Saturday, April 28, 2012

Submitting to God's Timing

Well Ladies if you weren't at Beth el Baptist Church inHouston today, youmissed a couple of pretty good messages, and some awesome singing. Sherry Bohannnon sang a beautiful song. I will get back with you on the name. But it was so beautiful.

The theme of our message today was “Submitting to God’s Perfect Timing!”

The very title of this message suggest that:
      You know Christ as your personal Savior. You have a personal and intimate relationship with Him. You spend time in God's Word, daily. You spend time in prayer, daily. You recog nize His voice when He speaks, and you obey Him.  (Check out  John chapter 10)

That being said, I suppose we have all spoken those infamous words; “When Lord? When?”

Waiting on the Lord isn’t a new subject.

I’m just not sure that we appreciate the importance of waiting.

Maybe the reason is we just don’t like to wait. Waiting makes us anxious.

Why is that?

Doesn’t God’s Word say, be anxious for nothing, but in all things…

Many years ago, when I was a child, time was such a huge thing for me. From one weekend to the next, seemed like forever. Preparing to leave and to journey anywhere, the store, the doctor’s office or going on vacation, was always preceded with, “When are we leaving?” and then as we started down the road, “Are we there yet?”

I was impatient and my parents timing didn’t always move fast enough for me.

How different would our journey’s together have been if I had instead been trusting and thankful.

As I started this devotional I had to ask myself, how much this attitude has changed as I became a mature christian.

While considering this I reread two stories in the bible, so ­­I would like you to join me for a little exercise that I did with myself.

There you are, sitting in the cool shade of the elm tree, can you feel it, the wind gently blowing on your tear stained face. You are remembering the early days of your marriage, when you and your husband spoke with excitement and eagerness of the family you would one day have.

He was so sure that he had heard the voice of God saying

 “…I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust then your offspring could be counted.”

Knowing that he was a godly man, you trusted his leading. More important you trusted God.

But that had been so long ago. You have since floated in and out of depression.

If you could just have a baby!

“When Lord?” You cry out in your heart. “When? I am getting too old to carry a baby, and my husband hardly looks at me any longer!”

 As the endless tears begin to flow again, It is then you open your tired, aging eyes, and see her, young and beautiful, made to bear children, and you have an idea…..
Now lets move from the elm tree, to the office:

There you are sitting again. This time you are at your desk. With so many fears and worries laying heavily on your mind, you began to pray, “Why, God, why is this happening to me? I have loved You so much. Even when my mother died so young, Even when my brothers disowned me, tried to destroy me, I trusted You. Not only have I loved you and trusted you. I have always obeyed you.

You blessed me, by giving me this job. But now it looks like I am going to lose it! The boss is coming on to me. He’s married and he isn’t a believer. I know he’s going to get rid of me if I keep saying no.

Lord, I can’t afford to lose this job. It seems like I take one step forward and two steps back in life. When is it going to get better? When?” you ask as you open your eyes, and see he is standing there in front of you. He’s not a bad looking man, and he is very nice to you. And you begin to think maybe this is God’s will, surely he doesn’t expect me to lose what he has given….

You may recognize those two scenarios, as being borrowed from the bible. In each of these circumstances, which I modernized a little bit, in each of these circumstances, I can see what I perceive as valid reasons for becoming impatient, and not wanting to wait on God to do something.

Psychology tells us impatience is a decision making problem.

And I agree with that.  Whether you have waited hours, weeks or years, many a bad decision has been made because, for whatever the reason, someone couldn’t wait any longer.

For the Christian our decisions and the outcome of our decisions is the result of our ability or inability to not just to wait, but to wait on God.

What’s more, our ability to wait on God is directly related to our belief system, our faith.

But, It is also directly related to the world. We are often distracted and our faith is weakened by what we allow into our ears and our eyes, and ultimately our hearts and our lives. Once this occurs we begin to grow anxious. (Anxious that we didn’t hear right, anxious that we misunderstood, anxious that we will lose something, miss out on something, anxious that God’s goal isn’t our goal)

We know the outcome of both Sarai and Joseph’s response to waiting for God’s timing, but I want to do some dissecting just the same.

But first let’s take a look and dissect someone elses story. I am sure you remember King Saul.

Go with me to I Samuel 13:8 - 13

8. And he tarried seven days according to the set time that Samuel had appointed; but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.

9. And Saul said, bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.

10. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made and end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

11. And Samuel said, “What hast thou done?” And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;

12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.

13. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord, thy God, which he commanded thee…

Prior to our text, we learned that a battle was brewing between Israel and the Philistines.  Samuel, the man of God, was well aware of the war and ensuing battle. He had said to King Saul that he would return on a specific day and offer the required sacrifice to God.

Saul an Israelite knew the law. He knew the requirements and He knew the prohibitions about who could and could not make sacrifices before the Lord. Yet as he saw his troops disappearing, as he heard of the thousands of Philistine troops gathering, as there was no sign of the man of God, his faith began to falter, and he became anxious.

He needed to do something! This is war! Waiting could cost us everything!

This moment was not a total surprise to Saul. God had been preparing him all of his life for this job. Philippians 4:6 tells us to trust that whatever God brings us to, He will bring it to completion.

I am not saying that Saul knew of this specific event.

But God, who had shown Himself to be trust worthy over and over, was working in Saul’s life. God was teaching him principals of obedience and trust. Saul should have known another trial was coming his way.

Saul needed to be at the place in his life where he understood God had called him to this crisis. 

He also needed to be prepared for God’s outcome, whatever it would be.

Now we are getting somewhere. Isn’t that why we grow anxious and panic? We aren’t sure of God’s agenda. We are not sure where He is taking us.

