These are the notes I’m taking with me to Ladies’ Bible class tonight. We are studying from Rosemary McKnight’s book Those Who Wait. There are 3 or 4 of us that rotate teaching responsibilities. I just get to teach 3 or 4 lessons from the book so I don’t post a lesson plan for this class very frequently. You may ask why I would post it at all. For some reason, I find that I can put my thoughts down on a blog easier than I can white paper or even in a word processor. It may be that I find it easier to write something if I think I have an audience. Notice the word think there. I never know if anyone is going to read anything I put here but there is the chance so it makes me more accountable.
We are 2/3 through with our book. We have studied quite a bit about waiting on God. I think we have all learned the value of waiting on His time and not trying to do things on our schedule. We’ve studied Isaiah 40, specifically verse 31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and note be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” We’ve discussed how God made known to us the lives of others who waited on Him. In particular, we studied Joseph, Job, Elijah, Jesus. We also discussed women like Sarah and Hannah. Through these people’s lives we gain the confidence that if they can wait on God, so can we. If they can accept the conditions of their life, so can we. We are not in control.
We’ve learned that waiting on God means that we must be still and know what His will is. We can’t be so busy with our everyday lives that we don’t hear when He speaks to us. We must become so involved with God and His Word that we don’t wonder what God wants us to do — we know. We must trust in God’s love for us and power over all things that He will help us and never leave us. We must be willing to live the life God has created us for not one that we think we’d like to live.
We’ve learned that there are things we can do while we wait. We can get a closer relationship with God through prayer and study of His word. We can spend our time doing good for others. We can prepare ourselves for the next chapter of our lives. We can spread the good news of Christ so others can share in the same comfort and salvation that we experience. We learned that the life experiences we gain while we are waiting enables us to have more compassion on others in the same situation. They give a different way of looking at things. They strengthen our faith and help build our character.
Tonight, we’re going to step back from our regular study format and spend much time with God. We are going to read lots of scripture that instructs us to wait on God and it will give us hope, patience, strength, courage, happiness, confidence and help us be obedient.
The first thought that may run through one’s mind when they hear that we’re going to spend lots of time reading God’s Word is, “oh no — not that again.” I hear some people talk about reading God’s Word as if it was such a chore. When discussing daily Bible reading habits I know of people that consider reading 2 or 3 verses with their children at the start of the day to be sufficient. At that rate, they might never get the Bible read. On the other hand, those same people can display stacks of books that they have either read aloud to their children or their children are reading on their own. If we all read the Bible as voraciously as we read the current novel/series that comes out or the classic books that most people consider a “must read” for a well educated mind, then we would have a lot less Biblical illiteracy in our world. When I start talking about reading the Bible there always seems to be someone that uses the excuse that they can’t read ALL the Bible — not all those genealogies and lists. And what about the prophets? Who can even understand them?
If we take a look at men that God held in high esteem we can see that they literally LOVED His Word. All of it. They don’t say things like, “I love most of Your law.” or “I love the stories from Your law.” We need to cultivate a love for God’s Word — all of it. Yes, some of it is hard to understand. Some of it is tedious to read through. Some of it is violent and even very sad. But these are the words that God saw fit to inspire the writers to write down so that we, many years later, could learn from, be inspired by and love. It is similar to cultivating a love for healthy food. It’s easy to love the yummy stuff like cake and ice cream. It’s even palatable and enjoyable to eat fresh veggies and fruit. But if given the choice, most of us would choose a bowl of ice cream over an apple or carrot. That’s the way it is with our reading. If there is a Bible sitting next to a magazine on the coffee table, we’re probably more likely to pick up the magazine. It’s light reading, colorful, and doesn’t expect much out of us. When we’re through, we haven’t gained much for our time though. If we choose the Bible, we’ve gained a closer relationship with God and help to live the life of a Christian and, yes, a higher expectation for our actions.
