Trust begets Patience

1 Samuel 13: 7 – 14

Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?” Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

This is a classic mistake. I call it getting ahead of God. I have done it more times than I care to admit. I know what is supposed to happen, so I help God a little. The priest, Samuel says of this kind of thinking, “How foolish.” Saul got out ahead of God because he lacked trust. I reckon I make the same mistake for the same reason. Sometimes we need to just keep our hands in our pockets and expect the Lord to do as He says.

Saul took things into his own hands when the priest, Samuel, failed to show up on the day expected. Have you ever known God to be late? We joke about God’s 11th hour timing because it often feels like He is late to the party. We begin to get anxious and if we don’t check ourselves, the next thing that happens is we begin to “do” something. In fact, we almost don’t care what we do as long as it is motion. You can blow the whole thing in this way.

In my life, God has often withheld step two just to keep me from getting ahead of myself and Him. I do what He has shown me to do and then wait. Right now, though, God has given me a full vision of a project, right down to some very small details. I am dependent on other people though, so I want to get my personality involved and push them a little. It has been a major challenge for me to just do what the Lord has shown me to do and then take my hands off of it. I really, really want to start pushing some buttons, but I know that I need to wait and trust God. He will do what needs doing at the exact proper time. Saul destroyed himself and lost the throne for himself and his family by doing things the way he wanted to do them. He wasn’t just impatient though; he was also arrogant. That is not a good way to approach a project the Lord has partnered with you on. It is best for you and your project to wait on the Lord. And when I say wait, understand that Hebrew word implies trust, i.e. that you await the Lord trusting that He has all well in hand. Be patient knowing the Lord’s timing is best.

Rest, Relax

Psalm 37: 7

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

Here is faith and trust in action. Patience is not supposed to be a nail-biting period of endurance. It is supposed to be easy for us because of our faith in God. We should be able to rest during the time of patience rather than being in a barely contained frenzy. Patience is the product of absolute faith that God is well able to carry out all of his good promises. When you have that kind of trust in Him, you are able to relax. Rest and await His deliverance. Do not be anxious. He has your every need in mind and is already moving resources to their proper place so that at the appointed time, all will be in readiness. Rest. Relax. He has it all well in hand.

Wait, Wait

Lamentations 3: 25

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

I did an interview in the spring about my book Journey Through the Bible. Since the book is a day by day sojourn through every book of the Bible the interviewer asked me if there were any particular books that I did not look forward to as much as others. I will have to say that the book of Lamentations is not up there with Isaiah on the list of Bible books I migrate towards. None the less, one of the insights that I believe is gleaned from the Journey Through the Bible is that every single book of the Bible has great wisdom and inspiration for today. Just look at this golden nugget hidden away in Lamentations. For the full interview please visit,

Yesterday we read Psalm 40, verses 1- 4. The passage begins with, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me.” Couple that with “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,” and you have a powerful insight. Those who have been reading the Word of the Day for a while have come to know that there is substantial benefit to those who seek God. Certainly that is a part of today’s message, but we are also learning that waiting for God has benefits.

So many times I have gotten out in front of God. That never works. There has been an entire category of transformation in my life which is about letting God do the heavy lifting. In other words, we can work with God in our daily lives so that He is actually making things happen while we do the praying and whatever else He directs. At the root of getting in front of God is a profound lack of trust. In my case, I didn’t really believe down in my heart that God was a proactive, everyday, involved kind of Father. Therefore, my response to situations, even after praying, was to throw the full force of my personality and effort into accomplishing everything in my own strength. Now I recognize that as spiritual immaturity but that is where I was. Reading a passage like today’s verse encourages me, as I hope it does you, to have more patience and to trust God.

Remember the old saying, “Good things come to those who wait”? Who knew that was biblical? So take a deep breath; brew yourself a cup of coffee, sit down and relax. Talk to your father and allow Him to speak to your situation. Wait on Him and good things will come to you.

No Problem

Psalm 40: 1 – 4

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.

I found this today while I was searching out another topic and thought it was the sort of good news you may be happy to hear. It is all good and reassuring but what struck me was that the writer, David, waited patiently for the Lord. Maybe that is where I miss it sometimes.

His patient waiting is an indication of his trust in the Lord. Despite the circumstances, regardless of the fear and worry raging in his heart, David learned how to stay at peace and trust that God was going to make an appearance. It worked too. David waited and God showed up and took care of all of the problems. The next thing we hear from David is that he is singing praises to the King.

David’s example can be an example to us all and that is what David expected. Many will read his words and, through him, experience the grace of God. Through this vicarious encounter with God, we can all learn to trust in the Lord.

I know you have struggles. If you are breathing, there are still challenges to be worked out. No problem! We have a God who specializes in problems. We just need to learn to roll the care of all of those situations over onto Him and then in fullness of trust, wait patiently for our savior to work it all out. Our part is to believe, trust and sing. I think I can do this. How about you?