When we enter such circumstances and times, when the pressure is on, the clock is ticking, the world and your emotions are saying you have to act, you have to do something….let me caution you to wait for God.

Although every specific situation that comes into our lives is not specifically written into the bible, the principals to live by are in there. Our circumstances do not surprise God. He has given us all we need, to know what to do.

 His character, His principals do not change because we have entered panic mode. Stop and wait submit, surrender to God’s timing, regardless of the cost!

Now let us look at Sarai and see how this applies to her life.

What did she know?

1.      She knew her husband as her lord and master. Like it or not ladies your husbands are your head. He is the leader of your home.

2.      She knew God’s Word through her lord; it had been made clear to her.

3.      She also knew she was getting old, her body told her so. Like Saul her feelings/emotions were screaming in panic, something had to happen.

I know that she had waited a lifetime. God knew that she had waited a lifetime.

By all that we know in the worldly realm of things, Sarai was not going to be a mother.

And had God not spoken into the life of her husband, maybe seeking out a surrogate would have been the right thing for her, or adoption.

But God Himself had nixed the idea of adoption, when He told Abraham his servant Elieazer would not be his heir and when he said his son would come from his loins. (Gen. 15)

If Sarah had been patient and waited a little longer she would have personally had God’s Word on it that she would be the one to bare Abraham a son. Gen 17:16.

But she began to doubt, lose faith, and become anxious, because by the world’s standards she was out of time. She was beginning to think that God might not give her the desires of her heart. Hadn’t the promise been made to Abraham?

Since she was now using the world’s standards of timing, and she had begun to doubt God’s Word as revealed to her husband, it was easy for her to look around and see that the world had its own solutions for this type of situation.

There is nothing that comes into our lives that surprises God. Not our barrenness, or our captivity, nor the world.

And when these things do touch us, He is trustworthy! Still,

Like Saul we are often distracted by what is going on around us. Let’s go back and look at it through his eyes again.

He is in the midst of a war. The war isn’t going well. The appointed time arrives and God hasn’t shown up, and neither has God’s man.

Ladies, that phrase should resonate with some of us.  “…God has arrived and neither has God’s man!”

So what do we do? Usually, we do the same as Saul. We start to look around and figure out how to handle things ourselves. How do you think women’s’ lib was born?

But as we turn our eyes upon the problem, on the seeming lack of solution, we are turning our eyes to a worldly view of the problem and worldly solutions.

As Saul looked around, he saw his troops panicking and deserting him. He saw they needed to see something that would bring them back, to where he needed them. He needed to do something that would inspire them to victory.

Wait a minute! Did You hear that “..he needed to do something that would inspire them to victory!”

Is that what he thought?

When waiting on God, and it seems that God hasn’t shown up, Saul felt, Saul believed he had to do something to inspire his men to victory?

Is that what he thought he was waiting for Samuel to come and do, to motivate and to inspire?

Are you beginning to see the problem?

The offering that Samuel would make is not related to how it would make the people, the soldiers feel.

It was to honor and acknowledge God. It was about obedience, It was about trusting God!

Ladies, He is our Victory! Even when it looks like defeat!  Do you remember Calvary?

Do you remember the tears and the fear?

Do you remember the victory?

And what of Sarai?

Every day, she saw the bony old fingers of the women in her camp, pointing at her.

Every day, she saw, or imagined she saw her husband’s disappointment as he looked at her aging barren body.

She could only see what at this time appeared to be empty promises from a distant God.

Saul seems to have placed his faith in a man, Sarai seems to have placed her faith in tradition and her own understanding.

 Ultimately they both placed their faith in themselves and their ability to devise a way.

But let’s finish up by looking at Joseph. Joseph who doesn’t try to make things happen. Joseph who is willing to suffer all things according to the  will of God. Joseph who chooses to walk up right before the Lord even if it means prison or death. Joseph who chose to surrender to God’s Timing.

You see we talk about submitting and committing, that keeps everything in our control.

When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, he could have justified in his mind, much like Sarai and Saul. He could have justified by saying my master is a eunuch. He has made all of the servants in his house eunuchs, except me. Perhaps this is Potiphar’s wish, surely he knows I am young and healthy and his wife is beautiful. Maybe this is why God placed me here!

But no, Joseph who had long ago surrendered himself to God’s will for his life looks passed the things, the lies of this world.

He looks past his own aching loins and loneliness.

He sets aside his anxious feelings, knowing that God has spoken into his life, and will complete the work He has started.

He doesn’t look at what the world sees. He looks only on the character, the face of his God.

God would be offended if I slept with another man’s wife.

Joseph a son of Jacob had less of the law than Saul did. Yet he knew the requirements and expectations of God from his father.  He knew the prohibitions about premarital sex and adultery, again from his father. Oh wait a minute, his dad had two wives and two concubines. But still he knew. 

Joseph was not  looking for an excuse to go his own way.

He had surrendered his life to God, and if doing it God’s way meant prison or death, then so be it.

What does Joseph know?

A Slave has no life of his own, if his Master doesn’t speak or answer, the slave does only what he has already been told, otherwise he stands and waits!

So what about you, my sisters? Are you waiting on something? Are you being tempted by the promises of the world as you wait?

Is the clock ticking? Are you feeling panicked? A decision has to be made!

I will leave you with

Sarai, who in her old aged bore a son to her husband Abraham. I leave you with Joseph who was second only to Pharaoh and who saw his brothers and his parents bow down to him.

I leave you with the words of David who surrendered to God and His timing and ultimately replaced Saul who failed to trust in God’s perfect time;

The Words in Psalms 27:14 simply say:

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

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