Exodus 32 Do you have trouble waiting–especially for God to act, to speak, or “fill in the blank?”
Do you become impatient? Do you want to wait, but circumstances take over, and you decide to take matters into your own hands? The Israelites had just said, ‘we will obey.’ Yet when a test came into their lives to wait, their commitment was shallow. When the people “saw” that Moses still had not returned, they made a decision: Moses’ God wasn’t working on their time table. It won’t be the last time these Israelites have a problem with waiting. They became impatient with Samuel and said you are old and your sons don’t follow, so appoint us a king. King David’s prayer life reveals that he must have had trouble with waiting too, for he wrote three times for God to help him in ‘waiting.’ [Ps 17:14; 37:7, 62:5]
Why do we have a problem with waiting? We misperceive time. The drama of leaving Egypt was still fresh in their minds, and they were anxious to get to the Promised Land, yet God knew that they needed the skill of waiting because time had always been determined for them. Now they were being tested to see if their commitment was real. Sometimes as we wait, we yearn for routine, and we get bored. Without a routine, we get lazy, and we become discontented; we lack a commitment to the cause. Like the Israelites, we do not have perseverance. We think we have the plan all figured out, and we want God to do it ‘now.’ One author put it this way; Waiting reveals the best and the worst in us and also reveals our lack of understanding that God doesn’t work on our time table.
Are you having trouble waiting? Cultivate this skill through prayerful meditation and study.
2Kings 7 to 10 There are two kinds of people in this world; they either believe what is recorded in the Bible or they don’t believe. You can’t mix in those people who say they believe some of it. Those are still unbelievers. They have one thing in common; they see the evidence but cling to their unbelief. They are those who Paul names as the “excusers.” They look for excuses to not believe even when the evidence is before them. God has no mercy on those and at death, they will join the Luke 16 rich man in torments. It saddens me, how about you?
So what does have to do with today’s reading? The story begins and ends with a man who scoffed at Elisha’s prophecy of the salvation of a city. Lepers find the coats and armor and horses of the enemy left behind; go to the city to report it but the king surmises a ploy. He sends horses and men to check it out and the city is saved. In the end, the scoffer was trampled and died just as Elisha said he would because of his unbelief.
Is there any hope? Yes! God gives us a ray of sunshine in the Shunammite woman who obeyed Elisha, leaving her home to reside in Philistine territory during the famine. After the famine, she returns home to claim her land. In the palace Elisha’s servant, Gehazi just happened to be in the presence of the king and verified her story. The king returned her land and the profit of it during the years she was gone.
Both stories reveal the principle of belief vs unbelief and the rewards or consequences of each. Where do you fit in?