* When it’s hard waiting
Occasionally Noah would send a bird out to test the earth and see if it was dry. But Noah didn’t get out of the boat until God told him to. He was waiting for God’s timing. God knew that even though the water was gone, the earth was not dry enough for Noah and his family to venture out. What patience Noah showed, especially after spending an entire year inside his boat! We, like Noah, must trust God to give us patience during those difficult times when we must wait. (NLT)
Genesis 8:6-16 – After another forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the boat and released a raven that flew back and forth until the earth was dry. Then he sent out a dove to see if it could find dry ground. But the dove found no place to land because the water was still too high. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. Seven days later, Noah released the dove again. This time, toward evening, the bird returned to him with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Noah now knew that the water was almost gone. A week later, he released the dove again, and this time it did not come back.
Finally, when Noah was 601 years old, ten and a half months after the flood began, Noah lifted back the cover to look. The water was drying up. Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry! Then God said to Noah, “Leave the boat, all of you.”
* What is worth waiting for?
People often wonder if working a long time for something they desire is worth it. Jacob worked seven years to marry Rachel. After being tricked, he agreed to work seven more years for her (although he did get to marry Rachel shortly after he married Leah)! The most important goals and desires are worth working and waiting for. Movies and television have created the illusion that people have to wait only about an hour to solve their problems or get what they want. Don’t be trapped into thinking the same is true in real life. Patience is hardest when we need it the most, but it is the key to achieving our goals. (NLT)
Genesis 29:20-28 – So Jacob spent the next seven years working to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my contract,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so we can be married.”
So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood to celebrate with Jacob at a wedding feast. That night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. And Laban gave Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.
But when Jacob woke up in the morning–it was Leah! “What sort of trick is this?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel. What do you mean by this trickery?” “It’s not our custom to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. “Wait until the bridal week is over, and you can have Rachel, too–that is, if you promise to work another seven years for me.” So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.
* – David knew from experience what it meant to wait for the Lord. He had been anointed king at age 16 but didn’t become king until he was 30. During the interim, he was chased through the wilderness by jealous King Saul. David had to wait on God for the fulfillment of his promise to reign. Later, after becoming king, he was chased by his rebellious son, Absalom.
Waiting for God is not easy. Often it seems that he isn’t answering our prayers or doesn’t understand the urgency of our situation. That kind of thinking implies that God is not in control or is not fair. But God is worth waiting for Lamentations 3:24-26 calls us to hope in and wait for the Lord because often God uses times of waiting to refresh, renew, and teach us. Make good use of your waiting times by discovering what God may be trying to teach you in them. (NLT)
Psalm 27:14 – Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Lamentations 3:24-26 – I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.
* Waiting sometimes a part of God’s plan
When Saul asked David to be in his service, he obviously did not know that David had been secretly anointed king. Saul’s invitation presented an excellent opportunity for the young man and future king to gain firsthand information about leading a nation (“David went back and forth between working for Saul and helping his father”).
Sometimes our plans–even the ones we think God has approved–have to be put on hold indefinitely. Like David, we can use this waiting time profitably. We can choose to learn and grow in our present circumstances, whatever they may be. (NLT)
1 Samuel 16:19-21 – So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the shepherd.” Jesse responded by sending David to Saul, along with a young goat and a donkey loaded down with food and wine. So David went to Saul and served him. Saul liked David very much, and David became one of Saul’s armor bearers.
* Benefits of waiting on God
Waiting for God to help us is not easy, but David received four benefits from waiting: God (1) lifted him out of his despair, (2) set his feet on solid ground, (3) steadied him as he walked, and (4) put a new song of praise in his mouth. Often blessings cannot be received unless we go through the trial of waiting. (NLT)
Psalm 40:1-3 – I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new son to sin, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.
* How to wait for Christ’s return
Jesus asks us to spend the time of waiting taking care of his people and doing his work here on earth, both within the church and outside it. This is the best way to prepare for Christ’s return. (NLT)
Matthew 24:45-47 – [Jesus said] “Who is a faithful, sensible servant, to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his household and feeding his family? If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I assure you; the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.”
* – Some people in the Thessalonian church were falsely teaching that because Christ would return any day, people should set aside their responsibilities, quit work, do no future planning, and just wait for the Lord. But their lack of activity only led them into sin. They became a burden to the church, which was supporting them; they wasted time that could have been used for helping others; and they became meddlers. These church members may have thought that they were being more spiritual by not working, but Paul tells them to be responsible and get back to work. Being ready for Christ means obeying him in every area of life. Because we know that Christ is coming, we must live in such a way that our faith and our daily practice will please him when he arrives. (NLT)
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 – And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from any Christian who lives in idleness and doesn’t follow the tradition of hard work we gave you. For you know that you ought to follow our example. We were never lazy when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule” “Whoever does not work should not eat.”
Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people’s business. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to such people–no, we command them: Settle down and get to work. Earn your own living. And I say to the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.
Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but speak to them as you would to a Christian who needs to be warned.
* God’s love is waiting for your response
In the two preceding stories, the seeker actively looked for the coin and the sheep, which could not return by themselves. In this story, the father watched and waited. He was dealing with a human being with a will of his own, but he was ready to greet his son if he returned. In the same way, God’s love is constant and patient and welcoming. He will search for us and give us opportunities to respond, but he will not force us to come to him. Like the father in this story, God waits patiently for us to come to our senses. (NLT)
Luke 15:20 – [Jesus said] “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”
* What you can do while waiting
This was the first church business meeting. The small group of 11 had already grown to more than 120. The main order of business was to appoint a new disciple, or apostle, as the 11 were now called. While the apostles waited, they were doing what they could–praying, seeking God’s guidance, and getting organized. Waiting for God to work does not mean sitting around doing nothing. We must do what we can, while we can, as long as we don’t run ahead of God. (NLT)
Acts 1:15-26 – During this time, on a day when about 120 believers were present, Peter stood up and address them as follows: “Brothers, it was necessary for the Scriptures to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided the Temple police to arrest Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us, chosen to share in the ministry with us.”
(Judas bought a field with the money he received for his treachery, and falling there, he burst open, spilling out his intestines. The news of his death spread rapidly among all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood.”)
Peter continued, “This was predicted in the book of Psalms where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ And again, ‘Let his position be given to someone else.’
“So now we must choose another man to take Judas’s place. It must be someone who has been with us all the time that we were with the Lord Jesus
* Waiting for God’s timing
God may have seemed slow to these believers as they faced persecution every day and longed to be delivered. But God is not slow, he just is not on our timetable. Jesus is waiting so that more sinners will repent and turn to him. We must not sit and wait for Christ to return, but we should realize that time is short and we have important work to do. Be ready to meet Christ any time, even today; yet plan your course of service as though he may not return for many years. (NLT)
2 Peter 3:8-9 – But you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.
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