Volume. XXIX, No. 23
Sunday, 07 December 2014


From the Pastors Heart: Wait for God (Part 14)


Isaiah 8:17, “And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” 

 

This particular waiting upon the Lord implies that there are many complexities in waiting on God in terms of the time and reason for waiting on God and the person who is waiting.  In order to understand this complexity, we need to understand the historical and spiritual background of the given passage, Isaiah 8. 

 

Historical background of Isaiah 8

 

First, this chapter is uniquely important between chapters 7 and 9.  It is because chapter 7 is famous with verse 14, which says, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” and chapter 9 with verse 6 which says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  These two verses are the most significant messianic prophecies we have known from the Scriptures.  Chapter 8, our study chapter, is between these two spiritually charged chapters.

 

Second, this chapter is a part of the first part of the book of Isaiah (chapters 1-39).  It has been a well known fact that the book of Isaiah is easily divided into two parts (1-39 and 40-66).  The first part basically deals with Israel’s sin and God’s judgment oracles, while the second part is of the promises of Israel’s future restoration.  The verse we are studying is a part of the sin and judgment section.  Therefore, waiting on God in 8:17 is related to historical circumstances in which Israel suffered.

 

Third, more specifically, Isaiah 7:1 offers us a clear historical event related to the study passage: “And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.”  There was an unholy alliance between Syria and northern kingdom of Israel against Judah, whose king was Ahaz.  God gave a specific and assuring message to the king through the prophet Isaiah in 7:4 and 7, “And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. . . . 7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.”  The Lord even offered him signs as a token of the certainty of the promise.  This message from the Lord was a promise of His help and protection.  However, King Ahaz was not a man of faith.  As a result, there is a pronouncement of God’s judgment in 7:17, “The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.” 

 

Fourth, a judgment of God was impending against Judah.  The Lord will deal with Syria and Israel that will result in their defeats and destructions.  However, their disappearance from the horizon did not mean that Judah was safe.  Because of her unbelief and rebellion against God, He Himself would bring judgments upon them.   The enemy that Judah now had to face was God Himself!  God would bring the Assyrians as His instrument to punish Judah, and the severity of it would be incomparable.  God was going to use Assyria, as a barber uses a razor, to completely humiliate her as in 7:20.  He continually spoke of the coming judgment in chapter 8.  8:13 is the heartbeat of the warnings God gave to Judah, which says, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”  God was the One they had to fear. 

 

Time(s) to wait on God

 

Isaiah says in 8:17 that God hid His face from the house of Judah.  There are a few implications in the description that God hid His face from His people.  (1) It is an expression of God’s displeasure over His people.  (2) It also means that God did not show His favor to them at this particular time.  (3) It is not an expression of God’s negligence of His people.  In His displeasure, He showed Himself differently, not as a benefactor but as a divine Judge.  Therefore, the times when God hides His face from His people are the times of His divine punishment, if not at least His testing times.   

 

Reason(s) to wait on God

 

What should the people of God do when God does not deal with them favorably or hides His face from them?  Isaiah says in 8:13-14 that they should sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself, because He is the sanctuary they need.  “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself” is translated as “But the LORD of hosts, him you shall regard as holy” (ESV), “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy” (NAS), and “The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy” (NIV).  When the people of God are in danger and threatened, what they need is safety.  Where can they find such a safe place?  In the face of dangers from men, God is their sanctuary.  In the face of God’s divine judgment, where should they go to?  It is also God who is their sanctuary.  He is the help, safety, and security they need.  God is our refuge and sanctuary.  That’s why we must wait on Him.

 

 

Person(s) to wait on God

Most of the times we wait on God because of our personal needs.  There are times when our needs are immediate but have not been met.  There are times when we are facing calamities because of various reasons, in which we cannot but turn to God.  However, if we read Isaiah 8:17 carefully, we will see a bigger picture on this matter.  It is clearly Isaiah who is waiting on God in this verse.  However, if we have to find a righteous man in the land of unbelieving Judah, it was Isaiah.  Why did he have to be the one waiting on God?  It is not necessarily because of his personal needs (though in his spiritual life he wanted to see a better and righteous Judah, which could be understood as personal needs).  He was waiting on God on behalf of his people, Judah.  We may say that Isaiah walked in the glory of His countenance, but Judah did not.  God hid His face from her.  Though Isaiah’s fellowship with the Lord was continued, Judah had lost that connection because of her sins.  They did not wait on God.  If they had waited on Him, they would not suffer His judgment.  For their sake, Isaiah waited on Him.  This thought leads us to consider our spiritual ministry.  If we find a brother or sister whose spiritual walk is not in the light, we ought to wait on God for him/her.  If we find any ministry in our congregation misguided and misled and requires corrections and supplements, we ought to wait on God for it.  If we know that God is displeased with anything and anyone, we are the ones who should wait on God.  It is a kind of intercessory ministry.  The Lord Jesus in glory is interceding for us.  Maybe waiting on God for someone or something is a spiritual ministry we must engage ourselves with.  We may wait on God for our nation, government, leaders, churches, missionaries, and the list may be endless.

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Raphael Ng.

*Special thanks and appreciation to Sisters Sally Teng & Corinne Teng; organisers, helpers & participants for the Mini-Christmas Concert; for their hard work, dedication and service to the Lord.

*Christmas gifts (Holy Bible, books, music CDs) & inexpensive cards available at the Church Bookstore.

*Church Service roster for Jan - Mar QTR is now being prepared. Please let Bro Lucas Yiew know of your availability ASAP.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Rev Alfred & Sis Ruth Ngoma & family (Zambia); Grandpa Ki (Adl); Bros Danny Chu (Brisbane), Tim Essel (Melb) & Pirun Pech (USA); &  Sisters Mariam Atijatuporn & Jayden (Thailand), Kai Jun Chua, Yan Mae Kang (S’pore) & Michelle Lee (Melb); & others arriving safely at their destinations.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Mini-Christmas Concert: organisers, helpers, participants and visitors.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law, Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore) & Jason Teng; Sisters Margaret Hooper, Myung Ki, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Margaret Pearson, Christabelle Selvanayagam, Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Sisters Yvone Kam (injury) & May Zhang (Post-surgery).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. Chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau (Canberra).

5. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

6. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry; Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).

7. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry.

8. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok - UK visa application.

9. Providence B-P Church, Ingle Farm - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

10. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

11. Journey mercies: Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo & Audrey (USA); Bro Boong Atijatuporn (Thailand); Sisters Shu Ai Cho & Michelle Lee (Adl); & others travelling.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Believers under persecution in Islamic & Communist countries.

14. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063