Wait Upon the Lord

Posted on 06/02/2013 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

*** There are no public prayer requests this week ***


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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KING OF KINGS

King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Glory! Hallelujah!
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Glory! Hallelujah!

Jesus, Prince of Peace
Glory! Hallelujah!
Jesus, Prince of Peace
Glory! Hallelujah!


INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES

Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take me in by the blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take the coal, touch my lips, here I am

Take me past the outer courts
into the holy place
Past the brazen altar
Lord, I want to see your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
and the priests who sing your praise
I hunger and thirst for your rightousness
and it's only found one place


TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE

To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb

Be blessing and glory
and honor and power forever
Be blessing and glory
and honor and power forever



*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Isaiah 40:31

"But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

What does it mean to "wait upon the Lord?" We've all heard that verse a million times. But if someone asked us if WE wait upon the Lord, what would we say? And if our answer was "yes," how would we respond if they asked us exactly what we do when we're waiting upon the Lord?

Psalm 37:7, 9 (NKJV)

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.

Sounds like waiting upon the Lord might be a good thing to do, don't you think? And this verse not only gives an amazing promise, that those who wait upon the Lord will inherit the earth, but it also gives a clue as to at least part of what "waiting on the Lord" might mean. Let's read the first and last sentences again:

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

"But those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth."

The last part repeats the first part in different words. "Evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait on the Lord..." And to what does that refer? "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

Do you rest in the Lord, or are you worried about what evil people are doing? Yes, we need to pray, we need to fall on our face before the Lord and beseech Him to have mercy and to deliver the innocent from the wicked; but there's a different between intercession and worry. And one frequently masquerades as the other.

Of course most of us know that gossip often disguises itself as prayer: "Brother, I need for you to pray for StacyAnne. Sister Waggletongue told me that Brother Looselips told her that Calliope told him that Stacy has been secretly eating puppies, and that she's posessed by the spirit of the Wicked Witch of the West who has come to seek revenge on Dorothy in the form of the Bride of Christ."

So we probably understand gossip disguised as prayer requests, but how about worry disguised as prayer? Well, let me ask you this: After you pray about a situation, do you feel a peace about it? Or do you go away still worried? Does it still steal your joy? Or have you placed it completely in God's hands and left it there? And are you trusting from your heart that God is good and that He will take care of the situation?

Now that's doesn't mean you can't pray about it again. I've heard people claim that if you pray more than once about something, that's because you are lacking faith. But that idea is just not in line with Scripture. Jesus told a parable about a widow who kept going back to an unjust judge and... Well let's just read it.

Luke 18:1-8 (NKJV)

1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
2 saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.
3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.'
4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man,
5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'"

6 Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said.
7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"


When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth. I could almost be persuaded to think that just maybe this widow's returning time after time to that judge was a picture of faith. Just suppose she had gone to the judge only once, and then had never returned. Would she have gotten justice? Doesn't sound like it. Of course God isn't unjust in any form or fashion, but there is power in returning to our Daddy God time after time, beseeching Him to execute justice upon the workers of iniquity. After all, He IS a just judge, and He is waiting for His representatives on earth to join with His will in prayer, praying through until the burden lifts, and then leaving it in God's hands instead of carrying it around with them as though God has not heard or is not capable of or willing to do something about it. And then, when the Spirit stirs their hearts about the situation once again, they immediate go to God in prayer.

"And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him."

So waiting upon the Lord includes not only resting in the Lord and waiting patiently for Him, but it also involves faith-filled persistence as we continue to bring the cause of justice before His throne. And then, when we have done so, we rest in Him, and let Him do things His way and in His time.


Psalm 123:2 (NKJV)

2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He has mercy on us.

Psalm 130:5 (NKJV)

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.

In times of trouble, who do we expect to help us? The government? Our employer? Our family? Our own efforts? Of course God can and does use all those things as He sees fit, but is our hope in the tools, or in the Master Builder who uses them to fix what has been broken? The government, your employer, your family, and even your own efforts can be used by the enemy or by our own flesh. And if anything truly good comes from any of those earthly things, then it is because they are, at that moment, in the hands of the Master, and it is He and He alone who has provided the answer to our prayers.

This type of waiting upon the Lord is a deep hoping in and dependence upon God and God alone. No one else can heal your body. No one else can bring peace into your home. No one else can deliver you from your addiction. No one else can set your feet solidly upon the Rock.

