Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. -- Isaiah 30:18
Friday, April 24, 2015
I am waiting this morning, and I expect that, soon, I will be somewhat busy. Meanwhile, I continue on with what has become my theme for the week. I am sure I have read this verse dozens of times -- as many times as I have read through Isaiah 30 and pulled verses from it. Stopping to look at it and consider it, it is, as my old friend Herb might say, a powerful verse.
God waits. For what? To be gracious to us. In an overarching sense, in light of God’s work in human history, we can understand that the prophet is looking forward to the Cross where grace it brought to all in Christ. While God’s goodness, love, and mercy fall like rain upon all of humanity, everywhere and at all times, He waits, as well, to be gracious to each of us individually.
Why does He wait? There is seed time, and there is harvest time. There are seasons in our lives that are appropriate for divine intervention. There are other times, winter seasons, when God draws away, goes out of sight and underground. As a tree is not dead because it has lost its leaves and stands waiting for spring, so, even in our seasons of dormancy, the Lord, though silent and unseen, sustains us.
At other times, however, the Lord waits for us. Yesterday’s post referenced Isaiah 30:15 calling us to rest and to quietness. So long as we are trying by our own human, fleshly efforts to achieve success, to create our own security, and initialize our own versions of happiness, God waits. He waits for us to see the futility and the vanity in our fruitless exertions and to turn to Him in hope and faith.
I want to say that it should always be us waiting patiently, being long-suffering as we remain in a state of serene anticipation looking for the justice and judgment, the mercy and favor and blessings of the Lord. He should not have to wait on us to wear the old self out in toil and turmoil. But maybe that’s one way we put the old man down – work him to death. After all, the Lord told Adam how it was going to be: By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground (Genesis 3:19). It could be that the old man isn’t a bad field hand, so long as you beat him like a rented mule, keep him in his place, and don’t let him think he can run anything.