Volume. XXIX, No. 32
Sunday, 08 February 2015


From the Pastors heart: Wait on God (Part 18)


 

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.” 

 

The message we are going to consider today is a bit different.  I have written 17 articles under the same heading, “Waiting on God,” in which we have seen various circumstances and conditions of life for which the children of God have to wait on Him.  The passage we just read from the book of Isaiah turns the table around and tells us that it is God who is waiting on us.  The very thought that it is not we but God who is waiting must make our mind dazzled and cause us to be breathless.  It is because we have not thought of God in such a way, especially in times when we are troubled and tried.  In order to appreciate the depth of the divine wait on us, we should look into the context a bit more carefully.  Let us consider about:

 

The people for whom God waits

 

Isaiah 30 begins with an unpleasant message, which says, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: 2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!” (verses 1-2).  First, the people of God’s interest in this passage are “rebellious children.”  We may find some of their characteristics from them: (1) they are rebellious people.  The word for “rebellious” also indicates their stubbornness.  They are stubborn against God; (2) they are rebellious children.  We ought to pay attention to the word, “children.”  It may refer to their immaturity, or more correctly their affinity to God.  They ought to be His children.  Thus, they should have relied on Him and respected His guidance and authority.  However, they are rebellious children.  We must be reminded that God still considers them as His children.  What we must notice is that the rebellion is not just a problem of the ruling class but of everyone in the land.  Second, God’s rebellious children have some bad traits: (1) they do not take the counsel from God but from someone else; (2) they cover themselves with covering but not with the Spirit of God; (3) They add sin to sin according to verse 1. 

 

At this point, probably we need some more explanations about the historical background.  There was a time when the children of Judah/Israel turned to the Assyrians for help.  The Assyrians destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah suffered under their constant threats.  In the first place they sinned against God by not trusting in Him but in the Assyrians’ military power.  However, the Assyrians were not friendly toward Judah and they invaded into Judah.  Even in such critical times, there was a pro-Egyptian party that wanted to bring the Egyptians into the war for help.  Thus, again they wanted to depend on the foreign forces not on God.  They did not listen to Him.  For sure, they are in trouble.  Their peace was lost, and the enemies’ attacks were cruel and powerful, and they could not stand against them. 

 

During these critical times, they did not seek God’s advice or counsel but went after someone else.  It is hard to understand that they covered themselves with a covering.  This expression literally means that they poured out a libation.  Different translations employ different words including “who carry out a plan” (ESV, RSV), “Who execute a plan” (NAS), and “to those who carry out plans” (NIV).  I would like to borrow a thought from E. J. Young’s commentary on the book of Isaiah as follows: “A second action is attributed to the nation, namely, the concluding of a covenant [hk'Sem; maccekah, Possibly the word may have the sense of a libation, evidently used in the making of a covenant].  Actually, the action is described in the terms, a pouring out of libations; but in as much as such an action took place at the ratifying of a covenant, we may probably conclude that what the people are accused of is the actual entering into a covenant.  This evidently was an agreement with another power (Egypt) by which Judah sought protection against Assyria.  The prophets had been endued with the Spirit who spoke through them.  The nation, however, did not inquire of the Spirit, i.e., they did not consult the prophet, but went ahead on their own.  For this reason they were willingly adding sin to sin” (The Book of Isaiah, vol. 2, Grand Rapids: MI: Eerdmans, 1992, reprint, 336-7). 

 

Third, the children of Israel were in troubles both physically and spiritually.  (1) Man cannot help them.  The strength of Pharaoh will be their shame.  The trust in Egypt will be only confusion (verse 3).  No one will profit them (verse 5).  Even if the Egyptians want to help them, their help will be in vain (verse 7).  (2) They, rather, go down to ask for help, instead of asking God for help (verse 2).  They do not hear the law of the Lord (verse 9).  Verses 10-11 say, “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”  (3) The consequences of such rebellious heart are very evident.  Verses 12-14 say, “Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. 14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters' vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.”  Despite all of their problems and natural consequences of their sins, God is still waiting, waiting on them.

 

Fourth, God’s waiting on His people must stun them all and encourage them to wait on God.  Isaiah 30:18 tells us about the purpose of God’s waiting: “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.”  If we begin with a conclusion first, we must say, “Blessed are all they that wait for Him.”  Waiting for God brings only blessings and pleasure to all who wait for Him.  Despite sins, iniquities, and rebellions, God’s constant appeal is found in verse 15, “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”  God is waiting for His people to save them and help them live in quietness and confidence.  God longs and delights to bless.  He is gracious to them and shows mercies to them who wait for Him.  God desires to be exalted in their midst.  When we are waiting for Him, we ought to be reminded that He is also waiting for us.  Andrew Murray aptly said, “And if you ask : How is it, if He waits to be gracious, that even after I come and wait upon Him, He does not give the help I seek, but waits on longer and longer ? There is a double answer. The one is this. God is a wise husbandman, who ‘waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it’ (James 5: 7). He cannot gather the fruit until it is ripe. He knows when we are spiritually ready to receive the blessing to our profit and His glory.  Waiting in the sunshine of His love is what will ripen the soul for His blessing.  Waiting under the cloud of trial, that breaks in showers of blessing, is as necessary.  Be assured that if God waits longer than you could wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious” (The Andrew Murray Collection: 21 Classic Works, Kindle Locations 19646-19652).  In the heart of God, He is waiting for a thousand years as one day and a day as a thousand years.  Our times are in His hands. He will avenge His elect speedily. He will make haste for our help and not delay one hour too long.

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

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

*Tiny-Tots Sing-a-long starts on Friday, 13 Feb. Parents are encouraged to bring their pre-school children to attend.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class commencing on the Lord’s Day, 22 Feb. Please see Elder Michael D Lee for details.

*Special classes (History of Doctrines) by Pastor Ki . All are encouraged to attend.

*Theology Class (for Women) will commence  coming Sat, 14 Feb. Please obtain your text book from the Book Store ASAP.

 

 Praise & Thanksgiving

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

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

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

 

Prayer Items

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

2. Special Prayer: Bro Tien Lee’s father (post-surgery in Penang); & 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’s ministry in China (17 Jan - 17 Feb).

5. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).

6. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & ministry; Filadelfia BPC, orphanage, kindergarten & school.

7. New Life BPC (London) - Encouragement for congregation. 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 hard copy of Lively Hope.

11. Health in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zheng.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063