Wait for His Wonders
My hope is in you. Deliver me from all my transgressions.(Psalm 39:7,8)
In every true prayer there are two hearts in exercise. The one is your heart, with it’s little, dark, human thoughts of what you need and what Gos can do. The other is God’s great heart, with its infinite, its divine purpose of blessing.
To which of these two ought the larger place be given in your approach to Him? Undoubtedly, to the heart of God: everything depends upon knowing and being occupied with that. But how little this is done.
This is what waiting on God is meant to teach you. Just think of God’s wonderful love and redemption, in the meaning of these words must have to Him. Confess how little you understand what God is willing to do for you. Wait on God to do for you more than you can ask or think.
Apply this to the prayer in Psalm 38:8: “Deliver me from all my transgressions.” You have prayed to be delivered from temper, or pride, or self-will. It is as if it is in vain. Have you had your own thoughts about the way or extent of God’s doing it, without waiting on the God of glory, according to the riches of His glory, to do for you what hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive?
Learn to worship God as the God who doeth wonders, who wishes to prove in you that He can do something supernatural and divine. Bow before Him, wait upon Him, until your soul realizes that you are in the hands of a divine and almighty Worker. Consent but to know what and how He will work; expect it to be something altogether Godlike, something to be waited for in deep humility, and received only by His divine power. He will in His time do His work.
He is teaching you to leave all in His hands, and to wait on Him alone.
As I listen to conversations I have become aware that certain things occupy our thoughts. We are focused on the Covid-19, the issues of racism, justice and the accompanying hatred and violence, and the political atmosphere of an election year. In additional to all these things, the personal challenges of life, weather conditions in hurricane season, job and career uncertainty and the list goes on; we find ourselves less occupied with the things of God. While I certainly am not making light of these things, they are only for a season. All this will eventually come to an end. I’m not suggesting a good end or a return to old norms, but an end.
Isaiah prophesies concerning Christ:
“For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. There shall be no end to the increase of His government and of peace, [He shall rule] on the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From that time forward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”
This is our focus. This is in the large heart of God toward us. That His kingdom expands in us and through us. In these defining days, when all we know is being questioned and our hearts tremble with fear of all the unknowns, let us seek to hear and know the heart of God. In spite of viruses and turmoil and politics and all other human things, the mission and purposes of God never change. In any condition, atmosphere, circumstance, God’s purpose is to be with us and in us. He does not get sidetracked from His goal of redeeming mankind and establishing a personal relationship with him now and in eternity. His goal is to draw us from darkness and sin, to cleanse us with His blood, to adopt us into His family and to enjoy being with us throughout eternity. This is not to say that He ignores the above named issues but He does not allow them to become His priority and neither should we.
As we consider what God can and will do, we are given two places or as Andrew Murray states, two hearts; ours and God’s. Whether in individual, personal need and desires or in the context of His church, we ought to consider what is in God’s heart rather than our extremely limited knowledge of God in our own hearts. The prophet Joel gives us a powerful statement of Gods purposes for the last days. I don’t know whether we are in those days, but it sure seems like those described in the Bible. I don’t know if we are in the days of Christ’s return for His bride and we don’t know and can’t know according to Jesus. But I do know that in the heart of God, no matter the times, Joel describes the plans in the heart of God:
“It shall come about after this That I shall pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “I will show signs and wonders [displaying My power] in the heavens and on the earth, Blood and fire and columns of smoke. “And it shall come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Will be saved [from the coming judgment] For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the Lord has said, Even among the remnant [of survivors] whom the Lord calls.”
Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost affirms that this promise is for us even now as the church of Jesus Christ.
“But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be explained to you; listen closely and pay attention to what I have to say. These people are not drunk, as you assume, since it is [only] the third hour of the day (9:00 a.m.); but this is [the beginning of] what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘ And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘ That I will pour out My Spirit upon all mankind ; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy , And your young men shall see [divinely prompted] visions , And your old men shall dream [divinely prompted] dreams ; Even on My bond-servants, both men and women, I will in those days pour out My Spirit And they shall prophesy. ‘ And I will bring about wonders in the sky above And signs (attesting miracles) on the earth below, Blood and fire and smoking vapor . ‘ The sun shall be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes . ‘ And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord Jesus] shall be saved (rescued spiritually).’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart [with remorse and anxiety], and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what are we to do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways, accept and follow Jesus as the Messiah] and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far away [including the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself.”
