Volume. XXVIII, No. 30
Sunday, 26 January 2014


From The Pastors Heart: Wait for God


As you are aware, this years church theme is waiting for God. It will be appropriate for us to consider the phrase a bit more in order to fully grasp the spiritual implications of waiting for God. As usual, the English dictionary will be a good source of information, which will be our starting point. First, let us begin with Noah Websters 1828 English Dictionary.

(1) It begins by saying that the sense [of the word] is to stop, or to continue. It is a very interesting and mind-stirring description of the word. It is because, in general, wait implies that there are delays, unfulfilled expectations, and certain degrees of disappointments because of them. However, the first impression we get from the word description is that wait is a word connecting the present with the future. The sense of the word is both to stop (at the present moment) and to continue (in present and future movements). We often think that Gods exhortation for us to wait is a negative answer to our prayers. However, it must not be true. Rather, it is positive and futuristic.

(2) The first definition of wait is to stay or rest in expectation; to stop or remain stationary, till the arrival of some person or event. Thus we say, I went to the place of meeting, and there waited an hour for the moderator or chairman. I will go to the hotel, and there wait till you come. We will wait for the mail. Hence we find two implications: (a) a moment of pause and (b) certainty of future events. When we wait for God, there is a moment of pause because of the certainty of future events, though they may not happen at this present moment. Psalmists prayers are probably good examples in this respect. For example, Psalm 25:3 says, Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. It is one of Davids psalms. He discloses his current situation in verse 2 by saying, O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. He is desolate and afflicted (verse 16). His heart is troubled and in distress (verse 17). He suffers with pain (verse 18). His enemies are many, and they hate him greatly (verse 19). Finally, he cries out to God, deliver me, (verse 20). David is facing a moment of pause on his part, which is a sign of his troubles and inability to overcome them by his own might alone. Then, he is asking God to deliver him with a sure confidence in His deliverance, which is very certain in the future.

Someone asked me if there is any difference between wait on and wait for in the Bible. In English there are some differences between them because waiting on has a connotation of serving or attending. However, in these passages we are dealing with the wait for concept, we do not see any difference between them. Let us taste a bit of it by looking at Psalm 25:3. The KJV says wait on thee [God], while the ESV and the NAS say wait for. It means that probably the translators themselves did not see any difference between them at least in this context. In other words, they saw them as synonyms. When I checked both Hebrew and Greek Bibles, I also noticed that there is a verb (wait) but without a preposition either for or on. It indicates that it is the translators who have put such prepositions according to their own choices. I also must say that the Hebrew words for wait in Psalm 25:3 and Isaiah 30:18 are different (though both words are translated by same Greek word), and there is a preposition after wait in Isaiah passage. We find a similar case in Isaiah 40:31, But they that wait upon [for in the ESV and NAS] 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.

I explained that waiting implies a moment of pause. What does this mean? What does it mean to pause? Or how can we pause? Negatively speaking, it does not mean that we do not do anything. It does not refer to no-movement whatsoever. Rather, there are ample examples that it refers to a time of very active spiritual journey, confession of sins and faith, consecration of life, petitions to God, and praises to Him. If we return to Psalm 25, we may find some clear ideas. David said to the Lord teach me thy paths (verse 4), remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions (verse 7), Good and upright is the LORD (verse 8), for thy names sake . . . pardon mine iniquity (verse 11), Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord (verse 15), and O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee (verse 20). As we can see, waiting in the moment of pause is an experience for soul-searching and spiritual endeavors.

(3) The next meaning of wait is to rest in expectation and patience. I think that it is related to our attitude, both internal and external. When we talk about wait, we cannot miss the point that there is an element of hope. As the dictionary explains, it is about expectation. If something is not expected, why do we wait? If we wait in expectation, arent we hopeful? As soon as we say that waiting is the same as resting in expectation or hope, the dark cloud hanging over the negative connotation of wait is completely removed, and a positive and bright side of waiting opens up to us. To wait is to hope. It is the inner attitude of a waiting person. Conditions or situations in which we have to wait for help may not be pleasant and even painful, but waiting for God supplies our needed strength and power to sustain us. Waiting is a manifestation of hope. Then waiting is an act of faith, and it is based upon hope in God. Such a sense of hope in waiting enables us to be patient in times of waiting. When a man loses hope in times of troubles, he fails to wait for God, and his internal and external attitudes become pessimistic and eventually unfaithful to God. We may think of Abraham. He has been hailed as a father of our faith. There was a time when he felt troubled. He did not receive an heir promised by God Himself. When God reaffirmed him of the birth of his son, what did he do? Genesis 17:17 says, Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? There is no indication of hope or expectation of the fulfillment of Gods promise in Abrahams heart. We find the same reaction from Sarah in Genesis 18:12, Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? There is no degree of expectation in their hearts for receiving a son from God. Waiting without expectation is not a biblical waiting, but a hopeless dreaming.

