Volume. XXIX, No. 29
Sunday, 18 January 2015


From the Pastors Heart: Wait on God (Part 17)


Isaiah 26:8-9, “Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. 9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”

 

Isaiah 30:18, “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.”

 

We believe in God.  This is a solemn statement of our faith.  This statement of faith also needs to be properly defined by explaining who this God in whom we believe is.  Oxford Dictionary says that God is “the creator and ruler of the universe, source of all moral authority, and supreme being.”  Even if a person does not believe in the God of the Bible, he will say that a “god is a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes,” when he speaks of god, deity, or religion.  A difficulty we find when we talk about God comes from the very notion that God is the supreme being and the source of everything including moral authority.  We simply do not have capacities to understand the source of our beings.  We talk about God as the supreme being, but we cannot grasp what it means.  When Noah Webster says that God is “eternal and infinite spirit,” again we feel like striking at a solid rock.  We simply do not know what it means to be eternal and infinite because we are mortal and finite beings.  Even when we read the scriptures, it is hard for us to grasp the concept of God with just a couple of words.  Thus, when the scholars were gathered and discussed such important doctrinal matters, they also struggled and carefully presented the summarized thoughts on various subjects including the doctrine of God.  Their definition or description of God is basically a list of His attributes.  Westminster Confession of Faith 2.1 says of God as following: “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, 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; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments; hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.”  Every one of these attributes requires our careful study. 

 

The focus of this article will be given to a contrast found within God’s attributes.  This contrast is also harmonious with God’s overall attributes, which sounds a bit complicated.  The confession says that God is “most loving, gracious, merciful…abundant in goodness...forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin.”  In contrast, it also says that God is terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by means clear the guilty.”  There are some scripture references echoing both of God’s attributes.  Psalm 89:14 says, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”  Psalm 101:1, “I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.”  Isaiah 16:5, “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.”  Isaiah 30:18, “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.”  All these verses say that God is the God of both mercy and judgment.  Mercy and judgment are not separated in God but both are dealt together in Him.  God delivered Noah and his family, while judging the whole world by flood.  He delivered the children of Israel, while judging the Egyptians.  There many stories about the conquest of the Promised Land.  They talk about God’s deliverance of His people, while judging the sinful nations.  However, such works of God shown in His judgment and mercy are not limited to His dealing with the enemies of His people.  God judged His own people because of their sins, but He provided means to deliver them from their sins, too.  He judges the sinner, and at the same time His mercy saves them. 

 

Isaiah 26:8-9 says, “Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. 9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”  The first part of verse 8 astounds us: “in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee.”  In order to understand this verse, we need to see the overview of the chapter.  In the first 6 verses, we find a song of praise sung in the land of Judah.  We may say that the people of God sing a praise to Him.  The phrase, land of Judah should not mislead us to understand it as a part of past history.  In fact, this song of praise must be prophetic.  Verse 2 speaks about the righteous nation that keeps the truth.  There was and is not such a nation on earth.  God thrusts His enemies out from Him and His people and reduces them to literally nothing.  These expressions must anticipate future fulfillments.  Then, verse 7 leads us to consider the way of the just.  Their way is uprightness.  Verse 8 implies that there will be worldwide struggles because God’s long awaited judgment finally breaks out.  It will be God’s judgment.  Verse 9 clearly implies that it will be worldwide judgment, and this judgment should not include the people of God who are righteous: “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”  When these judgments come upon the world, the people of God will be spared from their destructions.  Instead, in the midst of judgment, they wait for God.  Waiting for Him on the part of the enemies of God mean only their destruction and punishment, but as for the people of God the Day of Judgment is the day of hope and peace. 

 

If we take this passage out and reapply to a new setting as Andrew Murray did, we may see the same truth from more relevant and applicable perspectives.  He says, “If we are honest in our longing for holiness— in our prayers to be wholly the Lord’s— His holy presence will stir up and discover hidden sin. It will bring us very low in the bitter conviction of the evil of our nature, its opposition to God’s law, and its inability to fulfill that law.”  Thus, he identifies the enemies of God as His people, sin is the enemy that must be brought low and judged.  “In great mercy, God executes, within the soul, His judgments upon sin, as He makes it feel its wickedness and guilt.  Many try to flee from these judgments. The soul that longs for God, and for deliverance from sin, bows under them in humility and in hope.  In silence of soul, it says, “Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered” (Numbers 10: 35). . . . Let no one who seeks to learn the blessed art of waiting on God, wonder if at first the attempt to wait on Him only reveals more of sin and darkness. Let no one despair because unconquered sins, evil thoughts, or great darkness appear to hide God’s face. Was not, in His own beloved Son, the gift and bearer of His mercy on Calvary, the mercy as hidden and lost in the judgment?  Oh, submit and sink down deep under the judgment of your every sin.  Judgment prepares the way and breaks out in wonderful mercy.  It is written, “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment” (Isaiah 1: 27).  Wait on God, in the faith that His tender mercy is working out His redemption in the midst of judgment. Wait for Him; He will be gracious to you.”

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

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

*Welcome to our pulpit, Pastor David Weng, of Providence B-P Church.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class commencing on the Lord’s Day, 22 Feb. Those interested in the Christian faith, seeking Baptism or Re-Affirmation of Faith, please see Elder Michael D Lee ASAP.

*Catch-up BBK Classes for current attendees will continue until 15 Feb.

*History of Thoughts Class has started. All are encouraged to attend.

*Neighbourhood Bible Study groups – BSAG, Joy & Maranatha- will commence in the first week of Feb. All worshippers are encouraged to attend one of these groups. Please see any Session member for details.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Please refer to the hard copy of the Lively Hope.

2. Calvary Jurong BPC (Singapore) - 42nd Anniversary on 4 Jan.

3. Church activities in the past week.

4. Visitors & new worshippers.

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

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Please refer to the hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

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

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim going to China & Malaysia for missions (17 Jan - 17 Feb)

5. Cambodia Missions - Rev Moses Hahn & ministry; Preacher Zhang & ministry (Sihanoukville).

6. Other missions: IBPFM & PMU Board members & missionaries all over the world.

7. New Life BPC (London) - God’s guidance & provision of a pastor.

8. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

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

10. Journey mercies: Please refer to the hard copy of Lively Hope.

11. Health in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zheng.

12. Those grieving the loss of loved ones in the Paris bombings & AirAsia QZ8501 tragedy.

13. Bushfire & flood victims in Australia.

14. Sis Wendy Liang to settle down in Bundaberg & find a church to attend.

15. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

16. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

17. Believers suffering in Islamic & communist countries.

18. Australia: People to repent & to come to Christ.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063