Friday, November 2, 2012

Anticipating God or following him?

Last gasp of beauty: hostas
The Old Testament is full of God's promises.

As I've been reading, I'm struck by two choices people make, believing God's provisions in the present and the future:
1) Bible characters get impatient and try to make the promises come true. Then they blame others for their mistakes:
  • Adam and Eve try to gain wisdom by eating the apple. They blame each other and the serpent. They get thrown out of paradise and have to forage for food. They know more, but at what cost!
  • Sarai tries to perpetuate Abram's lineage by having Abraham impregnate her maid, Hagar. Sarah blames Abraham for Hagar's pride and mockery and forces Ishmael and his mother into the wilderness. Arab tribes come from Ishmael's 12 sons: the boys and their descendents have been at war with everyone from the very start, yet they became "princes" because Abraham loved Ishmael prayed a blessing over him and his tribe.
  • King Saul sacrifices because he gets restless, waiting for Samuel to appear. He claims that he has done what God asked and blames the soldiers for keeping the spoils. Saul loses his trusted mentor Samuel: he never sees him again. God abandons Saul and gives his kingdom to another family.
The patience of God's creation: tall and strong
2) Bible characters work and wait for God to make the promises come true. When they make mistakes, they confess their shortcoming and ask God's forgiveness.
  • Noah builds the ark for over a century; finally God gives him the go-ahead and he and his family are spared the floodwaters. If he'd gone in and shut the door before God told him to, the food would have been eaten, most animals wouldn't have been rescued, and Noah would have been confined for nothing. Instead, he and his family become the foundation of human families.
  •  Abraham hears God say that he and Sarah would have a son when he's nearly 100; he gives it another go and Isaac is conceived. He lives for 75 more years, long enough to see Isaac marry and begin his own family. (Oh yeah: after Sarah's death, Abraham has 6 more sons by his Keturah and perhaps a few more concubines. Not such a great idea to start the Midianites and create other enemies for Isaac's line. Sigh.)
  • David refuses to usurp the kingdom from Saul even when Samuel has told him he's the next king. Even when "God-given opportunities" put Saul into harm's way. Even when everyone's advising him not to waste time. After Saul's death, David waits 7 more years for Saul's family to relinquish control before ruling all the tribes. God says David is a man after his own heart, and that his family's rule will never end.
Our driveway in fall: the leaves
are beautiful even in death
Sometimes it seems like God is waiting for us to seize the moment. To make things happen. To move ahead and MAKE God's promises come true. Yet in doing so, we ruin the opportunities where God intends to do the miraculous, beyond our own abilities or imagination.

Noah is saved. Abraham becomes a great nation. The Messiah comes from "the root of Jesse:" David.

Our driveway in autumn, glorious color
before the grey wait for spring's new growth
What does your future hold? Did God whisper a dream into your heart? You can anticipate it, force it to life, and perhaps spoil its fulfillment. Or you can trust God to make the vision come true in his own time, with his perfect timing, wisdom, and power.

It's your choice. What are you waiting for?

Read more:
*Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6

*It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26

*Stand firm, and you will win life. Luke 21:19 (NIV)

Moravian Prayer: God, we are still and silent and know that you are God. Strong in your assurance, we loudly rejoice your unyielding presence. Be our firm and guiding light.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this awesome word. So good. I've so often done it wrong. Learning to do it right. Thanks for the encouragement to trust God and wait for His timing for the dreams he's given me.