So, let’s start reading tonight from Psalms. Most of the Psalms were written by David. David was a man after God’s own heart. David loved God and God’s Word. This is a man that we should go to when we’re trying to develop a love of God’s word. The Psalm that comes to mind is 119. Yes, it’s the longest book in the Bible. That’s ok. It talks throughout the entire Psalm about the writer’s love of God’s Word, His Statutes, His Way, His Judgments, His Testimonies, His Commandments, His Law, His Righteousness, His Precepts. These are all words that describe the same thing. Notice how many ways he describes his love for God’s Word.
READ Psalm 119
I hope reading that not only gave us all encouragement and inspiration to have a true love of God’s Word but to know that reading long sections of the Bible is not only painless but actually gives more meaning than breaking it up into little choppy sections. We could have read the first 8 verses and gotten a pretty good idea that the writer loves God’s Word but the writer wasn’t through. He wanted to make it perfectly clear that he really, really loved God’s Word.
Now let’s look at our lesson:
As we read the passages that Rosemary McKnight has chosen for us, let us think of them as diamonds that we are searching for. Diamonds are what a girl wants so spiritual diamonds are wanted by girls that are spiritually minded. When we find a verse or a chapter that comforts us in time of need or strengthens us in time of weakness then we can consider it a diamond. As we incorporate its truths into our lives, others see its brilliance and benefit from the treasure we’ve found as well.
The Israelites coming out of Egyptian bondage are a wonderful example of a people that waited on the Lord. They didn’t wait willingly and I don’t even know if they really knew who they were waiting on but they were definitely in a holding pattern for 400 years. When they were delivered from slavery, they had nothing, knew nothing, could do nothing. They had to rely totally and completely on God. They thought they knew things and could do things and God spent the next 40 years teaching them that they must rely on Him. As we wait on God, we become helpless as well. We must learn (and the sooner the better) that we must depend on God for everything.
We wait with hope — not just a wishful thinking for something we’d like to have or do. We have a true hope that God is real and that we can eventually live with Him eternally. That is true hope.
- Psalm 62:5,6
- Psalm 13:5,6
- Psalm 39:7
- Micah 7:7
We wait patiently. Trying to speed up the process like Sarah and Abraham did does not help God or ourselves. We learn to be patient and less self-centered.
- Romans 8:25
- Psalm 37:7
- Psalm 40:1
God gives us strength and courage while we wait. How could we ever grow weary or faint if we know that the God that created it all is there with us and for us.
- Psalm 27:14
- Isaiah 33:2
We learn to obey and love God. These are not just things we say we do or that we kid ourselves into believing that we’re good at. We truly obey and love God. Notice phrases like “walking in the way of your law”, “keep His way”,”They quickly forgot His works”, “you must return to God”. All are words describing obedience to God.
- Isaiah 26:8
- Psalm 25:5
- Psalm 37:34
- Psalm 106:13
- Hosea 12:6
We learn to be happy while we wait. Even if I don’t get my way like Habakkuk, I will be happy as I wait on the Lord. Those who wait on the Lord are blessed (happy).
- Isaiah 30:18
- Habakkuk 8:16-19
We learn confidence as we wait. We know who our God is and that He will do what He says. We are confident that our waiting will not be in vain.
- Psalm 38:15
- Psalm 33:20,21
- Psalm 25:3
- Psalm 62:1
- Proverbs 20:22
- Isaiah 8:17
- Isaiah 64:4,5
- Lamentations 3:25, 26
We are all ultimately waiting for the same thing — Jesus’ return. We all know that He may come tonight or He may come long after we are dead and buried. We wait.
- Romans 8:23
- Philippians 3:20
- 1 Thessalonians 1:9,10
- Titus 2:13,14
- Hebrews 9:28
To God be the glory! We wait but we don’t pout, we don’t feel sorry for ourselves, we praise God and lift Him up. We share Him with others. We want them to know that God is our God and that we will do whatever He asks of us no matter how long it takes to come about (remember Abraham and the land promised to him) or whether or not it’s what society thinks it was worth waiting for.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
And back to Psalm 119:
David said, “Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart….Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Psalm 119:34, 97)