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When We Wait For God Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2022 1:00 am

When We Wait For God Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 30, 2022 1:00 am

Whether it’s long grocery lines or long waits for answered prayer, God uses these unplanned “waits” to mold our character. There is a sharp contrast between human manipulation and God’s timetable. In this message from Psalm 37, we investigate four ways we should wait for God. Let’s slow down and let God be God. 

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Patience is only developed when that patience is tried. Whether it's long grocery lines or long waits for answered prayer, God uses these unplanned waits to mold our characters.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, we're all used to fast food and fast internet searches. For many, slowing down to wait for God is not easy. Dave, that's absolutely true, and today I see people on their cell phones virtually all the time. And of course, it's because we don't like to wait. We don't like to be quiet before God or before man.

I need to say how practical this is. Even this morning, I was trying to solve a logistical scheduling problem, and I decided to just wait for God. It isn't resolved yet, but I need to wait for Him. That's why this message, I think, is going to touch the lives of many people. And I want to emphasize that this is the second-to-last day, a marvelous opportunity for you to help us with Running to Win. It's the second-to-last day of our matching gift program.

We have some friends who say that they are willing to double any gift given to Running to Win up to $90,000. Would you join us today? Here's what you can do. Go to RTWOffer.com.

It's RTWOffer.com. Take advantage of this, my friend, because together we're making a difference. Or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, since I'm going to speak on the topic of waiting on God, wouldn't it be tragic if we didn't begin by waiting on God? Let's bow together in silent prayer. Ask God to transform your life today by his word and by the Spirit. Father, we throw ourselves before you today confessing that there is no good in us except that which is wrought in us by you, because in our flesh there dwells nothing good.

And therefore we pray in humility and brokenness, glory, this wonderful sanctuary that others have built for us into a sanctuary of peace and understanding and transformation and honor to your blessed name. Amen. Most of us struggle with impatience. I am very impatient, especially when I have to stand in line. When I'm at a bank or an airport and you have to stand in line, you always take the shortest line, which always turns out to be the longest line. Somebody ahead of you is either buying the bank, buying the airline, doing this huge transaction, and you just want to say, uh. In fact, it's to the point that sometimes I deliberately choose the long line, arguing that it might in the end be faster than the short line, because short lines have disappointed me so often.

You miss a turn in a revolving door and you have to see a psychiatrist because you're behind schedule. Impatience is a part of who we are. And as a result of that impatience with people and circumstances, hear me carefully, ultimately at the bottom of that is impatience with God, because we do believe that he does control the events in life, including the long red light that I had to stand at today. God wants to rid us of impatience, and it can't be done unless we learn to wait on God. God is telling us to idle our motors when we want to strip our gears. God says, wait on me.

Wait. But we're not very good at waiting, and God wants to teach us that, and I want you to take your Bibles and turn now to Psalm 37. Psalm 37, which is a wonderful psalm that many of you have read and been greatly blessed, as all of us have been.

Notice in Psalm 37, David begins, and I'm actually beginning at verse three, because I want to make a point. He says in verse three, trust in the Lord and do good. Verse four, delight yourself in the Lord. Verse five, commit your way to the Lord. Verse seven, be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way over the man who carries out evil devices. Refrain from anger and forsake wrath.

Fret not yourself, it tends only to evil, for the evil doer shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. Psalm 37 is a contrast between human manipulation and the human timetable and God's timetable. And the purpose of this message is to help all of us to fit into God's timetable to get in step with what God wants to do in our lives rather than us running ahead of God, doing our own thing, and then praying like everything that he'll bless us in the process.

This is a Psalm that's going to teach us to slow down and to let God be God. Here's the agenda for the next 20, 25 minutes. We're going to investigate five different things for which we should wait for God. And then at the end of the message, I'm going to tell you how to wait, and we're all going to leave changed and different.

Thank you for joining us on the journey. For what shall we wait? First, number one, we wait for justice. We wait for justice.

Isn't that exactly what the text says that I've read? Be patient before the Lord and wait. Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices. If you are the victim of evil devices and evil people, the answer to you from God is wait, because you'll notice it also talks about later on that the wicked shall be cut off.

And you'll notice it says in verse 35, I have seen a wicked, ruthless man spreading himself like a green laurel tree, but he passed away and behold, he was no more. Wait on God. Now we should do all that we possibly can to bring justice to every situation in life that is under our control, to fight on behalf of justice for the poor, for the marginalized. And we should do all that we possibly can within our power. But you and I know because we've lived long enough to know that there are all kinds of situations over which we have no control.

