Waiting on the Behalf of His Church
I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. (Isaiah 8:17)
In Isaiah 8 we have a servant of God waiting upon Him, not on the behalf of himself, but of his people, from whom God was hiding His face. It suggests to us how our waiting upon God- though it commences with our personal needs, with the desire for the revelation of Himself, or for the answer to general petitions- need not, may not, stop there. We may be walking in the full light of God’s countenance, and God is yet hiding His face from His people around us. Far from being content to think that this is nothing but the just punishment of their sin, or the consequences of their indifference, we are called with tender hearts to think of their sad estate, and to wait on God on their behalf. The privilege of waiting upon God is one that brings great responsibility. Even as Christ, when He entered God’s presence, at once used His place of privilege and honor as intercessor, so we no less, if we know what it is really to enter in and wait upon God, must use our access for our less favored brethren.
If others fail in doing it, give yourself doubly to it. The deeper the darkness, the greater the need of appealing to the one only Deliverer. Instead of the tone of judgement or condemnation toward the of despondency or despair, realize your calling to wait upon God.
Let us wait on God, in the humble confession of the sins of His people. Let us wait on God in tender, loving intercession for all saints, our beloved brethren, however wrong their lives or their teaching may appear. Let us wait on God in faith and expectation, until He shows us that He will hear. Let us wait on God, and give Him no rest till He makes Zion a joy in the earth.
The culture of individualism that unfortunately leads to selfish lifestyles has its effect in the church as well as in society. Moses, as he led the Israelites, provides us the true heart of a servant of God. There are far too many individuals in the church that focus on their individual accomplishments even for God. We read that Moses was giving his best to lead the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. All along the journey, at every moment of challenge the multitude forgot that they had been delivered from slavery by God working through Moses. They forgot the miracle of the Red Sea and the manna and water from the rock. Over and over they threatened to execute Moses, to go back to Egypt, to continually disobey God. Literally they were an ungrateful, complaining congregation. There came the moment that their conduct and attitude was so bad that even God became disgusted with them. You know it’s bad when God gets fed up in light of His incredible grace and mercy. The Psalmist says that were it not for the mercy of God, we would all be destroyed. God approaches Moses and tells him that He is going to wipe out the whole group and will raise up another congregation for Moses to lead. Now I must confess if a congregation were attempting to execute me I’d resign and get out of town. And if God were to say, “Stand aside, I’ll take care of this”, at the least I’d be tempted to do so and maybe give God a high five in the process. Moses does something that shows this waiting not just for our personal blessing but that all will be blessed. He stands between God and the congregation and tells God that if He wipes them out to wipe him out too. Another time Moses says to God that unless all go, he won’t go. What a picture of waiting on God for our brothers and sisters. We wait for the feeble of faith, the struggling doubters, those who frequently fall, and even those who may drive us nuts. O that God would answer the prayer of His Son:
When Jesus had spoken these things, He raised His eyes to heaven [in prayer] and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify You. 2 Just as You have given Him power and authority over all mankind, [now glorify Him] so that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him [to be His—permanently and forever]. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true [supreme and sovereign] God, and [in the same manner know] Jesus [as the] Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You [down here] on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory and majesty that I had with You before the world existed. 6 “I have manifested Your name [and revealed Your very self, Your real self] to the people whom You have given Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept and obeyed Your word. 7 Now [at last] they know [with confident assurance] that all You have given Me is from You [it is really and truly Yours]. 8 For the words which You gave Me I have given them; and they received and accepted them and truly understood [with confident assurance] that I came from You [from Your presence], and they believed [without any doubt] that You sent Me. 9 I pray for them; I do not pray for the world, but for those You have given Me, because they belong to You; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and [all things that are] Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 I am no longer in the world; yet they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and protected them, and not one of them was lost except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to You; and I say these things [while I am still] in the world so that they may experience My joy made full and complete and perfect within them [filling their hearts with My delight]. 14 I have given to them Your word [the message You gave Me]; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world and do not belong to the world, just as I am not of the world and do not belong to it. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. 18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world. 19 For their sake I sanctify Myself [to do Your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth. 20 “I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, 21 that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me. 22 I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected and completed into one, so that the world may know [without any doubt] that You sent Me, and [that You] have loved them, just as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given to Me [as Your gift to Me], may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O just and righteous Father, although the world has not known You and has never acknowledged You [and the revelation of Your mercy], yet I have always known You; and these [believers] know [without any doubt] that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them [overwhelming their heart], and I [may be] in them.”
Dr. John Thompson