Waiting can be painful. Think on this! In the Bible Joseph’s brothers were going to murder him. They were told to strip him of his coat (and gave it covered in blood from their Gerd to their father – Jacob.) Joseph was sold into slavery… still, The grace of God shone through. In his master’s house, he was placed in a position above all… The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. Yet, Joseph was tried – Portiphar’s wife looked to be wrong with Joseph; Joseph ran away leaving his coat. This she used to accuse him of wrong.
The African wife of Potiphar is very active for a woman who appears only in a chapter of the book of Genesis. She is the subject of many verbs and they are unusual ones for a female biblical character. For example, the verb she “lift up her eyes” at Joseph (39:7) means that she fixed her eyes on Joseph. An Akkadian parallel supports this interpretation which uses the same idiom to describe how Ishtar fixed her eyes on Gilgamesh.51 This use of sight also can be interpreted in the light of a corporate personality in the OT when a part can be used to represent the whole. Sight may represent a total person including the mind. In Genesis 39:7 Potiphar’s wife with her total person was actually obsessed with Joseph. Evidently, after eyeing Joseph, she could not bear it to speak like other woman in Genesis, therefore her words are unusual. She says “Lie with me” (39:7) with the preposition Schneider’s idea that because the narrator uses the preposition , means that she wants the relationship to be mutual is untenable. If the is imperative, it means it is a command and cannot be mutual. Her command is based on the African (Egyptian) tradition and culture. In Israelite and Egyptian cultures a slave girl is automatically sexually available to her master (Ex 21:9-11), although sex with boys was forbidden by Israelite moral code. Perhaps, the African wife of Potiphar tried to take advantage of the Egyptian culture by saying that a male slave should also be sexually available to her if she wishes, just like a female slave was available to have sex with her husband. That is probably why the woman commanded him. The word the woman used according to the narrator is which is qal imperative masculine singular and literally means “You lie with me.” This tradition probably gave her the guts to command a slave boy to lie with her. This is supported by the fact that she did not stop by commanding the slave boy to lie with her, she moved to action in order to force Joseph by grabbing him. Again, her action is unusual among the women in Genesis since most of them only spoke.
Once more she is the subject of the verb “says.” After she grabbed Joseph he runs away and leaves his coat with her. This is the beginning of “a blame game.” She calls to the men of the house and speak, “See, he hath brought in a Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me toiled with me, and I cried with a loud voice” (39:14), thus claiming attempted rape which is a total lie. Again, she is the subject of the verb . Day after day Joseph refuses her advancement when she spoke to him (39:10). Again she is the subject of the verb as she speaks to her husband. In 39:18
To recap the history of Joseph: When Joseph was seventeen years old, he shared with his brothers two dreams he had had: in the first dream, Joseph and his brothers gathered bundles of grain, of which those his brothers gathered, bowed to his own. Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” (Gen 37:9-10)
The key here is once Spoken; it IS, Amen.
We were all Created for a purpose. Have you started to live yours?
This can get very deep, and fast. God has Known from the beginning what will happen. The Story has been Written. Right quick; Mary – The Mother of Jesus was Created for a purpose but was asked if she would accept a biologically impossible event… God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth with a message for Mary, who was promised in marriage to Joseph. The angel told Mary that she would have a son, whom she was to name Jesus. The angel said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.” Mary asked how this could be as she was a virgin.
Wait on The LORD in prayer and thanksgiving
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word, “Wait”? Trying to get into a popular restaurant on a Friday night? Rush hour traffic? Important test results, perhaps?
When we think of waiting, we often think of passivity. Waiting is practically synonymous with doing nothing besides just sitting there fidgeting with our phones or staring at the ceiling expecting the clock’s second hand to keep on ticking.
Right now, most of the world is paralyzed as we all remain hunkered down in our homes waiting for this coronavirus plague to loosen its grip. Thus, waiting is a very relevant topic.