We have no way to be able to bring justice either for ourselves and for others. And we fret. Notice the text says, do not fret. If you wait on God, your fret level will decrease because you'll finally say, God, I wait for justice from your hand and not mine. You say, well, how long do we have to wait? Well, to show you how God wants to develop patience in our lives, in the book of Revelation chapter six, verse nine, it says, I saw the souls of those who were beneath the altar and they were crying the souls of the martyrs that had been slain, it says, and they were crying and they were saying, oh, God, how long until you avenge our blood on those that are on the earth? And God says, I'm giving you robes and you still have to wait a little longer. You say, well, that's a long time to wait. Yes, it is a long time to wait, but we're talking about patience and we're talking about faith in a just God. Here in America, we have a number of different courts.

You have a lower court that makes one ruling that may be overturned by a higher court, and eventually it may work its way up to the Supreme Court. And you and I need to be absolutely convinced that every unanswered justice on planet Earth will eventually appear at the Supreme Court of the universe. And that wicked man and that injustice will be addressed so that throughout all of eternity, we will sing praise and honor to him. Just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints. My question to you is today, are you willing to wait for God? Are you willing to wait for God? That's the question, because, listen, a person who waits on God is a person who believes that no good is really accomplished in this world unless it is God who does it. And God may do it through his people, but it has to be wrought by God himself.

So we wait for justice. We wait for special blessings. You'll notice it says in verse nine, evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. And notice also the same idea in verse 34 when I read, wait for the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land. You will look on when the wicked are cut off.

Wait for the Lord and keep his way and he will exalt you. The Old Testament, the way in which you were blessed is you inherited the land. God promised Abraham the land, and later on it was divided among the tribes.

You know that history. And land was very important. There was a direct connection between God's blessing and the land. There was a direct connection between God's blessing and whether or not you had a good crop or whether or not you had lots of sheep and goats. In the New Testament, that does not apply in the same way.

But it does apply this way. We all want to be blessed, don't we? Oh, that you might bless us indeed and that your hand might be upon us. And we all seek God's blessing. Now, God has already wondrously blessed us in Jesus, but there are times when we say, you know, I really want to live a life that is blessed by God. You cannot do it unless you wait for God.

You have to wait for God. There are two examples of waiting for blessing in the scripture. Remember the story of Jacob and Esau. Esau was the older son, and yet God says that the elder, the oldest son, will serve the younger. He'll serve Jacob. So what does Jacob and his mother do? They plot and they plan and they trick Jacob's father.

And they work this plan and they end up lying and they end up splitting the family apart for 20 years with bitterness. Why in the world were we doing that? God promised him the blessing. If he had simply waited, God would have brought it about in his own way, in his own good time. But Jacob was out of step with God. His mother, Rebekah, was out of step with God.

And they said, we're going to accomplish this according to our own way and according to our own timetable. And they paid the price. They would not wait on God. Positive example is David. God says, David, I've anointed you to be king and I've rejected Saul. You'd think then that David would want to overcome Saul on two opportunities. He had the privilege of killing him if he would have taken it, but he wouldn't do it. He said, I'm not going to put forth my hand and touch the Lord's anointed. I am going to wait for God to give me the kingdom and for 10 long years, David is pursued by Saul to the point that David actually became insane.

He allowed saliva to run down his beard. He joined the army of the Philistines of all things of the enemy. And you know that evil people can drive you insane. They can. Because all of their view of reality, you see, is skewed and you begin to wonder, you know, am I the sane one or are they insane?

And and they can really catch you off balance. And Saul did that to David. But David said, God, if you've given me the kingdom, I will wait for the kingdom.

I will wait on you. And he got it in God's time, not his. So third, we wait for special blessing.

Don't force the hand of God. Third, we wait for strength. Here I'm turning to another passage that you need not look at.

I'll simply quoted to you because it's very familiar. Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 31. They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and they shall not faint. Waiting on God.

It says in Psalm 27, verse 14. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord. Dozens of times, the Bible tells us to wait for God. Wait on the Lord and you'll renew your strength physically.

Yes, I think so. I think that it is can be applied physically to physical strength. I know a pastor who's a very good pastor and a very good preacher, but he continually is struggling with the disease. He finds it very difficult to walk. And one day when he and I were together, I was preaching at his church. He said, he said, I'm so tired tonight.

And I said, yes, I know that feeling, too. But I said to him, remember, the Holy Spirit is never tired. God is never tired. 24 seven. God is never tired.

We are. And they who wait for the Lord renew their strength physically. They renew their strength spiritually. You'll notice it says, take courage and wait for the Lord.

You're facing something tomorrow that's difficult, a situation at work that's bursting upon you. And you're tempted to do the wrong thing because it seems to be the convenient thing. What you must do is to wait on God. And in the process, allow God to work his will and to give you the courage to do what is right. They who wait on God renew their strength.

We also wait on God for guidance. Chapter twenty five, verse five. If you want to turn back now in the book of Psalms, just a few pages from where you are in Chapter twenty five, Psalm twenty five. And how delightful it is for me to hear the rustling of leaves from the Bible for those of you who have one and bring it.

