Happy New Year to everyone! 2022! Who would have guessed?
Anyone here waiting for the new year to begin? Well, I’ve got news for you, it started without you!
I’d like to open with a few Hodja tribute stories… some I modernized just a bit.
“What was that terrible noise late last night? I almost got out of bed to investigate?”, my wife asked.
“Oh, it was nothing, my jacket slipped down the stairs.”
“That can’t be! A jacket doesn’t make that much noise!”, she argued.
“It does if you’re wearing it!”
So I’m constantly losing the channel changer, the clicker, or the remote. My wife misplaces her hearing aide. She has a built in GPS, but it has no beep. Fine, it’s lost in the house. How does that help? At least it’s not in the parking lot at the swimming pool.
The remote/clicker/changer is obviously in the house, it has no GPS. It probably is in the canyons of the chair, or couch. It might also be with the spoons, or single socks, wherever that is. I’m hoping it’s not on a shelf, or random horizontal space that is free.
I’m on the back patio, looking at random horizontal spaces. My wife asks why am I looking there?
I reply, “There’s better light out here!”
My wife asks me if I want to walk the dog? I immediately put that through my want/don’t want filter. Apparently I hadn’t thought about it at all. Was she picking up on a signal that I actually wanted to do this? Or, was this a clever way for her to ask me to do this? I punted.
“He’s asleep under the pool table.”
Just then the dog barks at the back kitchen door, not once, but several times!
“He is not asleep, he’s outside on the patio!”
“Who do you believe? Your husband, or your dog?”
Hodja is a beloved story teller in many cultures, and generally tells a truth through conversations with family and friends.
Let’s begin the sermon with a prayer…
Eric and Lori are fine, but are staying low because this current virus is making the rounds, and out of caution they made some quick decisions. The possible exposure to the virus has one universal solution. Wait it out! And naturally this caused me to ponder the scripture in reference to “waiting”.
Psalm 27:14 ESV /
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Perfect, this is one of those verses that repeats itself, in case you are hard of reading. Ever been hard of reading? The words flip by, one by one, but they don’t register, because you are thinking of a new waffle recipe, or the upcoming football game?
It’s a repeat because it’s important! Wait For The Lord! The implication is that there will be a reaction, to an upcoming event, that you will put into place using your own logic, your own thoughts. The psalmist entreats you to “wait on the Lord”. I can’t imagine why that advice is given. We do so well going our own way!
It also tells us to be strong, and let our hearts be encouraged. The strength here is not muscularity, it refers to being hopeful. And while we can encourage ourselves, we must be open to encouragement from others.
There is a lot of action just in this verse…
Proverbs 8:34 ESV /
Blessed is the one who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting beside My doors.
Let’s look at another verse
Psalm 37:9 ESV /
For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
This is another actioned packed verse. Cut off from the Lord. Not a phrase that I would like applied to me, but why would they be cut off? The implication is because they did not wait, they went their own way. And what is the benefit? Well a very big one is not being cut off from the Lord, but there is another. You will inherit the land. In other words, you will receive God’s promises.
By the way, the Lord is light. Being cut off from the Lord is to be in Darkness. Darkness so complete that you can’t see your hand inches from your face. How are you to find a way to even light a match?
Psalm 130:6 ESV /
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
Again, waiting is not without action. A watchman is very active, or at least he better be…
Isaiah 40:31 ESV /
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
The mistake we make is that “waiting” can be seen as patient, non-action. It is waiting for the Lord! It is not a voluntary coma.
A few years ago I had a heart attack and maybe four months later I had a double by-pass, with the stent, perhaps it was a triple. I was told that by Thanksgiving I would probably feel better, not only healed, but better than for years.
My immediate thought was put me into a coma and wake me up in three months. I didn’t want to go through the process of waiting, because I knew that there would be a lot of physical therapy.
I wasn’t going to scripture, I was leaning upon the world’s opinion of waiting.
The doctor’s office has a Waiting Room. It’s where you wait. You can’t do anything but sit in the chair, waiting for the door to open so you can finally get some answers. Meantime you ponder all the possibilities. It’s a mean spirited place. I would prefer it be called the Activity Room. Treat me like a child. Let me know it’s okay to do a puzzle, a crossword. Let me live life while I wait.
The Bible does teach that, if you look closely enough. It is basically saying to change the action, not stop the action. “Wait upon the Lord”, twice!
Let’s look briefly at the classic “waiting” in scripture. I’m thinking of three examples.
- Jacob- good grief, Jakob’s life was one long wait. Wait for marriage- twice! Wait concern his brother Esau, will he kill me, will he let me live. Wait on the Lord to change his name to Israel
- Paul- even meet a new Christian? So full of love excitement, ready to do God’s work? How long did Saul wait to become Paul? Can you imagine waiting ten years in order to be used?
- Yeshua- check the Gospels. Jesus/Yeshua was born, then he was baptized by John. No mention of the years between birth and baptism. Okay, so one gospel mentions a trip to Jerusalem when he was twelve. The likelihood is that he made dozens of trips to Jerusalem. We are told several times that “his time has not come”. He was waiting! But he still lived life and was active!
My family is waiting on so many things in this season. We wait for a break in COVID, we wait for physical healing, we wait for God’s will… but this does not mean that there is no action!
First, we pray, then we seek each other for comfort and strength. We step out of the Waiting Room and live life as we wait for God’s timing. We try not to know what we can’t know…
What are you waiting for? Take a minute to check on how you can be active while waiting. But please, do not make the mistake of trying to help the Lord, it never really works out. Wait on the Lord is the request.
The good news is that He is not behind a closed door, or even behind a desk. He is right there with you.
Shall we pray?
The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’
I like to end sermons with the Aaronic blessing. It is sometimes useful to look at the original Hebrew to understand the context of the translation. The following can also be said to be a “translation of intent.”
Adonai will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection, Adoni will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you, bringing order, and he will beautify you, Adoni will lift up his wholeness of being, and look upon you, and he will set in place all you need to be whole and complete!