Isaiah 25:9 (NKJV)

9 And it will be said in that day:
"Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."

So in waiting upon the Lord, we rest in Him, we allow Him to move in His way and in His perfect time, we continue to take all our cares and cast them upon Him, casting and casting until there's no more left, and we fix our eyes upon Him, waiting for Him and Him alone as our one and only hope. Without Him, there is no other. His ways and times are all perfect. And He cares for you.


Okay. So what about the traditional idea of sitting quietly in the presence of God and just waiting on Him there? Well, I'm glad you asked, because that is a really good excercise, to abandon our busy schedules, forget about our pressing worries, and just sit quietly with God waiting for His voice, His touch, or, if He chooses, His silence.

People from many different religions practice this type of thing, and before you think I've become a heritic and am promoting the idea that there's more than one way to God, let me explain why this is so and what it means.

Take, for example, many of the dietary practices outlined in the Old Testament as Law. There are countless benefits to what they did, and many diseases they avoided, long before they had the knowledge we have now. So God outlined, in the form of the Law, ways for His people to keep from making themselves sick or even killing themselves, and from making themselves overall unhealthy. And guess what? If non-believers had followed those dietary laws, they would have gained the physical benefits as well. But, of course, we know that there are countless spiritual components of God's Law that go far beyond the physical alone.

Well, it's the same for prayer, and for waiting.

Tests have shown that the act of prayer itself, whether it's to the real or a false god, is good for you. It has effects similar to meditation, which has been proven to be extremely beneficial to your body, your mind, and your emotions. It can increase your IQ, strengthen your immune system, stabalize your emotions, and bring your blood pressure to where it should be.

So does this mean that if someone's prayer is answered, that means it's the direct hand of God? And does this mean that if someone experiences deep bliss during meditation, that means they have connected with God?

Well, Jesus said He is the only way to the Father. So no, someone without Jesus cannot connect with God through meditation or through any other means. Nevertheless, they can still experience the many other benefits associated with prayer and meditation regardless of whether they have any part in the highest purpose of such a practice.

But the point of all that is this: waiting on God has benefits that range from physical and emotional and mental health, to, for the born-again believer, a real interaction with the True and Living God.

You see, God didn't create just our spirits. God created not only our souls. God created everything from the spiritual to the physical and everything in between. And what He tells us to do in His word, will, more times than not, benefit us in every single way -- body, mind, emotions, soul, and spirit. So just remember that the next time you hear someone claim that people from any religion experiences the same things when they pray, or perform some sort of worship, or meditate. The truth is, no they don't. They benefit from the effects that God's carefully-designed spiritual practices have on body, mind, emotion, and soul, but their spirits remain dead.

And for those who live in deception, we should be like the widow, who keeps going back to God and petitioning Him to do whatever it takes to bring that person to a knowledge of the Truth.

After all, that's a form of waiting upon the Lord.

So whether you're pouring out your need before the Lord, then you're leaving it there and going about your day in God's peace; whether you're denying your fleshly urge to rush into something, and instead you wait for the deep peace that comes from God after patiently waiting for His answer; whether you're spending time in His presence every day through prayer, worship, Bible reading, meditation;

Wait upon the Lord. Still your worrying, rushing mind. Silence your doubt-filled, unbelieving thoughts. Replace your carnal, unscriptural words with "Thus saith the Lord." And be still, even in your movements; be quiet, even when you speak, sing, and pray; be at peace, as you stay your mind upon Jesus. Be still and know that He is God; He will be exalted among the nations, He will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10 NKJV)

We have worry and fear because we do not wait upon the Lord. Although hated and persecuted, we who follow after Jesus should be the happiest, most peace-filled people on earth, because we are called to wait upon the Lord.

"But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Teach us Lord, teach us Lord, to wait.


Let's go ahead and wrap up today's service with a time of prayer and ministry. And let's dedicate ourselves today to cultivate the lifestyle of waiting upon the Lord in all things.

You're invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front. If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message one of us; or if you're listening on the website or podcast, go to almcyberchurch.org, click Prayer Room or Pastors' Offices, and contact us there.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed; and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way to the room up the stairs to your left where we'll meet in a few minutes for a time of fellowship.

Come, and let's turn our hearts, minds, and lives to wait upon the Lord.