Profile of a woman silhouette watching sun on the beach at sunset

by Brian Shilhavy

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:15-18)

The Jews were facing certain destruction at the hands of the Assyrian army. In the physical realm, it looked hopeless. The enemy was too strong! So they started to act in the way they thought was best, by looking to Egypt for help against a common enemy.

But God sent them a message through his messenger, the prophet Isaiah. The message: wait! The answer to their problem did not lie in alliances with other countries or by running away: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” The solution to their problem did not lie in the physical realm. The answer was in their relationship to their Creator. They needed to repent of their sins, and then simply wait in quietness and trust.

Waiting is difficult, however. It is always easier to take action immediately and take matters into our own hands.

Yet learning to trust in the Lord and wait for His timing reaps great benefits!

The leaders of Israel, who listened to the word of the Lord and waited, saw great victory in the face of seemingly hopeless situations. Read about King Hezekiah who did just that in 2 Kings 18:17 through 2 Kings 19. The result was that “the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp” forcing their troops to withdraw from their attack on Jerusalem.

The Jews never even had to fight! The words of Isaiah were proven true: “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (See above)

Isaiah the prophet had a keen understanding of the principle of “waiting” upon God, and wrote about it often. He stated that those who waited upon God could gain great physical strength:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.

Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isa 40:28-31)

This phenomenon of great physical strength was observed many times among the people who waited for God in faith. David waited on God for probably more than 10 years before he was installed as king over Judah and Israel, and all during that time he faced tremendous persecution and had to constantly hide from King Saul who sought to kill him. A couple of times David had the opportunity to kill Saul himself and end the madness, but he refrained, choosing instead to wait for God’s timing. David’s writings in the Psalms frequently attest to the great advantages of waiting for God:

A Psalm of David. To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for you will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. Make me 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 the day. (Psalm 25:1-5)

Waiting = Faith

Waiting for the Lord is not strictly related to just the physical battlefield either. Waiting for God is related to faith in God, trusting that he controls all things and has a master plan where everything works out in the end to accomplish his purposes.

Waiting is a kind of trust knowing that things as we see them now will not always be the same, because God controls the past, present, and future. This kind of waiting and faith takes away all cause for anger towards injustice, and the things in life that just don’t seem fair:

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. (Psalms 37:7-9)

Today, unfortunately, we live in a world that has no patience, and where waiting has no value. We are taught that “time is money,” and time is seen as a commodity that can be bought and sold, and something that should not be wasted.

But time is also eternal, and in light of eternity, its value for the present becomes greatly diminished. Believing that one has no time to wait, or no time to spend getting to know our Creator, is a huge misconception.

When our current culture approaches the issue of sickness, for example, we believe that we don’t have time to wait for our healing, or an extended period of time to rest and to seek the Lord for understanding about what his purpose might be in our illness.

Viewing time as a commodity and something that should not be wasted in “unproductive” rest and waiting, we seek “magic” pills instead to make us feel better, never taking the time to wait and understand what the underlying cause of our illness is, and the long-term cure, because we believe we don’t have time to wait.

How tragic! The result is that today, “properly” prescribed drugs (separate from the recreational use of drugs which is also a big problem) is now the third leading cause of death in the US, causing more than 106,000 deaths each year. Unfortunately, impatience often kills.

Waiting on the Lord, however, can bring great healing. Are you willing to wait?

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion… Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31)

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