Compassionate Grace

Exodus 34: 6 – 7

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.

How often have you heard about the angry, vengeful God of the Old Testament? Well, here He is full of compassion, grace, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. You know, we’ve got to be careful about what we listen to. Show me the scriptures! Give me evidence! When we actually look at the Old Testament, especially in its entirety, we find a God who was long on patience and whose actions were characterized by lovingkindness.

God is love and He so loved all of us that He sent His only begotten son to the cross for us. No one sends there only son to suffer and die for people He doesn’t love. He gave everything precious to Him so that we could be saved. Is that evidence of a vengeful God. And think about it this way . . . didn’t Jesus come to earth, suffer and die in the Old Testament? The new dispensation and the new covenant could not be ushered in until Jesus went to the cross, died and arose so all that we celebrate in the Christian faith about resurrection, salvation and the new birth is based on the Old Covenant love of God.

Yahweh has always been a full of compassion and lovingkindness. When Moses hid himself so that God could pass before him, what he saw and reported was that this God was full of graciousness, truth and compassion. We learn that God was and is slow to anger. How can we justifiably describe Him as angry when He is slow to anger? Does that make any sense at all?

The truth is that God is as He always was. He has not changed. His love for us has always motivated His actions. The fact that He did not send a lightning storm and strike down the grumbling, complaining Israelites in the desert is proof enough of His long suffering. Not one among us is as patient or as slow to anger as our Divine Father and yet we accuse Him of being impatient and merciless. It is just not true. We’ve been lied to but now we know.

Never be afraid of your heavenly Father. Never fear seeking counsel and communion with Him. He is gentle and kind. In fact, He is the most gentle being that has ever inhabited this universe. His compassion knows no boundaries. I love Jesus and I know you do too but we must remember that Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father. Jesus is the way. The way to what? To the Father. Jesus’ mission was to bring us back into relationship with the Father when we, like the prodigal son, sinned against Him and went astray. All the while, the Father was awaiting us, His eyes searching the horizon, a gold ring and new robe in Hands readied to drape us in the family colors and crest. He is the one who was deprived yet He longingly awaited our return, every day searching the road in the anticipation of our appearance. He never lost faith. He put the sacrificial lamb on the alter so that we would be able to approach Him with a clean conscience. This is the act of love, not anger.

The God of the Old Testament is a loving God, full of grace and mercy, abounding in compassionate concern.

God . . . bears all things

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things.

Love abides all things and survives. The ERV Bible reads, “Love never gives up on people.” It is good, no, it is great that God loves us with this kind of affection. No matter what we do; no matter how far we may have traveled from the path, His love never gives up on us. Another translation says, “Love never stops being patient” (God’s Word). That is a bit hard to imagine but He never, ever gives up on anyone. He is patient with us as we endeavor to find our way. God still loves that person that we think of as being far from the truth. That is not to say that He approves of their path or choices but His love remains undiminished. There is not one thing any of us can do to make God love us even one iota less than if we were perfect. His love cannot be earned with any amount of good works or perfect behavior. He loves us because at the foundation of the earth He chose to. When He first envisioned human beings He made a decision to love us and the only way God can love is as the unfettered, unearned, patient, caring love that He is. He is bound by who He is and He is love as it is defined in this chapter. Love bears up under all things. It does not fail because of wrongs suffered. God’s love is perfect.

We can love in the same way but it is important to say that while we can continue to love someone who has wronged us we do not stay yoked with people who abuse us. We continue to love them as God does and we can pray with God’s kind of love issuing from our hearts but that is not the same as allowing ourselves to be mistreated. Relationships are built upon reciprocal kindness. I want you to accept God’s love as He means it and I want you to love others with the love that God gives you. I do not want you to think that makes you a victim to every person that wants to abuse you. That is not God’s best for you. We have to be wise in whom we associate with. The book of Proverbs teaches us that. God is not raising up victims but rather victors. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. We can and should express God’s love in this world because in Jesus we are the light of the world. Let your light shine by letting more of God’s love fill you. He is the love that never gives up on you, the love that bears all things.

Putting on the Ritz

Colossians 3: 12 – 13

And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

We are the chosen of God. We have been adopted into the family of God by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and we are now joint heirs with Abraham. We are holy and beloved. Therefore, God wants us to walk in a manner worthy of our high calling. We are to put on the character of Jesus and walk in Him and in the manner of his calling on us. Our lives should be typified by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. For these are the characteristics of Christ himself and the life we now live we live in Him. If anyone is lacking in any of these attributes, he should ask of the Lord Jesus and he who gives all freely will anoint you with all you need so that you might also walk in all the grace which he has poured out on mankind. It is a high calling to walk in this kind of grace and fellowship. It is the high calling of Jesus on our lives. So put on Christ and be transformed.