God bless you. You'll notice it says in Psalm twenty five, verses four and five. Make me to know your ways, O Lord. Teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation.

For you I wait all day long. Two examples, one from scripture, the other from life. The Bible says that Joshua, when he came into the land, he was tricked by the Gibeonites.

Do you remember that story? They said, we're coming from a distance. And so they took moldy bread and they put it in their satchels and they acted as if they were from a distance because God says don't make a covenant with the people who are from the land. So they came and they said, oh, we came from a long, long way and Joshua makes a covenant that he's not going to kill them, that they are not, he's not going to fight against them, that they're going to be able to live among them. And those Gibeonites were a thorn in his side.

But here's the phrase you should always remember. It says regarding Joshua, he asked not the counsel of the Lord. It seemed so right. He thought there are some things you don't have to ask God about.

I mean, it's clear these people came from a distance. It's perfectly legitimate for us to make a covenant with him, but he can't see around corners and God can. And those Gibeonites irritated the Israelites for generations because he asked not the counsel of the Lord. One of the interesting things to me as a pastor is why it is that some people marry so unhappily. Most people when they are married don't go down the aisle saying, pastor, we're here today and we're committed to misery.

We're really committed to misery. Yet 10 years later, that's what happens. I think of a woman I knew who was counsel to not marry a certain man and she said, quote, I'm unhappy single. I might as well be unhappy married. So she married him.

Later on, she learned that it's much better to want what you don't have than to have what you don't want. Young people, there's something far worse than singleness. In fact, singleness is a great blessing and we should preach in our churches about the glories of singleness because God can use you in ways that those of us who are married can't be used because we have other commitments. But the simple fact is that there are so many people who do not ask the counsel of the Lord. They may ask God to bless their marriage, but they don't say, God, I'm asking your counsel.

I wait for you all day long for the decision. They don't do that. And look at where they end up. Number of years ago when I was a teacher at Moody Bible Institute, and I'm glad to see some Moody students here today. When I was a teacher there, I was having lunch with a student who had graduated several years previously. And he said, I'm going into medicine. But he said, it is so tough.

It is so competitive. He said, I, this is my lifelong dream and I fear I'm going to fail, he said. But he said, in my anxiety, I find I can't study. I'm not sleeping well.

I can hardly eat because of the anxiety. I said to him, no problem. We can take care of that right here. Well, my friend, you're certainly going to have to listen to Running to Win next time to find out the advice that I gave to this student.

How do we take care of these issues? Waiting for God, trusting God. You know, this is the second to last day that we are giving you the opportunity of supporting the ministry of Running to Win and having your gift multiplied. Several of our friends have said that they are willing to double any gift given to this ministry up to $90,000. Well, that means that your $10 becomes 20, your 50 becomes 100. And you, of course, can do the mathematics. But here's what I'd like you to do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. I'll be giving you that info again or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Many years ago, I was in Romania, and I was so surprised that our ministry is so widely known in that country.

Running to Win actually is in four different languages in 20 different countries just because of people like you. Would you help us? And would you have your gift maximized? Here is what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. I want to thank you in advance for your generosity.

rtwoffer.com or call us right now at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks in advance for joining the Running to Win family. It's time again for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Pastor Lutzer, for many, sexual sin seems to rank as the worst kind.

Elsie listens to Running to Win in Zeeland, Michigan, and has these two questions. When David sinned sexually, did he go and sin no more? And can one ever be healed from sexual betrayal?

Thank you so much for your question, and I'm simply going to answer the question as you gave it. First of all, when David sinned sexually, did he go and sin no more? We have no evidence that he sinned in the same way, again sexually. Now, he had numerous wives, but the Bible does not in any way list another sexual escapade such as he had with Bathsheba, and we certainly hope that he, quote, went and sinned no more.

Your second question is a little bit more difficult. Can one ever be healed from sexual betrayal? I take this to mean that you have been betrayed, and you've been betrayed, and you're asking the question, can you be healed from it? Well, that's a difficult story. It would be interesting to sit down and to counsel you and find out exactly what the story is, because on the one hand, the answer is yes, particularly if the person who betrayed you is willing to ask forgiveness and again work on integrity and trust issues.

If that person continues to violate, however, the trust, then of course another course of action has to be taken. If you're asking the question, do you ever forget it? Do you ever experience healing?

The answer is yes. If there is forgiveness, if there's reconciliation, and if there isn't, bottom line, you still must forgive. You must experience your own healing. After all, the Bible says that God heals the brokenhearted, but it's not an easy path.

I suggest that you talk to a counselor who will guide you along the way so that you don't get stuck in the past. Thank you, Elsie, for sharing your questions, and thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for those answers. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Next time, David waited 10 years for his kingship. We also can learn to wait for God. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-04 13:25:44 / 2023-03-04 13:34:39 / 9

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