As the people of God, we should certainly be concerned with all that is taking place around us and our compassion for those affected should move us to prayer and action, but we must not forget the great purposes of God. While we seek to be reconciled as people, let us first seek to be reconciled with God. While we seek to choose a national leader, let us choose to be led first by God. While we seek to give financial and physical relief to those in need, let us seek also to help them find spiritual relief and adoption by God who “supplies all our need according to His riches in glory….” While we seek cure and vaccines of the coronavirus let us not forget that the greater need is deliverance from sin and finding the wholeness that God alone gives. While we work with social distancing and all the other things that impact how we gather to worship and serve and work, let us not merely survive waiting for the day when the magic restart button is pushed and like a video game, we go back to where we left off. Instead let us tap into the creativity of the Holy Spirit and through His heart and eyes see not only the need but the means to meet that need. Let us renounce our narrow hearts and engage the wide heart of God who never deviates from His purpose. It will be an amazing future if we choose to do so. Joel and Peter affirm this future for us. Without being trite, let me say the best is yet to come. Please know I’m not saying that our politics will experience reform, our economy will grow, the hatred and violence will cease and the coronavirus and other diseases will be conquered and controlled. What I am saying is that these days are days of harvest. This is the time for believers to believe and embrace the promises of God personally and corporately. This is no time to be limited with our knowledge, our hearts, our perceptions, or our experiences. This is the time to hear new directions from the Holy Spirit. This is the time to listen to the heart and voice of God rather than all the voices of the world. This is the time to be occupied with the work of God rather than wringing our hand wishing for better days. God is constantly expanding His work and kingdom and frankly we are most often taken by surprise. When Jesus came, the religious mostly missed Him because He did not operate in the constraints of their established patterns of human/God relationship and the rituals that were the tools to make it so. So when a Jesus healed on the Sabbath, they were offended for it violated their understanding of the purpose of the Sabbath. When Jesus ate at the homes of sinners, they were offended for their perception of God was that He separated Himself from sinners until they improved their conduct. When Jesus went to the temple, He found that God’s purposes and what man had designed were at cross purposes. Jesus saw the temple as a meeting place with God- a house of prayer- and the priests and people saw it as a place where the purity of the ritual was more important than the presence of God so they set up a system to insure every offering was acceptable. When the church began in Acts, it was perceived to be just another version of Jewish worship until God sent Peter to Cornelias, the Gentile’ house and later Paul as a missionary. It’s interesting to note that the church council met to determine how they would accept these new non-Jewish believers.
In this large heart of God, might He have for us individually and corporately things that we can hardly grasp as possibilities for us? Can we believe that God wants us to do more than survive or “get by”, but to be blessed with the “abundant life” in every way possible? Open your heart to His and receive a transfer of God’s possibilities for you.
“And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming to you the testimony of God [concerning salvation through Christ], I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom [no lofty words of eloquence or of philosophy as a Greek orator might do]; for I made the decision to know nothing [that is, to forego philosophical or theological discussions regarding inconsequential things and opinions while] among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified [and the meaning of His redemptive, substitutionary death and His resurrection]. I came to you in [a state of] weakness and fear and great trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom [using clever rhetoric], but [they were delivered] in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit [operating through me] and of [His] power [stirring the minds of the listeners and persuading them], so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom and rhetoric of men, but on the power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those spiritually mature [believers who have teachable hearts and a greater understanding]; but [it is a higher] wisdom not [the wisdom] of this present age nor of the rulers and leaders of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom once hidden [from man, but now revealed to us by God, that wisdom] which God predestined before the ages to our glory [to lift us into the glory of His presence]. None of the rulers of this age recognized and understood this wisdom; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written [in Scripture], “ Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man , All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].” For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding]. For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So also no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God. We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit]. For who has known the mind and purposes of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes].”
1 Corinthians 2:1-13,16
Dr. John Thompson