Summary: One of the hardest things to do is wait on God. But what if God is waiting on you? This message pivots off of Isaiah 30:18 and explores that possibilities and its implications for us.
During the last few months I have been waiting on the Lord for some things. And to be honest with you, I have felt frustrated that answers were not coming more quickly. I know God is omnipotent—so if the answer is not coming, it’s not because He’s unable to do it. The problem is not too big for Him to solve. He made my body; He can certainly heal my body. He created all the wealth of the world by His word; He can certainly meet my financial needs. My rent payment is not too big of a problem for Him to solve. My relationships are not too complex for Him to fix. “Is anything too hard for God?” Yet here I am waiting on Him for answers and wondering why the delay.
That’s when God took me to our text this morning in Isaiah 30.
As I read that chapter in the Amplified version, I suddenly saw something I have never seen there before. The pivotal verse is verse 18. Follow with me as I read it in the Amplified version.
“And therefore the Lord (earnestly) waits (expecting, looking, and longing) to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who (earnestly) wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him (for His victory; His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship)!”
When I read the first sentence in that verse, I realized the possibility that more than me waiting on God—God is waiting on me! God is waiting on me? “And therefore, (Richard), the Lord (earnestly) WAITS (expecting, looking, and longing) to be gracious to you….” That’s a different perspective. I am painfully aware that I’m waiting on something; not nearly so aware that God would be waiting. Why would He need to wait for anything? That’s the heart of this message. But first we must talk about how God waits.
We have many scriptural windows into how God waits. Look at His interaction with Jonah. God tells him to go to Nineveh; Jonah goes the other direction to Tarshish. He makes his own decision about where he will go. God actively waits on Jonah to come around. He sends a storm; then He sends a fish to swallow Jonah. In the midst of all that trouble, Jonah calls outi on the Lord; and the Lord delivers him. God is patiently bringing Jonah around. Jonah preaches to Nineveh and the city repents. Instead of rejoicing in their salvation, Jonah is upset with God. Now this is an all-powerful God who could have just said, “Jonah, I’ve had it with you. I am sick and tired of your attitude. We’re done.” But what does God do? He reasons with Jonah. In fact, that book ends with God waiting on Jonah to come around.
When God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6, He emphasized His own willingness to wait. “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth….” (KJV). Instead of the word longsuffering, most versions say, “slow to anger.” Where would we be today, if God was not longsuffering? Do we have any Jonah’s in the house?