What Does It Mean To Wait On The Lord?

Grace For The Journey

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23Aug  The command to wait on the Lord is found extensively throughout the Old and New Testaments.  In the Old Testament, it is more about waiting for the Lord’s providential care, but most New Testament references relate to Christ’s second coming.  In all cases . . .

It is about waiting expectantly and with hope.

Fundamental to being able to wait is

Trusting God’s character and goodness.

Waiting on the Lord is something the godly do.  It’s about holding on tight, hoping with expectation and trust, knowing that our Lord is not making us wait just to see how long we can “take it.”  There are times when God will delay His answer, and we will at times wonder why He seems so reluctant to intervene in our affairs.  The Psalms have numerous occasions where the writer cries out like the one in Psalm 69:3, “I am weary with my crying, my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.”  But, knowing the Lord, we trust that He will come at the perfect moment, not a second too soon or too late.

Waiting on the Lord necessitates two key elements:

A complete dependence on God

And

A willingness to allow Him

To decide the terms,

Including the timing of His plan.

Trusting God with the timing of events is one of the hardest things to do.  The half-joking prayer, “Lord, I need patience, and I need it RIGHT NOW,” is not far removed from the truth of how we often approach matters of spiritual growth and the Lord’s will.  To wait on the Lord produces character in the life of the Christian in that it involves patience (see James 1:4).  Waiting involves the passage of time, which is itself a gift of God.

The word “wait” in the Bible carries the idea of confident expectation and hope (Psalm 61:2).  To wait upon the Lord is to expect something from Him in godly hope, “and hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5).  We wait on the Lord in a way similar to how we wait on the arrival of out-of-town relatives, with loving anticipation of seeing them again. The Bible state in Romans 8:19, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”  All creation eagerly awaits God’s restoration.  Those who wait for God to keep His promises will not be disappointed.

Waiting on the Lord involves being at rest in the Lord.  Psalm 23 provides a lesson concerning being still.  Sheep will not be at peace near rushing water, but they will lie contentedly by “still” water, and that’s where the Good Shepherd leads us (Psalm 23:2).   The words “He makes me lie down” can be translated “He causes me to rest.”  When we, like sheep, are still, we are resting in the Lord and trusting our Shepherd.  Being still means . . .

We have ceased from following our own agenda or ingenuity;

We have stopped trusting in our own strength and will power.

We are waiting upon the Lord to exchange our weakness for His strength (see Isaiah 40:31 and 2 Corinthians 12:9).  The apostle Paul had a “thorn in the flesh,” and, as he gains spiritual insight, he understands that the affliction is a protective suffering meant by God to keep him from sin.  As a result . . .

The apostle is content to rest in God’s grace.

God does not remove the thorn;

He gives Paul a place to be still in the bearing of it.

Paul learned to be still and wait on the Lord.

To wait on the Lord is to rest in the confident assurance that, regardless of the details or difficulties we face in this life, God never leaves us without a sure defense.  As Moses told the panicky Israelites trapped at the Red Sea by Pharaoh’s army, “The Lord will fight for you; and you shall hold your peace (be quiet; be still)” (Exodus 14:14).

The heavenly perspective comes

As we focus not on the trouble

But on the Lord and His Word.

When it seems God has painted us into a corner,

We have an opportunity to set aside

Our human viewpoint and wait upon the Lord

To show us His power, His purpose, and His salvation.
When we don’t choose to wait on the Lord, we solicit trouble for ourselves.  Remember how Abraham and Sarah did not wait on the Lord for their child of promise?  Rather, Sarah offered her maid, Hagar, to Abraham in order to have a child through her.  The account in Genesis 16 and 18 shows that their impatience led to no end of trouble.

Any time we fail to wait on the Lord

And take matters into our own hands

–  Even when we’re trying

To bring about something God wants

– It leads to problems.

When we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), we can allow God to work out the rest of the details.

This doesn’t mean we sit idly by

As we wait on the Lord

To act on our behalf.

We should not spend our time doing nothing; rather, we should continue to walk in the way He has prescribed and do the work He has given us to do.  The Bible says in Psalm 123:2, “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, until He has mercy on us.”  That is, we should look to God with the constant anticipation and willingness to serve that a servant shows to his master.

The idea of waiting on the Lord

Is not like waiting for the dentist

In the waiting room (thank goodness!).

Rather, the sense of waiting on the Lord

Is somewhat akin to what

A waiter or waitress does in a restaurant.

Our attitude and actions should be as those of a waiter anticipating and meeting the requests of the one he’s waiting on.

Our waiting on the Lord is not biding our time

Until we finally get the service we’ve been waiting for;

It’s filling our time with discovery of,

And service to, the Master,

Always on our feet, ready

To know and do more.

The command to wait on the Lord means that we are to be near Him and attentive so that we may catch the slightest intimation of what He wants for us.  We naturally think of ourselves as self-sufficient.  We turn here and there and expect help from our own ability, from friends, or from circumstances.  But in the spiritual life we are taught to distrust self and depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit.

Waiting on the Lord involves

The confident expectation

Of a positive result

In which we place

A great hope – a hope

That can only be realized

By the actions of God.

This expectation must be based

On knowledge and trust,

Or we simply won’t wait.

Those who do not know the Lord will not wait on Him; neither will those who fail to trust Him.  We must ever be learning about who God is and what He is capable of doing.  The Bible tells us in 1 John 5:14, that those who wait on the Lord do not lose heart in their prayers.: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Waiting on the Lord renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31).  Prayer and Bible study and meditating upon God’s Word are essential.

To wait on the Lord

We need a heart responsive

To the Word of God,

A mind focused on the things of heaven,

And a will that is rooted in faith.

We should not despair when God tarries long in His response; but continue to patiently wait on Him to work on our behalf.  The reason God sometimes waits a long time to deliver is to extend the goodness of the final outcome.  Take comfort in what God tells us in His Word in Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.  For the LORD id a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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