As I listened to Pastor Babij’s sermon on Sunday, I was reminded once again how much God’s people need to learn the skill of waiting well.
Life is full of waiting. We wait everyday, whether it’s for traffic, dinner, or that customer service rep. Furthermore, as we’ve also been learning from Solomon, life contains long seasons of waiting. We sometimes must wait weeks, months, or years before we see justice or something else for which we long (Eccl 3:17).
But do people like to wait? Not at all. In fact, what usually appears in people who are forced to wait? Exactly what appeared in Israel in Numbers 21:4-5: complaining. The prideful, idolatrous, and fleshly human heart hates waiting, especially waiting unexpectedly. According to the heart puffed up by discontented arrogance, being forced to wait is an unacceptable injustice and a failure to provide what is necessary for happiness: namely, “whatever I want when I want it!” Yet God makes clear in the Bible that he hates complaining (Num 14:27). Complaining against people or circumstances is ultimately complaining against God, who is in control (Ex 16:8). Complaining, then, like all sinful speech, is enough to doom one to fiery hell (Mt 12:34-37).
In contrast, God’s people should be marked by faith, patience, and contentment (Gal 5:22-24), even as they wait unexpectedly long periods of time. Consider how long Abraham waited for the son of promise (Gen 21:5), how long Israel waited for deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Ex 12:40-41), how long David after his anointing waited to become king (2 Sam 5:2-5), how long Israel waited for the arrival of God’s Messiah (Luke 2:25-32; Rom 5:6), and how long Christ’s followers have already waited for his return (2 Pet 3:3-4, 8-9). God has his good reasons for making his people wait and still listens to his children when they humbly cry out under trial and injustice (Lk 18:7-8). Yet God’s people must learn to wait without complaint and, thereby, stand out as lights amid a perverse and crooked generation (Phil 2:14-16).
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I wait for Him.”
The LORD is good to those who await Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
Questions to Consider:
1. What are you waiting for in your life? Do you wait with complaining or with contented faith?
2. What is the difference between righteous waiting and sinful and foolish complacency?
3. As the Covid-19 season and its restrictions extend, how should you respond before God?