God's Holy Spirit as He takes your prayer of circumstances before God.
“It is the incredible wisdom of our God to ordain prayer to be the most powerful weapon of the church. If He had chosen anything else like preaching, singing, money or education, many of us could never participate in fighting the battles of life. But prayer does not require any talent and can be done anywhere, anytime by anyone…If the Lord has thus spoken to you, please respond by doing just one thing, PRAY!”
Stop here for a moment and mark your place in Psalm 62, as we shall return. Now go with me to Isaiah 40:25-31,
“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (26) Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. (27) Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (29) He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: (31) 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.”
Now the human heart is capable of being DISCOURAGED, DISTRESSED, and FRUSTRATED often giving way to depression and fear. Such will bring us to use the language of our text, and to COMPLAIN and ARGUE with God, because we IMAGINE our CASE IS BEYOND HIM. This was the attitude of God's people in Isaiah's time at this particular point in their experience.
They were about to enter a time of captivity.
They were about to face something of the chastening hand of God for their sin and disobedience.
They were about to reap the harvest which they had sown.
Instead of searching their hearts about it, they began to say in verse 26.
"Our way is hid from God."
“God, your guidance is impossible.”
“God, our deliverance is quite beyond Your power.”
I would venture to say someone here is experiencing FRUSTRATION, AFFLICTION, FEAR, and/or DISCOURAGEMENT. You are probably asking,
"Where is God in all this?"
"Does anybody feel as I feel?"
"Does anybody understand my situation?"
You have come to a place where you cry out, "Oh, God MY CASE, MY SITUATION IS BEYOND YOU." Here, God STOPS to ask you,
“Why are you complaining?”
“Why are you grumbling?”
In these verses there is some light for your soul on the matter of complaining. Notice the contrast.
The everlasting God FAINTS NOT, He is NOT WEARY.
But you and I faint and become weary, not merely physically or mentally, but also spiritually.
You and I know absolute exhaustion brings upon our lips the unworthy argument with God, "OH, God do you even care if I am delivered? Why do I faint and tire?”
Maybe it is some sin not yet dealt with.
Maybe it is some doubt in the promises of God.
Maybe it is because our own strength is being used to fight it out in our own way.
The Almighty One is not weary or faint. Can it be that He wants to make us like Him? Now we come to that fabulous verse 31. "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.” They that WAIT upon the Lord shall MOUNT up into heavenly places in Jesus Christ, and take their place where God has put them, with their HEARTS in HEAVEN and their FEET on the EARTH. It is at this point where we shall run and never be weary and walk and never faint.
How do we find renewal? "They that wait upon the Lord shall EXCHANGE THEIR STRENGTH FOR HIS." So, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WAIT UPON GOD?
It means no more complaining.
It means no more arguing with Him.
It means much communicating with God in prayer.
It means waiting on His strength, because we get tired, He does not!
Now back in Psalm 62, God tells us why we are to wait. It's so simple. Here are the benefits of waiting:
He is our DELIVERER, our SALVATION verse 1, “…God: from him cometh my salvation.”
He is our SECURITY, our STRONGHOLD verse 2, “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”
He is our HOPE, verse 5, “…God; for my expectation is from him.”
He only is our GLORY, verse 7, “In God is my salvation and my glory…”
He only is our REFUGE, verse 7, “…the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE ANY DELIVERANCE.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE ANY SECURITY.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE ANY HOPE.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE ANY GLORY.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE ANY REFUGE.
Frustrations, problems, and conflicts may not rear their heads today, but another time is coming during which you may have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
They are going to come and if it is not the circumstances, it will be the people, who some days will be sweet and other days will be cruel and heartless.
Through it all, thank God! He is our refuge and our strength. So let me close by saying:
There is no burden so great or so small that God doesn't want to help us bear it.
There is no problem so great or small that God doesn’t want to help us find a solution to it.
There is no question so hard or so simple that God can”t find an answer to it.
Prayer is God's appointed way for Christians to get things. "O, thou God who hearest prayer, put into our hearts to BELIEVE Thee, and to pray."
Remember that American prayer I quoted at the beginning? Lord, give me patience … And I want it right now! Let's replace it with this prayer from the believer’s heart, Lord, make me PATIENT … And I am willing to wait on You!
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “WAIT – the TEST of PATIENCE” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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