Wack! In one swift moment, Moses, yes, the faithful Moses who was privy to the Lord Almighty’s voice and direct authority, struck the rock twice with his rod.
In one intuitive move, the son of the first King of Israel snuck out to the Philistines’ garrison without Saul’s knowledge and approval. Jonathan expressed to his armor bearer, “…It may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” Jonathan continued on by stating, “…Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place not go up to them. But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us…..Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armor bearer, and said, ‘Come up to us, and we will show you something” (1 Samuel 14:1-12).
With their “wo-is-me” attitude, the Israelites cried out, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt? So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt”‘ (Numbers 14:1-4). With great zeal after spying the Promised Land just once, Joshua encouraged the people that the Lord was with them and that He would bring them into a good land that flowed with milk and honey only for the congregation to declare that he, Moses and Aaron be stoned!
Sarah and Hannah both ached for a child. Job cried out in righteous agony. Jeremiah felt alone, persecuted, rebuked and so let down by God that he even asked, “Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail” (Jeremiah 15:18)?
Each of the above biblical passages and characters illuminates the integral concept of waiting on the Lord. When growing in God, one finds that there is a vital connection between waiting on the Lord and being in the center of the Lord’s will. Seeking, praying and waiting always seat us in a beautiful, protected position to know which direction the Lord is moving.
Why, then, do we not wait? How, then, do we discern whether to wait or to step out in faith?
The list of reasons for not waiting on the Lord is quite overwhelming. If we take a moment to allow God to search our hearts, we can experience God’s desired blessing for us. Do we not wait because we fear people, people-please, long to look better, run ahead in zeal, do it our way, are prideful or overrun by impatience, lack trust in God that He will finish what He started, and make emotional decisions on the high or low and impetuous decisions in the moment? If we would simply settle the Lordship issue, waiting on the Lord, though utterly agonizing at times, will still place our feet on solid ground. Sometimes, God makes us wait to draw us unto obedience and restoration. Other times, He is stretching our faith and building our character. Many times, He is preparing us for what He has called to or using our heartache and struggles to capture someone’s heart from the outside looking in.
Whether we are to wait or step out in faith is discerned through pure-hearted motives before our Heavenly Father. 1 Samuel 14:6 presents evidence that Jonathan was 100 percent sure that nothing could stop the Lord from saving them, but he equally understood that God is sovereign. Jonathan presented two scenarios to his armor bearer, so they could experience deliberate confirmation one way or the other from the Lord. Clearly, Jonathan would only go where the Lord was leading.
Having done all, Jeremiah was courageous enough to stand. God reassured Jeremiah, “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible” (Jeremiah 15:21). Here, we find that if we have checked our hearts at the door, we can confidently step forward and stand boldly for what we know to be true, noble, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy, etc.
On the other hand, when God specifically issues us a command, we must respond accordingly, or we will face grave consequences. Moses must have had had it up to his ears with the perpetually whiny Israelite nation. Instead of speaking to the rock, as commanded, he struck the rock and lost his privilege of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:7-12). Timing plays a crucial role, as well. We see this illustrated as Joshua patiently waited for the Israelites to be ready to follow him into the Promised Land. In Joshua 1:16-18, the Israelite hearts change, as they tell Joshua that they will do all he commands them to do, and if anyone rebels against his command and does not heed his words shall be put to death.”
This is a miracle considering the fact these are the same group of people who earlier shouted to stone him!
We can never go wrong when we invite the Lord to be the ultimate leader in our lives. Here, the Holy Sprit never fails to act as the Great Counselor. God carries the burden and goes before us to fight our battles. Simply stay tucked in close.
Remember that half-obedience is not obedience at all, and obedience is non-negotiable. He requires nothing less than our whole heart.
Waiting is not for the faint of heart, but it always produces spiritual protection and/or a harvest. If lately you have found yourself coming across biblical passages with this same theme, ask the Lord what He is trying to speak to your heart. He may very well be preparing and strengthening you for a test to come soon. Hide His word in your heart. Prepare to stand at all cost by putting your spiritual armor on daily. Last, always remember that the Lord is not the author of confusion. He may choose an unexpected route to call for the answer to your prayers, but He will always be a God of order and peace. Activities and decisions should align with His truthful word.