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Wait is an Action Verb

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Luke 24:49 – I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1:4:  “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

Stay, tarry, remain, and wait.  Wait is defined by Dictionary.com in the following ways:

  1. To remain inactive or in a state of repose until something expected happens
  2. To be available or in readiness
  3. To postpone or delay something
  4. To look forward to eagerly

Inactivity. Repose. Resting. Doing nothing. That is hard to do in this busy world; however, if we want to hear from God, we have to wait.  But wait is an action verb.  So what should we be doing while we wait?  How do we actively wait?

  1. Pray –
    1. Psalm 5:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
  2. Trust the timing –
    1. Psalm 31:14-15 But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God. My times are in your hands…
    2. Psalm 25:5 …for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.
  3. Expect and hope –
    1. Psalm 39:7 And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.
  4. Be still and silent –
    1. Psalm 62:1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    2. Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.
  5. Wait in patience
    1. Psalm 37:7 Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently; lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.
  6. Focus – Eyes looking up for a vision
    1. Psalm 145:15 The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season.
    2. Habakkuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.
  7. Wait with strength
    1. Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
  8. Get YOUR answer, not someone else’s
    1. Isaiah 30:18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!
  9. Wait for Him
    1. Isaiah 25:9 It shall be said in that day, Behold our God upon Whom we have waited and hoped, that He might save us! This is the Lord, we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

While we are waiting, how should we pray? Pray for

  1. Cleansing from sin
  2. Willingness to surrender to God’s plan, to obey
  3. Cooperation of others who play a role in God’s plan for you
  4. Ears to hear and recognize the voice of the Spirit
  5. Eyes to see the vision God has for you
  6. Strength to wait and resist any lies from the evil one
  7. Patience and steadfastness to wait and not act in your own power
  8. Power to carry out God’s instructions when you receive an answer

As we look to the dictionary definition of wait, we see that the word itself encompasses all that is listed and confirmed in other Bible verses.

  1. To remain inactive until we get specific direction from God
  2. To be available for His response and plan, and not get caught up in something else while we are waiting
  3. To postpone or delay action until instruction is received
  4. To look forward and eagerly await God’s answer because we know it will be amazing. . . and …immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us Ephesians 3:20-21

 To Him be the glory!

Wait

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Isaiah 40: 27-31 

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become tired or grow weary;
There is no searching of His understanding.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who has no might He increases power.
30 Even youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.

WAIT! That is a key word in verse 31.  Why are we tired? If we do not spend time with God, studying His Word, we are going to be tired because we have not waited on Him.  We have not cleansed and renewed our minds. We are carrying around a lot of negative junk—self-defeating talk, bitterness or anger over petty things, unforgiveness, aches and pains, depression.  Spending time with God renews our minds so we are focused on the positive.  HE is our Strength, our Healer, our Redeemer, our Defender. We CAN do all things through HIM.

But the other part of WAITING is not moving forward trying to do things when we haven’t gotten a go-ahead from God.  When we try to do things in our own strength, we waste our energy on things that will likely have little or no success because they aren’t things God has planned for us.  But we go ahead, and then when we fail; we feel depressed.  If we had waited, we wouldn’t have used up all our energy on things that get us nowhere.  When we wait for God’s plan, we will have all the energy we need.

What should we do while we are waiting?  Focus on God’s promises.  Actively speak positive things into our lives.  These are some of my favorites.

  • No weapon formed against us can prosper.
  • God has plans to prosper me, not to harm me.
  • Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.
  • I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.
  • Nothing is impossible with God.
  • If God is for me, who can be against me?
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
  • Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Light, in Whom is no shadow of turning.
  • My God shall supply all my needs, according to His riches and glory.
  • The steps of the righteous are ordered of God.
  • You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
  • No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
  • I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Are you tired and weary? Are you lacking strength? Wait on God and be renewed so you can soar!

God’s Timetable

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Numbers 9:15-23 (AMP)

16 So it was constantly; the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.

17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tent, after that the Israelites journeyed; and in the place where the cloud rested, there the Israelites encamped.

