One of the hardest tests we have is for patience to wait on God and then have courage to accept when things don’t go the way we’d like. This is the 3rd month of sheltering in place, wearing masks, and social distancing because of the coronavirus. Waiting is hard but waiting is good for us. Waiting builds patience, transforms our character, and is a way to rub off rough spots it builds. Waiting builds intimacy and dependence on God. During this time, it’s not all about us but about God’s timing. Waiting tests faith and is meant to increase our gratitude. Waiting reminds us that God is in charge and we need to let go of things we can’t control. God is in control of all of that is going on. The psalmist said to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him. There’s a difference in how we wait if we’re waiting patiently.
Psalm 37:7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him…
Patiently means bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaining, without losing our temper or being angry, an ability of willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. It is quiet, steady, persistent, even tempered, and diligent. God wants us to wait patiently – that’s our job. When God says wait, we can only control 2 things: 1. how we wait, 2. who we become while we’re waiting. Impatience contributes to feeling anxiety and fear. Impatience is lacking endurance in pain, suffering, or delay; an eagerness for change or something to happen, restlessness, irritation, intolerance, anger, being irrational. God wants us to learn to be patient regardless of the situation. If we view patience as a chore, we aren’t giving God the glory he deserves. Examples of waiting are throughout the Bible. Simeon was 1 of the 72 who produced the Septugint Bible, completed 132 years before Christ’s birth. He was troubled by Isaiah’s prophecy, but an angel came and said he wouldn’t see death until he saw the child born of a Virgin the messiah.
Isaiah 7:14…Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
If Simeon started translating 132 years before Christ at 40 years old, he could have been 172 years old. He must have been tired but waited and kept doing what God wanted. He was confident Jesus was the Christ child and prophesied of Jesus’ life. We’ve only been waiting 3 months but Simeon waited over a 100 years. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac.
Luke 2:25-26…Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed…that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Jesus asked the disciples to wait for the promise of the father’s. He didn’t say how long they’d have to wait. Many times God doesn’t tell us how long we’re going to wait. He just says wait. It’s important while we wait that our attitude glorifies God and helps others to serve God. The disciples asked if Jesus would restore the kingdom. He said it wasn’t for them to know the times and seasons God put in his own power. It’s not for us to know those times and seasons either but we like to know the beginning to the end. God has his own time and plan we need to just be willing to follow his plan.
Acts 1:4-8 And, being assembled together…commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith…ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said …It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me…unto the uttermost part of the earth.
There were a 120 people who continued together in prayer and waited until the day of pentecost (about 10 days). We don’t read of them complaining or finding fault. They were all with one accord in one place and tarried as Jesus asked. They were patiently waiting. There are 15 different nations and people heard in their own language. The power of the Holy Spirit changes hearts and lives. They would not have received the Holy Spirit if they weren’t where Jesus said to wait. We have to wait when Jesus says wait, as with the coronavirus. God wants us to draw close to him, to reach out to others, send cards or make calls to encourage others. It isn’t all about us, but about the body of Christ and being in unity.
Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…
Acts 2:1-4 And…Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And…a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house…And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire…upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:6…multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Few of us like to wait because it reminds us that we’re not in control of the situation – waiting for traffic, at the store, to fall asleep, for emails, for Amazon to deliver packages. It’s good for us to wait. If God acted every time we cried to him, we would be in control. God is in control and wants us to have confidence in waiting for his time.
The Israelites didn’t wait for God’s counsel. They wanted to do their own thing – lusted exceedingly and tempted God. They murmured and complained about what God gave them: it’s too hard, I don’t like this food, etc. They weren’t thankful. God gave their request but sent leanness in their soul. All of them, except Joshua and Caleb, died in the wilderness because they wouldn’t wait on God. We have to be willing to wait with a good attitude no matter however long God has us to wait.
Psalm 106:14-15 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
Jesus said in the end people would be eating, drinking, doing their own thing, and having no concern about things of God. He wants us to draw closer during this time, not farther away from him.
Matthew 24:36-39 But of that day and hour knoweth no man…But as the days of Noe were, so shall…coming of the Son of man be. For…they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage…until the flood…took them all away…
God waited in Noah’s time. God has grieved in is grieved to day with things that are going on. We need to stay close to God. God was waiting and trying to get through to the people so they would turn to him.
I Peter 3:20…the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few…were saved…
Genesis 6:3…My spirit shall not always strive with man, for…he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Genesis 6:5-6 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man…and it grieved him at his heart.
God gave Noah a huge task to make an ark. The ark was 450 feet long by 45 feet wide and 3 stories tall. They had to get logs at the mountains, bring them down, saw them into boards, extract pitch from trees, and then cover the inside and outside with pitch. Noah started at 500 years old and finish at 600 years old. He had to have a lot of patience. Noah did all God said during the 100 years. He preached righteousness, repentance and to turn to God. No one listened.
Genesis 6:13-14 And God said…The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them… I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make…pitch it within and without…
Genesis 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Noah had his wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters-in-law in the ark along with all the animals that went in the ark.
Genesis 7:1-2…Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous…Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
Noah was not impatient. He and his family waited in the ark for 7 days before anything happened, then it rained 40 days and 40 nights. The water covered the earth for 5 months. In the 7th month the ark rested on top of the mountains. At 10 months they finally saw the earth. They had a lot of waiting. When God asks us to wait, he has a purpose and plan. When Noah finally removed the top of the ark, maybe he was thinking about getting out on dry ground – but he still had a wait. They spent over a year waiting. How are we doing waiting? God wants us to wait with a good attitude and draw near him.
Genesis 7:24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
Genesis 8:4-5 And the ark rested in the seventh month…upon the mountains of Ararat…tops of the mountains seen.
Genesis 8:13-14…six hundredth and first year, in the first month…Noah removed the covering of the ark…ground was dry…
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)