VIDEO The Weight of the Wait

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Psalm 27:14

For biblical heroes, God’s will often unfolded slowly. Think of Abraham and Sarah waiting decades for a child; David waiting to ascend to the throne; Joseph spending his twenties in an Egyptian jail; Paul being imprisoned five years in Jerusalem, Caesarea, and Rome. Think of the man in John 5 who suffered an infirmity 38 years before Jesus healed him.

When God shows us the way forward, we shouldn’t hesitate a moment before proceeding. But when we don’t have the opportunity or inner peace to move forward, we trust in God’s timing. We wait while He works. Waiting time is not wasted time.

The Lord is working in our circumstances to align all the details to His will. He is working on us to develop patience, perseverance, character, and optimism.

God works as we’re waiting, so trust Him in times of little observable progress. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”

In due time, He will give the victory!

Time is one of God’s most effective tools for teaching us to rely on Him. Charles Stanley

Having Confidence to Wait on the Lord (Psalm 27)

Still Before God

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

The first photograph of a living person was taken by Louis Daguerre in 1838. The photo depicts a figure on an otherwise empty avenue in Paris in the middle of an afternoon. But there’s an apparent mystery about it; the street and sidewalks should have been bustling with the traffic of carriages and pedestrians at that time of day, yet none can be seen.

The man wasn’t alone. People and horses were there on the busy Boulevard du Temple, the popular area where the photo was taken. They just didn’t show up in the picture. The exposure time to process the photograph (known as a Daguerreotype) took seven minutes to capture an image, which had to be motionless during that time. It appears that the man on the sidewalk was the sole person photographed because he was the only one standing still—he was having his boots shined.

Sometimes stillness accomplishes what motion and effort can’t. God tells His people in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Even when nations are “in uproar” (v. 6) and “the earth” shakes (v. 2), those who quietly trust in Him will discover in Him “an ever-present help in trouble” (v. 1).

The Hebrew verb rendered “be still” can also be translated “cease striving.” When we rest in God instead of relying on our limited efforts, we discover Him to be our unassailable “refuge and strength” (v. 1).

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

How will you “show up” for God by being still before Him today? Where do you need to trust Him more?

Heavenly Father, please help me to trust in You and to rest in the quiet awareness of Your unfailing love.

How God Gets Our Attention

Life’s interruptions are opportunities to trust the Lord and see Him work. Numbers 22:15-35

A whistle gets our attention quickly, wouldn’t you agree? It’s used to control unruly behavior, signal the start or finish of an event, or interrupt action. Have you ever considered that God has a “whistle”? It’s not one we hear with our ears, but it’s effective in getting our attention and redirecting our life. 

In today’s passage, God used a donkey as His “whistle” to redirect Balaam, but the man was oblivious until his animal spoke. Although you won’t hear a talking donkey, God still has His ways of getting your attention. 

Sometimes He uses a restless spirit or some vague dissatisfaction with one’s life. At other times, it may be a Scripture passage or something a person says that causes us to pause. God’s “whistles” come in many forms—illness, financial reversals, tragedies, disappointments, loss, difficulties, or failures.  

Whatever situation the Lord uses, our response should be to quickly seek Him in prayer. He deserves our undivided attention, but too often we get preoccupied with our circumstances and fail to recognize them for what they are. The next time the Lord interrupts your life in any way, let the situation prompt you to turn to Him and seek His guidance.

Living Waters

“A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.” (Song of Solomon 4:15)

There are eight verses in the Bible with the phrase “living water,” four in the Old Testament, four in the New. All beautifully describe a spiritual truth under the figure of a flowing stream of refreshing water.

The first of these (in our text above) is a portion of the description of the lovely character of a bride as seen by her coming bridegroom, almost certainly symbolic of the Lord and His people. But then, through the prophet, God laments that “my people…have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). “They have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 17:13). One day they shall return, however, and Zechariah prophesies that “living waters shall go out from Jerusalem….And the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:8-9).

In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus appropriated this metaphor to Himself as He spoke to a woman of Samaria. “If thou knewest the gift of God…he would have given thee living water” (John 4:10; see also v. 11). “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). Later in Jerusalem, He cried out to all, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said [referring, no doubt, to the above Old Testament passages], out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Then in the last book of the Bible is found a special promise for those who die for the Lord’s sake. “[He] shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17). HMM

Denouncing the Pharisees

Luke 11:37-54

LUKE records our Lord’s burning denunciation of Pharisaism (11:37-54). Invited out to dine, He observes no nicety of etiquette but condemns the external formalism of His host and all like-minded who put great care on the externals of religion but whose hearts were “full of ravening and wickedness.” Those who see only the meek and gentle side of our Lord should balance that with His fearless attack on the religiousness of His day.