When the Bible speaks of waiting, it’s an entirely different thing than what we do after we take a number at the motor vehicle department. Biblical waiting is not a passive activity, but is demonstrated by active dependence upon and obedience to God. Thus, waiting upon God is a spiritual discipline that we should seek to practice in our lives. Here are nine ways we can practice biblical waiting.
1. ACKNOWLEDGING GOD’S SOVEREIGN CONTROL OF ALL THINGS
In order to get good at waiting, we first need to acknowledge that God is sovereign and nothing we are presently experiencing is outside of his eternal decree and direct oversight. Here’s what the wise king says in Ecclesiastes 7:13–14—
“Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”
Yes, even our present predicament is of the Lord. And we cannot straighten what God has made crooked. As much as we may want to “fix” this problem, we are first to wait upon the Lord by acknowledging his sovereign purpose in it. If it were up to us, we would make an even bigger mess of things. However, God will “fix” things in a much better way than we ever could. Sometimes the most difficult thing for us to do is to do nothing at all—nothing except wait upon the Lord.
2. COMING TO TERMS WITH OUR DEPENDENCE UPON GOD
Connected to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty is the co-reality of our complete dependence upon him for all things. It’s natural for us all to want to be individualists. We want the freedom and independence to do whatever we want to do, when, where, and how we want to do it. But the truth is, we are all dependent upon God for even our next heartbeat. As Job rightly confessed, it is the Lord who gives and takes away (Job 1:21). And as the Apostle Paul expressed in Romans 11:36, from God are all things.
While it is true that all of God’s creation belongs to God and is dependent upon him, it is also true that those who have been adopted in Christ have a special belonging and dependence upon God as a Father.
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:19
Our response to this reality should be to turn to the Lord in faith and wait upon him. We are needy creatures. We should not try to fix things on our own, but come to terms with our dependence upon our good and sovereign God Lord and trust him to help us.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
3. SEEKING SPIRITUAL STRENGTH FROM THE LORD
Our helplessness becomes especially obvious during times of calamity. In God alone do we find the strength to tread life’s troubled waters.
In the Psalms we find a repository of prayers to God, many of them ask God for help. For example, consider these passages and notice the relationship between waiting on God and finding strength in God:
“Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; Wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:14
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” Psalm 31:24
Finally, think about one of the most oft-quoted verses in all of the Bible:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:1-2
We do not suffer from a lack of anything we don’t truly need right now only because we have Christ as our Good Shepherd. Even when the supermarket runs out of our household essentials and the hospitals run out of beds or supplies, we can rest secure in Christ for our most essential need—a right relationship with our Creator. Let us seek him for spiritual strength.
4. BEING PATIENT AND QUIET
One thing this current pandemic has caused all of us to do is slow down. Whether we like it or not, we’ve been forced to hit pause on at least some of our normal, pre-coronavirus lives. Now there’s less street traffic, less air traffic, and less noise all around. Just look at Times Square in the city that never sleeps: For the first time since maybe ever, the place is almost a ghost town.
Even though we may live out that American spirit of busy industriousness, it is good for us to stop, sit still for a moment, and be quiet. This is a part of God-glorifying waiting.
“It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:26
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5
When we are still and silent we can best listen for God to speak to us through his Word. What is the Lord teaching us through this? Patience, perhaps? What is he teaching you?
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 130:5–6
Quiet patience is an important part of waiting, for it should drive us to hope in God.
5. REFRAINING FROM NEEDLESS FEAR AND WORRY
Fear can be a helpful response to dangerous situations. But it can also be something that overwhelms us and takes our eyes off of Christ. No matter our situation, however, Scripture shows us that a part of waiting upon God involves avoiding being controlled by fear and worry. The remedy to our fears is God himself.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah” Psalm 46:1-3
Here we see the importance that a proper view of God plays in our practical lives. We need to acknowledge God as he is—as the Scriptures speak of him and as our Confession summarizes in chapter 2. For God is “most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him…” (1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, 2.1).
