Waiting on God Patiently
7 Therefore be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brothers and sisters, against one another, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brothers and sisters, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
There is a real mixture of behavior among the people to whom James is writing. There are folks who are talking bad about others. There are folks who treat people bad who are poor. There are folks who are ambitious and selfish and inconsiderate of others. There are people who claim to be believers but their lives don’t look any different from the heathen.
If you are living amongst them all, it can get tiresome.
What is the alternative to waiting patiently on God? Taking matters into our own hands? Giving up on resisting sin in our lives?
- Reasons Why We Need Patience
- The world is tainted by sin
We know instinctively that things in the world do not work according to our desires and that it is not right. Either the world is not right or else our desires are not right. In reality, both are not right. Life is complicated. Eastern religions tell us to empty ourselves of desire. Our faith tells us to find our desires met in God. We have a place to set our hearts that is healthy, good and will satisfy us! We have the indwelling Holy Spirit to give us life.
- Relationships with people are complicated
Adam and Eve sin:
- They do not take responsibility for their own weaknesses. They blame.
- Cain and Abel both make sacrifices. God accepts Abel’s and rejects Cain’s. Cain does not take responsibility for himself, instead he attacks and kills his brother who has not done him any harm.
- Tower of Babel: people seek to replace God through cooperative efforts and new technology.
In the book of James, there are many issues with people that are raised!
- Relationships with ourselves is complicated
Sin darkens our understanding
We are likely to blame others and not take responsibility for what is ours.
Romans 7 conflict followed by Romans 8 victory!
James 3 and 4 humility as a solution!
- Examples of Patience from Scripture
- Abraham waited for twenty years
God promises him descendants like the sands on the seashore! Genesis 12
- Eleazar of Damascus: Genesis 15 Natural descent
Genesis 15: 1After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
- Ishmael. Genesis 16:1-4 A husband’s will
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
- Isaac. Genesis 17: Born of God
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
- John 1:
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
- The Apostles waited and learned how to wait
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Get on with your life and what you know. Allow God to manage the times and outcomes!
- Job waited and God showed up
God did not explain Himself to Job because He did not need to. Job realized that God was the great I AM. He will be what He will be. God is the basic fundamental fact to which everyone else must adjust. You can’t get away from the fact that He is the Creator and we are living in His world.
The most profound statements in Job:
Job 1: 20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job 2: 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
40 The Lord said to Job:
2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”
3 Then Job answered the Lord:
4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”
6 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
III. We are Waiting on Jesus to Save
The farmer: rain at planting: Jesus’ first coming.
Rain before harvest to finish the crop: Jesus’ second coming.
- His first coming brought salvation
God’s salvation was not understood by His people! But to as many as received Him, He gave the right to become children of God!
- His second coming will save forever
The Last Days. James mentions this in the previous passage. The Lord’s coming: The expectation for the people in the first century is that Jesus would return imminently.
II Peter 3:
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation,
- God will act to save in our lives now
Your life is “producing a crop.”
Matthew 5: 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
As we live in a world that is sinful and complicated, we have a calling!
- We are to act as salt: Salt is a preservative. It helps to prevent rot and allows for life to go on because there is something to feed on that gives life. I believe this relates to the way that believers act. We act in such a way as to preserve the means to life. How does God want us to live? Look at all of the rest of Matthew 5!
- We are to act like a lamp for God. We show the way to live. We explain the gospel. And we join with God in moving people toward faith in Christ and the salvation that results!
27 Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.