18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites journeyed, and at [His] command they encamped. As long as the cloud rested upon the tabernacle they remained encamped.

19 Even when the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle many days, the Israelites kept the Lord’s charge and did not set out.

20 And sometimes the cloud was only a few days upon the tabernacle, but according to the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at His command they journeyed.

21 And sometimes the cloud remained [over the tabernacle] from evening only until morning, but when the cloud was taken up, they journeyed; whether it was taken up by day or by night, they journeyed.

22 Whether it was two days or a month or a longer time that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, dwelling on it, the Israelites remained encamped; but when it was taken up, they journeyed.

23 At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at [His] command they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord through Moses.

This section of scripture relates the Israelites following of the Lord via the cloud or pillar of fire.  The obvious message here is to follow God daily, regardless of how quickly or slowly He seems to be moving.  The time for stopping and journeying doesn’t follow a consistent pattern.

What really strikes me about this passage, though, is the number of times the same thing is repeated.  I count eight times that the Word says when the cloud tarried, they remained encamped and when the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.  Eight times.  In a row.  It must be important for us to get this message if God says it eight times in a row.

When God moves, then we move.  When God waits, then we wait.  God always moves first.  Then we follow.  We move or tarry at God’s command—not our own time table. To illustrate the point further, specific examples are given.  The word even is used in verse 19 (AMP).  “Even” when the cloud tarried many days, the Israelites did not set out.  So, even when we think God is taking a long time, we are still to wait.

The next verse provides a contrast.  Sometimes it is only a few days of tarrying before the Israelites are up and moving again.  Yet they don’t delay.  There is no debate, no “oh we’re not ready, Lord. We thought we’d have one more day.”  They are ready to move.  And there aren’t any excuses.  God provides their food, and their clothes never wear out.  They aren’t hunting. They aren’t stopping to do laundry.  They are unencumbered.

When we are waiting for God, we have to be watching to know when to move.  We have to be ready when it is time. We have to be prepared at every moment because when God says, “Now,” we can’t hesitate.

Verse 21 says sometimes the Israelites only tarried from evening until morning—that didn’t give them time to do much except rest.  And rest is important when we are on a long journey.  Verse 22 indicates the cloud might tarry two days, a month, or longer.  (Some translations say a year.) Just as the Israelites had to be ready when the cloud only tarried one night, they also had to be ready if the cloud tarried a year.  They couldn’t become complacent and think, “Well, God hasn’t moved for a year so I guess we will set up a community here and stay.”  NO! They still had to be ready to move.

And think about where they were.  In the DESERT! The desert is certainly not somewhere we want to tarry any longer than necessary.  Certainly not forever.  We don’t want to take up residence there.  God will move us through and out if we follow His lead.

The Israelites could not forget God’s presence.  The cloud was there constantly to remind them (verse 16.)  They were aware of its presence and had to keep their eyes on it so they would know what to do. If they took their eyes off the cloud, they would miss God’s cues.  Verse 21 tells us the cloud even moved at night.  God moves at unexpected times.  All the repetition in these verses makes it clear we must be ready and we must follow.

Everything is done at God’s command.  This phrase is also repeated—9 times!  Our comings and goings, working and rest, journeying and tarrying are all timed by the Commander—God.

Are you currently in a period of tarrying?  Wait expectantly; keep your eyes on God so you know when it is time to move.  Are your currently on the move?  Keep moving and don’t give up until God says it’s time for a stop.  Keep your eyes on Him and do everything at His command.

Here are the lessons in a nutshell:

  1. God is always in charge.
  2. We must keep our eyes on Him at all times. (We don’t have a pillar, but we do have God’s Word.)
  3. We must be on God’s timetable, even in the desert.
  4. We must be ready to move when it’s time, even if it’s unexpected.
  5. We must wait when God tarries.
  6. We can’t become complacent or encumbered with worldly concerns.
  7. These lessons are important because God repeats Himself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 also reminds us that “To everything there is a season,”—even tarrying and moving.  May God’s peace be upon you as follow His command.

