January 20, 2019

What are we waiting for?

Most of the time, waiting is about standing in line, or anticipating a delivery, or about some frustration over an event or person that is slower than we want them to be. One day this week I was particularly tired. I thought of God’s promise about waiting for Him and as I was praying (waiting on Him) I asked for energy. My request was based on this promise:

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30–31)

God kept this promise and I had increased energy all day. Today’s devotional is about this very thing — waiting on the Lord. The word is used 135 times in the Bible and with varying slants, but basically it is about putting my hope in God and trusting His promises. The prophet Jeremiah says this:

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:25–26)

For the Jew, God was One, the Law was the revelation of His will, and life was under His authority with an expectation He would intervene and save them from their trials. They continually waited for that to happen and when Christ was born, they and their world were prepared. This was called “the fulness of time.”

The New Testament complements the OT, completing God’s revelation and clarifying to the Jew. It included Gentiles in the family of God (the Church). Both OT and NT record the promises of God and how the people were waiting in hope for their fulfillment.

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)

For many, salvation meant freedom from political oppression. Others seemed to understand that there was more to their redemption than that, people like Simeon, Anna and Joseph of Arimathea . . .

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. (Luke 2:25)

And coming up at that very hour she (Anna, eighty-four and a prophetess) began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)

Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Mark 15:43)

After Jesus was crucified by those who wanted a king rather than a Savior, He rose from the dead and met with the disciples. Again, He told them to wait.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4–5)

The Lord also explains that we not only wait for the Holy Spirit but also the great changes that will come as a result of salvation and believing in Him:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:19–23)

We are to “wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:25) and even though believers experience salvation instantly, there is more — Jesus will return and we are to wait for that:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:11–13)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27–28)

Oh, Lord Jesus, when You come, there will be great changes including “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:11–13) In the meantime, I’m to live a holy, godly life as I wait for You.

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