In the NIV Bible, the command to wait is listed 85 times. Here are a few of those examples.:.
- Noah walked faithfully with God for 500+ years before he had children; spent 120 years waiting for the flood; then spent 377 days waiting to step out on dry ground, then God made a covenant with him. Half of his life happened after the flood.
- Joseph waited 13 Years for God’s promise.
- Abraham waited 25 years for a son. Even tried doing it his way but that only led to more stress in his life. When he finally had the son God promised, he was asked to sacrifice him to God.
- Jacob waited 14 years for the wife he wanted. He was deceived after working 7 years for the wife he wanted and had to work another 7 years to get the wife he wanted.
- Moses waited several years as a shepherd before God made him a leader. Then 40 more years before he got to see the Promised Land, that he wasn’t able to enter because of sin he had committed.
What did these people have in common?
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could ev
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob en raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. Hebrews 11:7-28 (NIV)
All of these people developed faith in God as they waited for God’s promise.
The Psalmist tells us to be still and wait patiently for him.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7(NIV).
Waiting is not easy. We see this frequently in the old Testament as people tried to force God’s promises without waiting for God’s appointed time. In fact, the writer of Romans, says that we will ‘Groan inwardly as we wait patiently.’
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8 22-25(NIV)
The book of Jude tells about people scoffing you and trying to ‘divide you’ (to separate you from your belief in God.) as you wait. Jude tells us to build our faith and pray in the Holy Spirit so the scoffers will not separate you from God.
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:17-21(NIV)
When God was talking to the prophet Zephaniah about the coming judgment for his wayward children, God said to him “Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day I will stand up to testify…” We may not know why God wants us to wait but we do know that the day is coming when we will have to give an account of what we did while waiting on God.
My questions to you: How are you doing at waiting? Are you doing it patiently or are you trying to force God to act?