Summary: The purpose of this message is to help us gain a better understanding of how to wait on God - especially as it applies to prayer.
I WILL WAIT
Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance – you may be seated. (Video)
If you have served in the Armed forces of our country, law enforcement or fire department please stand and be recognized (applause)
A. Who here likes to wait?
1. Not many of us do, nevertheless we find ourselves doing it quite a bit
2. Frequently throughout the day and countless times throughout the week we find ourselves in a position where we have to wait
a. We wait for traffic lights to turn green or trains to pass by
b. We wait for the water to boil, bread to toast, and microwave dinners to heat
c. We wait in lines of all sorts: banks, stores, county and state offices
d. We wait for phone calls or people to show up for appointments
e. We wait for our turn at doctor’s offices, dentist offices, barber shops
f. We wait for summer (or winter) and vacations
3. Have you ever thought about how much you wait? It sort of depressed me when I did!
B. And if this is not bad enough, we live in a culture that says – you don’t have to wait – You have a right to get what you want NOW!
1. Think about commercials
a. What is the number one sales pitch for a credit card – you don’t have to wait
b. What is the fast food business all about – you don’t have to wait (if you don’t believe me, see how you react when you do have to wait)
c. Listen to the next car commercial – they are trying to tell you, you don’t have to wait – in fact, you don’t want too (according to them) because you might miss out!
2. Then there is the credit industry:
a. Credit cards – you don’t have to wait
b. Easy checks – from your credit card company – you don’t have to wait
3. With all this pressure is it any wonder we have a don’t wait attitude when it comes to spiritual things?
C. When it comes to spiritual things it is probably hardest to wait when it comes to prayer – more specifically – answered prayer.
1. Even the great ones have problems: Daniel, Jeremiah, the disciples
2. And, of course, you and me!
3. And this is where our message for this morning comes into play.
D. If you remember, Habakkuk, had been praying a long time for God to do something in Israel – he wanted revival in the worst way
1. He waited and waited and waited so long that the first words we read in the small book are: O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Habakkuk 1:2
2. Well God does answer, but the prophet does not like the answer God gives him, so he cries out again – this time in response to what God had told him
3. Follow me here – His first answer form God was a long time coming, so Habakkuk digs in for another long haul – a good example for us this morning.
4. Listen to the words recorded in Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
5. This morning I want us to consider how we should approach the Lord in prayer, by looking at
a. A Commitment to Perseverance
b. A Commitment to Watch
c. A Commitment to Act
6. May God grant us a listening heart and a will to wait on His answers to our prayers – may we determine: I will wait!
We can learn a lot from this passage in Habakkuk. When the answer to our prayers do not come quickly there are a number of things we need to commit ourselves to do. The first is
I. A COMMITMENT TO PERSEVERANCE, Hab 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower,….
A. Habakkuk here uses some imagery that is lost to us.
1. In ancient times there was no early detection systems of an advancing army or enemy – At least none other than the human eye
2. Cities were often surrounded by a defensive wall upon which centuries would be stationed and keep watch – their purpose was to keep a watchful eye upon the surrounding landscape
a. They were looking for intruders
b. Or they might be looking for travelers who needed access through a gated part of the city and would summons the gate keeper to open up.
3. Some cities had watch towers as an additional defensive measure.