Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Waiting on God is one of the most difficult things to do. Apparently the whole life secret lies in it. What does waiting on the Lord include? Let me put it in three brief exhortations. Keep near Him; keep still; expect.

Illustration: Themistocles, who led the Greeks in the famous naval battle of Salamis, for some reason unknown to his troops, delayed the engagement. It was expected that he would avail himself of the early morning hours; and when what seemed the golden opportunity had gone in inactivity, there were many who suspected him of being a traitor to his country. But he was waiting for the land breeze, which he knew would begin to blow at nine o’clock in the morning. He proposed to harness the very winds to his war-galleys, and make them waft his boats to sea; and so save the strength of his men for the fighting. Thus, those who would have been only rowers became warriors. Happy is the servant of God who, waiting for power from on high, thus uses in the work of the Lord energies that would otherwise be wasted....

Introduction: By waiting (Hebrew qawah) the prophet means a longing for the fulfillment of the promise by faith, but it is a longing or looking for that is characterized by confident expectation. Waiting requires patience; but it is never indifferent. There is always a restlessness, an eagerness, a looking for something, an inner vigil. To hope for something is active; it is never out of mind. English Bibles alternate between translating with “hope” or “wait.” The two ideas are in the word. Here we would say the term describes the essence of confident, expectant faith. In the immediate context it describes the attitude and actions of those Israelites who believed the promises of the LORD and were ready to step out when God began to move. They believed the release was coming; they waited for it. They knew it would happen; they just did not know exactly when.

And when the release would come, they would escape with energy and quickness like eagles mounting up. But the road back to the land of promise would be long, and so it would be as if they would start quickly, slow to a run, and then to a walk. These expressions describe both the facts of embarking on a prolonged journey and the growing confidence that continued success would bring. They would never grow tired on their journey back; and they would not look back in fear. Rather, their confidence would grow as they went because their way back to Judah would be the fulfillment of the promised hope.

Likewise, believers living now at the end of the age in the expectation of the coming of the Lord have the same kind of confidence. To hope for the coming of the LORD does not imply that there is a chance it might not happen; rather, it implies an active faith in the truth of His coming. It will happen; they are expecting it soon. Those who wait for the LORD will not be entangled by this life, but will be focused on the spiritual preparation for His appearance. And as they live out their faith in the light of that hope, they will find their strength renewed for life’s difficulties along the way.

Our minds more than our bodies cause us to lose heart and give up. The young are not immune, because "even the youths shall faint and be weary" (v.30). God gives power to young and old who place their hope in Him. He stirs our spirits to run, walk, and soar for Him.

How to wait ON God?

The Scriptures speak much about waiting on the Lord. Few things are as hard to do as waiting on the Lord. It requires a lot of patience, faith, and submission. But waiting on the Lord has much wonderful compensation. Our verse speaks of four great compensations from waiting on the Lord. They include waiting ON God with ~

1. Energy: [“They shall renew their strength.”]

You must wait at the gas pump for the gas to fill your car’s gas tank, or you will not go far before your car runs out of energy. Likewise we need to wait spiritually if we want spiritual energy. We need to wait in His Word. Do not be in a hurry to get through your daily Bible reading. The same is true regarding prayer. The hymn says, “Take time to be holy,” and it takes time.

The Hebrew word commonly means to change, to alter; and then to revive, to renew, to cause to flourish again, as, e. g., a tree that has decayed and fallen down. Here it is evidently used in the sense of renewing, or causing to revive; to increase, and to restore that which is decayed. It means that the people of God who trust in him shall become strong in faith; able to contend with their spiritual foes, to gain the victory over their sins, and to discharge aright the duties, and to meet aright the trials of life. God gives them strength, if they seek him in the way of his appointment - a promise which has been verified in the experience of his people in every age.

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