Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on God

NoHo Arts District by Chris Yarzab
NoHo Arts District, a photo by Chris Yarzab on Flickr.

1. Waiting (Gen. 16:1a)
Abraham was now eighty-five years old. He had been walking with the Lord for ten years and had learned some valuable lessons about faith. God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child but had not told them when the child would be born. It was a period of waiting, and most people don’t like to wait. But it is through “faith and patience [that we] inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12).

God has a perfect timetable for all that He wants to do. After all, this event was not the birth of just another baby: It was part of God’s great plan of salvation for the whole world. However, as Sarah waited for something to happen, she became impatient.

Why did God wait so long? He wanted Abraham and Sarah to be physically “as good as dead” (Heb. 11:12) so that God alone would get the glory. At age eighty-five, Abraham was still virile enough to father a child by Hagar; so the time for the miracle baby had not yet arrived. Whatever is truly done by faith is done for the glory of God (Rom. 4:20) and not for the praise of man.

A willingness to wait on the Lord is another evidence that you are walking by faith. “He that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa. 28:16). Paul quoted this verse in Romans 10:11 and amplified its meaning: “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” (The same Holy Spirit inspired both Isaiah and Paul, and He has the right to make these changes.) Whenever we stop trusting God, we start to “make haste” in the wrong direction and we end up being ashamed.

A third evidence of faith is that you are acting on the author- ity of God’s Word. “So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). You can act by faith, and know that God will bless, if you are obeying what He says in His Word. Hebrews 11 records the mighty acts of ordinary men and women who dared to believe God’s promises and obey His commandments.

Finally, whenever you act by faith, God will give joy and peace in your life. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:13). Conflict may surround you, but you will have God’s peace and joy within you.

These, then, are the evidences of true biblical faith: (1) you are willing to wait; (2) you are concerned only for the glory of God; (3) you are obeying God’s Word; and (4) you have God’s joy and peace within. While Abraham and Sarah were waiting, God was increasing their faith and patience and building character (James 1:1–4). Then something happened that put Abraham and Sarah on a painful detour.

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be obedient (53–54). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.