Would He not say the same today in many churches where we go through all the motions, tithe and pray and seek upper seats, honor God with our lips while our hearts are far from Him? For Pharisaism calls itself now by different names, but it is still here. Jesus had no soft-tongued tolerance for such hypocrisy, and neither should we if we love Him. There is much loose thinking going the rounds today under the guise of tolerance and broad-mindedness that needs to remember 2 John 10-11, where we are commanded not even to receive into our houses those who teach false doctrine.

Of course, we must remember the other side, expressed in Mark 9:38-40, where we learn not to condemn others who are working in Christ’s name. Between these two poles the Christian must stand.

Jesus also rebuked the lawyers—that is, those versed in the Mosaic Law, who cluttered it up with their interpretations and kept it not themselves. How true to life today is that practice. He condemned their practice of building sepulchers for prophets whom their fathers slew. We so often condemn God’s prophets while they live—and succeeding generations honor them. We cast stones at them, but our children pick up the stones and build monuments to their honor!

The Lord accused these lawyers of taking away the key of knowledge. Supposed to know the law, they kept it not, and, knowing the prophecies, they refused to see Christ as the fulfillment—and hindered those who would. What a heavy condemnation rests today upon those who are teachers of the Word and yet do not believe its truths, and hinder others by their own unbelief and false teaching.

We read that such withering denunciation incensed the scribes and Pharisees and led them to try to provoke the Lord. He did not deal with them gently. Nowhere in the Gospels does He take any other attitude but that they are “blind leaders of the blind” and are to be let alone, having sinned against the Holy Ghost. Like Ephraim, they were joined to idols, and our Lord knew they could not be won, so He constantly reproved them and sentenced them to judgment. Their counterpart in any age has always opposed the true work of Christ, even while using Christian phraseology and claiming to reverence His name. Our Lord condemned both Pharisaism—lifeless orthodoxy—and Sadduceeism—Spiritless liberalism. The modern prophet can do no less and be true to his Lord.

“When I am weak, then am I strong.”

Exodus 4:1-16

Exodus 4:1

Those whom God sends are often slow to go, and yet men whom the Lord never sent push themselves into office eagerly.

Exodus 4:2, 3

This was a sign to him that though now a humble shepherd he would become so powerful as to terrify Pharaoh. The pastoral staff should be dreadful as a serpent.

Exodus 4:5

Here he learned that the power with which he was endowed while it would be as a terrible serpent towards Egypt, would be for himself and for Israel a harmless shepherd’s crook. Both the signs would encourage Moses.

Exodus 4:7, 8

This he saw that the Lord can both wither and restore. All who work for the Lord should remember this.

Exodus 4:9-13

By this reluctance Moses lost much honour, for Aaron became the high priest, and he obtained a helper who also proved to be a hindrance.

Jeremiah 1:6-9

It is interesting to note that other eminent prophets besides Moses have shrunk at first from their commission. We will read how Jeremiah did so.

Jeremiah 1:6-9

O Lord, grant that all thy ministers may have their mouths touched in the same manner.

Father of mercies, bow thine ear,

Attentive to our earnest prayer;

We plead for those who plead for thee,

Successful pleaders may they be!

Lord, how can sinful lips proclaim

The honours of so great a name!

O for thine altar’s glowing coal,

To touch their lips, and fire their soul.

God’s Voice Still Entreats Lost Mankind

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Romans 8:19, 22

Why is it that the shining world of which men have dreamed, and that every man secretly believes is somewhere before him, is nevertheless lost to men?

It can only be because we are out of the way.

The world we inhabit is a lost world. It is a sick, fallen planet upon which we ride. The sacred revelation declares plainly that the inhabitants of the world are also lost, by a mighty, calamitous visitation of woe which is still upon them.

But with this, it also tells us a glorious fact—that this lost race has not been given up!

Thankfully, there is a voice that calls, a voice that entreats! If we were not lost, there would be no voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”

I say again that we have not been given up. That is plain from the Book of Genesis. Recall that the sound of God’s gentle voice was heard saying, “Adam, where art thou?”—and that voice has never died out!

All of His entreating calls blend into one, whether it be the voice of God’s love, or the voice of Jesus’ blood, or the voice of conscience, or the voice of the dead or of the living, or of the lost or of the saved!

So, the holy writer says the lost planet is full of vanity and has lost its meaning, crying like a woman in travail—but waiting, as it were, to be born again into the liberty of the sons of God, and saved from decay and corruption!