Why wouldn’t we trust in a God like this?
Additionally, Jesus instructs us to avoid worrying about our lives because we have a heavenly Father who takes care of us—
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew 6:25-27
6. CONTINUING TO LEARN AND OBEY GOD’S COMMANDS
One way we can fight fear and worry is by immersing ourselves in God’s Word. This was the psalmist’s undertaking in Psalm 119; he found peace and comfort in what some might consider a curious place—the law of God.
“When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord. …Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.” Psalm 119:52, 54-55
When was the last time you or I took comfort in God’s ancient rules?
Are his statutes on our minds in our sojourning, our waiting?
When we lie in bed at night, do thoughts of God’s law fill our sleepy heads?
“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5
As we wait upon the Lord, we are to grow in knowledge of him and his commands for us. And we are to be diligent to seek him and apply his law to our lives. And why? So that we might stay close to God our Father and avoid drifting into error or patterns of disobedience.
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. …You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:14, 17-18
7. EXPECTING THE LORD TO SAVE
Another key side of waiting upon the Lord that we see in Scripture, especially throughout the Psalms, is the idea of expectancy. Waiting upon God means expecting to act. And how does the Lord act towards those he has set his eternal love upon? Savingly. Christ is our divine Rescuer, Savior, Deliverer. He rescues us from the wrath of God; he saves us from eternal condemnation; and he delivers us from the bondage of Satan and our own sin. This is of the nature of God: To save his people. Thus, when we find ourselves in difficult times, we should expect in faith that our God who has already delivered us from sin and wrath will also deliver us from our troubles—either in this life or through death and deliverance to eternal life.
Let us meditate on verses like these as we await the coming of the Lord’s deliverance:
“I wait for your salvation, O Lord.” Genesis 49:18
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2
“It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” Isaiah 25:9
“Do not say, ‘I will repay evil;’ wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” Proverbs 20:22
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5
8. SEEKING THE LORD THROUGH CONSTANT PRAYER
In Acts chapter 12 we find a reminder of the importance of prayer in difficult times. We’re told in verse 1 that King Herod “laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.” John’s brother James, one of the original 12 disciples, was killed by the sword. Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples and a major leader in the early church, was arrested and imprisoned.
And how did the members of the Jerusalem church respond to all of this distressing news?
Did they mourn? Probably.
Did they fear? Possibly.
But did they pray? Certainly, for in verse 5 we find them in “earnest prayer.”
And God heard these prayers. In verse 12 we see that after obtaining his freedom from the Jerusalem dungeon with the help of an angel, Peter heads to the house of John Mark. And what does he find there when he arrives? He finds many gathered together and pleading with God in prayer together.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
As we’ve seen already, our waiting should not be that of inaction. Instead, we should be actively praying for the Lord to bring deliverance. Remember: When the rest of the world is panicking, the Church should be praying.
9. LONGING FOR CHRIST’S FINAL RETURN
This world and everything in it is slowly dying. With every turn of the earth on its axis, all of creation groans in agony under the weight of the curse of the fall. And those of us who have experienced spiritual redemption long for the redemption of our bodies when we will actually behold with our own eyes Christ’s glory in heaven (Romans 8:18-23; 2 Corinthians 5:1-7).
Until then, we eagerly wait.
“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:11-13
There is a place being prepared for us, Jesus told his disciples in John 14:2-4. We simply need to wait until the day the Lord returns to take us all there together to be with him. What a glorious day that will be!
And dark times like these remind us that we wait, like a bride waits with longing expectation for her wedding day. Christ, our sweet bridegroom is coming, and he has promised to make all things new.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:1-5
And we pray:
LORD Heavenly Father, in my life Your will be done, Amen. Your Word is my dream, all You have placed in me is all I utilize to Your glory. In my life, Lord be glorified, Amen.