Until next time,

CKWidmayer

When God Says, “Wait.”

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Acts 1:4 – “And while being in their company and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, Of which [He said] you have heard Me speak.”

Jesus is sharing a meal with the disciples after His resurrection. He is giving them some final instructions. Perhaps you notice words which I highlighted in bold in the verse above. These words leaped out at me when I was praying for direction about leaving an activity and place in my life. “Don’t leave; wait.” God was pretty clear. There’s not much room for misinterpretation. I can’t say they were the words I was hoping for; however, I can say I wasn’t overly surprised. God has given me this same answer before. You would think I would learn to stop asking. However, the “wait” part offers encouragement. It says God understands, and there will be a time when I don’t have to wait. So, I tried to be thankful for the quick answer and moved on in my reading.

As I continued, I had to chuckle at the disciples’ response to the same answer. Although I had not asked God anything else (yet), I saw some parallels to the usual responses one might get when told to wait. The disciples had been told to wait for the power of the Holy Ghost to fall. They were to remain in Jerusalem until that happened. Now from my perspective, they got more of an answer than I did. They got “Wait until. . .” All I got was “Wait.” But since they had no timeline for “until,” I guess they felt the same way I did.

In response, the disciples asked, “Is this the time when You will reestablish the kingdom and restore it to Israel?” Now, that seems like a pretty astute question, doesn’t it? But you know what I saw when I read it? Subtext. When. When, Lord? When will you establish your kingdom? When will Israel be restored? When will we get to be with you in your kingdom? When do we get what we expected? When do we get to leave Jerusalem? When?

That’s when I chuckled. Oh, I am not laughing at the disciples or God’s Word. I’m laughing at human response. I hadn’t asked God “when?” At least not today. But I have asked Him before, and I suspect before long my lack of patience will get the best of me and I’ll ask Him again? When, Lord? When you will release me? When will this go the way I expect it to go?

God must think we are awfully predictable. We are children. Isn’t that what children say to adults? If we say “no,” they ask “why.” If we say “wait,” they ask “when.” And that’s what we are doing to God.

So, how did Jesus respond to the disciples’ question? He said, “It is not for you to know.” Now, Jesus is polite. But do you wonder about his tone here? I do. Was it a soft tone of I’m sorry guys, but you really don’t need to know. Or was it more authoritative, as You do not need to know. It is up to the Father–His choice, His timing, His authority, His decision. Either way, Jesus is saying it wasn’t the disciples’ business. Thankfully, Jesus didn’t stop there.

I kept on reading. I was thinking, “Okay, Lord. I’ll wait. I’ll do what You want. It can be on Your timetable. But you realize, Lord, I can’t do this alone. You know that, right? I’ll need your help to do this.

And Jesus’ next words are “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” You shall receive POWER. I will receive power. Actually, I have already received this power; I just have to access it. And that power will help me to do whatever I need to do to complete the requirements I have. Whatever has felt overwhelming will be accomplished through God’s power. And that power will not only help me do the specific tasks; it will also help me be a witness for Christ. And that’s the point. That’s the bottom line. Jesus said, “You shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts. 1:8)

So no matter where I am, what ministry or job I am doing, or what people I contact in my daily activities, I am there to be a witness. So if God says it is not time for me to leave someplace, then apparently, my witness is still needed there. Oh, it may not always be obvious how my witness is working, but it is working. If I am living out my Christian faith to the best of my ability with God’s help, then I am witnessing to people, whether I think so or not. That’s the command to Christians—to spread the Gospel. Jesus’ last words before He was taken up to heaven were “you shall be my witnesses.” So, I will wait and be a witness.

As I determined to wait, I read a little more. After Jesus was taken to heaven, it mentions what the disciples did while they were waiting. They “devoted themselves steadfastly to prayer.” (Acts 1:14) I guess I have some praying to do.

Until next time,

CKelli