I have never been accused of having excess patience.
It is hard for me to just relax and see what happens. That has its’ place in life, but it can also cause lots of problems. I remember how ridiculously long it took for my butterfly to get out of its’ prison of a cocoon. Obviously, the thing for me to do as a 6-year-old was to get things moving and free it. That didn’t work so well as you can imagine. I felt good for a few hours until I was told that I basically killed my prized monarch due to my impatience. I cried and got over it but didn’t quite learn that lesson once and for all.
In high school I had a major knee reconstruction surgery. I was given very clear instructions on how to rehab my knee back into working order. I was in a cast up to my hip for two months, followed by crutches for at least a month and possibly two, then six months of very defined exercises. This would bring me back to “full activity” in approximately 9 months if all went well and I followed the doctor’s orders. I would have none of that! I had my own timetable that had me playing basketball in 4 months. That was a really bad decision that I am still paying for today.
Based on my reading of Scripture I would say that my tendency for wanting things “right now” is not just a Nick Problem. It appears that I am not alone and at least a few of you can relate to wanting things to happen a little quicker. I also have moments where I may struggle to see things the way God does due to my short attention span. Therefore, very often in the Bible God has a simple set of directions for His people – WAIT!
Therein lies the problem I have with God – I do not want to wait. I do believe that God is a promise keeping God, but I want evidence that He is keeping His promise right now! If I had my way, heaven would be progressively be growing in my immediate world. I don’t want to wait for it in times of brokenness or apparent darkness. I want all God’s good things which is ok, but it is not ok when I come close to demanding them on my timetable.
This Sunday we will be looking at Habakkuk’s prophecy. It is an amazing picture of God’s people being called to take God at His word. We are called to be people of faith that trust and worship God even when we are tempted to wonder if He even sees what is going on. We might be tempted to think He is sleeping but He is actually working in His perfect time. His sovereign decisions are not only right; they are also perfectly timed! That is why Habakkuk proclaims the following words in conclusion to his prophecy.
I will wait patiently…
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Waiting on God [Even patiently sometimes],
I like when people say nice things about me. I thoroughly enjoy being affirmed in what I am doing. The flip-side is also true. I don’t care much for being criticized or corrected. I would rather be told to “keep it up” than “get your act together.” I am confident that most of you quite naturally feel the same way I do. This doesn’t mean that I never need a correction or a recalibration. The fact is that I do need to be shaped, refined and even rebuked; especially by my God.
In Micah we read of the immoral state of the leaders and the prophets of Israel. They spoke words of comfort when there should have been words of correction in chapter 2 and we see in chapter 3 that their self-worship used people up while claiming to be on the Lord’s side. They were somehow blinded to the fact that they were choosing to oppose God with their lives.
Micah 2 6“Don’t say such things,”
the people respond.
“Don’t prophesy like that.
Such disasters will never come our way!”
Micah 3 9 Listen to me, you leaders of Israel!
You hate justice and twist all that is right.
10 You are building Jerusalem
on a foundation of murder and corruption.
11 You rulers make decisions based on bribes;
you priests teach God’s laws only for a price;
you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid.
Yet all of you claim to depend on the Lord.
“No harm can come to us,” you say,
“for the Lord is here among us.”
Micah is a book filled with hope and God’s good gifts, but to get there we need to be willing to come to grips with our own sinfulness. Our repentance, which sees things like God does, could be described as the spigot that opens heaven’s storehouses of grace, mercy and forgiveness. Our Father in Heaven does not shy away from making it clear that opposing Him is a very bad decision. But He is equally clear that He desires to claim us as His own children just because He can.
Micah was calling Israel to see the truth. God is always true! Jesus declared this very clearly as He came as our savior. In John 8:32 He said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We may be confident that we are not as blatant as the ones Micah was speaking to that were “building a foundation of murder and corruption”, but what is our foundation? Most of us are tempted from time to time to put on false fronts. To act or say something to fit in or to appear better, stronger or more of “something” than we really are. Although this is harmful to our peace of mind and our sense of contentment; it isn’t the worst.
Micah points out the worst or the most dangerous – choosing to live opposed to God but claiming that He is ok with it. It is one thing to struggle with our sin – it is quite a different thing to be claiming God is fine with it. It is a wonderful thing to be amazed by grace and it is quite a shameful thing to take grace or mercy or forgiveness in Christ for granted.
The Truth of Micah and all of Scripture that God wants us to dwell in can be summarized by two statements.
Have a good one!
Pastor Nick Mundis