Second, waiting for God is the very act of believing in Him. This is because of two elements implied in waiting: our inability to provide answers to lifes issues and problems and uncertainty of the duration of waiting time. There is an indication behind an act of waiting for God that only God is able to provide us with solutions. This very thought requires us to have faith in Him. Though it is certain that God will work for His glory through our present conditions and situations, it is not certain to us when He will do so. This uncertainty of the duration of time for waiting also requires us to believe in Him. When the very act of waiting fades, the manifestation of faith also dims. We saw such a case from Abraham and Sarah. The Lord asked in Genesis 18:13-14, . . . Wherefore did Sarah laugh . . . Is any thing too hard for the LORD? Biblical hope/waiting is not a hopeful dream but a sure expectation. It is my earnest prayer that all of us will endeavor to wait for God, because blessed are all they that wait for Him.

Your Pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Dn Colin Gan. Next Lords Day: Bro Edwin DMello
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm. Good Bibles (English & Mandarin) available.
*Sanctuary Flowers Roster: Serve the Lord with gladness - There are still dates available.
*Church activities - Maranatha NBS group starts on Sat, 15 Feb.
*Todays fellowship lunch is catered. Adult $5. Child under 5 years old FREE.
*Bro Ming Sheng Lim leaves on Tuesday for further medical training in Newcastle.
*Please note: Bible Study every Wed. Starts at 7:30 pm and finishes at 8:40 pm. From 12 Feb, Rev Ed Paauwe will conduct How to interpret the Bible for 10 weeks. All are encouraged to come to study Gods Word.
*Specials thanks to those who have come forward to serve the Lord in the Transport Ministry.

Prayer Items
1. Health & Gods healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (Spore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (Spore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicias father - Spore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gans father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Ruth Ngoma, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi & Sis Mavis Wongs mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wongs father); Mrs Maggie DMello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
2. Special Prayer: Bro Sis Nita Chongs cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing) & Sis Iris Surmans brother (healing).
3. Gods comfort & strength: Sis Julie Tan & family, & relatives; Mrs Helen Jenkins & family.
4. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.
5. Cambodia Missions - Rev Moses Hahn & Ministry; Preacher Zhang & Ministry (Sihanoukville).
6. New Life BPC (London) - Gods encouragement & guidance; Congregation to remain stedfast in the faith; Rev Colin Wongs visa application to be approved.
7. Ministry in Hope BPC - Gods guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng.
8. Journey mercies: Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo/Adl) & Ming Sheng Lim (Newcastle); Sisters Jillian Chia, Michelle Lee (Adl), Alice Lee (Melb/Adl) & Amy Wong (Pinnaroo/Adl); & others travelling.
9. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
10. Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Yashu Qin (Adl) & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for stable jobs.
11. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Kerrie Lam & Tabitha Tan.
12. Final weeks of pregnancy: Sis Monica Tan - safe delivery & health.
13. Recovery & strength: Sis Susan Weng; Development & health: Caleb Weng.
14. Bro Ming Sheng Lim - further medical training in Newcastle. Gods guidance to a Bible-believing church & in his spiritual life.

Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Mrs Lehia Paauwe (Penang/Adl); Bro Sung Mas parents (S Korea), sister & family (JPN); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (Adl); Sisters Xandrea Cai, Yvone Kam & Buey Yeo (Spore), Xiao Hui Chye (KL), Clara Sim & Amy Wong (Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities in past week.
3. Gods daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
4. Visitors & new worshippers.
5. 41st Anniversary Thanksgiving - Calvary (Jurong) BPC (Spore) on 5 Jan 2014.

 

 

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