Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hebrews 6:13-15 Part 2 Waiting. . . more waiting. . .

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. (Hebrews 6:13-15)

I am not the best “waiter.” I don’t like sitting in a freezing exam room for 45 minutes until a doctor can pop his head in; I feel my anger grow as I discover that, once again, I got in the wrong line at the store (if you see me at a store, NEVER get in line behind me). I want to scream at drivers who get on the freeway in front of me going 50 mph! I especially don’t like being put on hold, listening to REALLY bad elevator music, while I wait to get an answer to a simple question.

Yesterday, we focused on the promise of God. Today I want to go back to the same verses to look at the idea of waiting. We know that often there is a long time between the promise and the fulfillment. I have friends who have been waiting for years for their spouse or children to come to the LORD. I see couples struggling with infertility, or friends with a serious illness waiting for answers. Is God ignoring prayers? Will He EVER answer?

Sometimes the fulfillment doesn’t come in our lifetime. This was certainly true of Abraham. I can identify with the Hebrew believers in wanting the LORD to return NOW. What is He waiting for? 2 Peter 3:9 gives us the answer to that one:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Just as God has a gracious purpose in our waiting for Christ’s return, He is being gracious when He delays in answering our prayers. He is building our character, teaching us to be patient, to endure, to persevere, to trust. I love that God does not tell us what is in our future. I don’t think we could bear knowing that news ahead of time. Yet, somehow, over years of walking and trusting Him, we find Him faithful, no matter where He leads us.

Jon Courson says that one of the reasons God waits, is because what He has planned is so much better than what we could imagine. (Eph. 3:20). He uses the example of Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were very old and childless. They had given up the dream of ever becoming parents. Yet God gave them the boy who would grow up to become the greatest prophet in history, John the Baptist! I love what Jon Courson writes:

The language of eternity is faith. When the Lord has us ruling and reigning at His side, under His command, doing His bidding - whatever that means in the ages to come - He’s going to need men and women like you who are not second-guessing, not doubting, not faltering. Jesus taught about the faithful in this life who will rule over five and ten cities in the kingdom (Luke 19). In other words, Jesus is saying there is a destiny far beyond what any of us know or can imagine awaiting us in the next zillion years.

 And the language that must be fluently spoken by us if we are going to be ambassadors for Him in the realm and regions beyond is the language of faith. (New Testament Commentary , P. 1476)

What are you waiting for in this season? Are you waiting for a spouse? Are you wondering why you still have no baby in your arms, even though it is your greatest desire to love on a baby? Are you waiting for a clear diagnosis from the doctor? Are you waiting to find a job? Maybe you are waiting for the burden of overwhelming grief to subside. If God delays in answering, know that it is because He has the perfect plan for you - and that plan is part of His overall Kingdom plan - it’s for eternal purposes, not just our happiness. God is focused on our holiness, and He is working it into us in the waiting.

What can you do while you wait? Rest. Trust. Keep moving forward. Psalm 37:3-4 puts it this way:

Trust in the Lord and do good;

    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Take delight in the Lord,

    and he will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV)

God is the ultimate Promise Keeper. When He says He’s going to do something, He does it. That’s why believers, over centuries, have put their trust in Him. Rest. Trust. Keep moving forward. He is FAITHFUL! As we finish this chapter of Hebrews in our next passage, we will look at the imagery that the author uses to affirm that we have a God who can be trusted. Let’s take delight in Him!  

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