Isaiah 30:18

I. GOD'S WAITING FOR US. "Will the Lord wait." We may look at:

1. The occasions of his waiting. He waits "that he may be gracious."

(1) That he may show his grace in forgiveness; in "having mercy upon as," or in making us to feel that we are the subjects of his mercy.

(2) That he may show his grace in interposition, delivering from danger, relieving from distress, saving in sickness.

(3) That he may show his grace in final and complete redemption (Romans 8:23) - the taking his children away from the struggle and sorrow of earth to the rest and joy of heaven.

2. The reason of his waiting. It is because "the Lord is a God of judgment," or of rectitude.

(1) He cannot forgive us till we return in spirit to him and accept his rule, until we obey his supreme command (John 6:29).

(2) He cannot interpose until his intervention is fitted to purify and sanctify us.

(3) He cannot call us home until the privilege and discipline of time have prepared us for the scenes and spheres of eternity.

II. OUR WAITING FOR GOD. "Blessed are all they that wait for him."

1. Blessed is the patient inquirer; for he who seeks the truth and waits till light shines in upon his soul will surely find his goal.

2. Blessed is the patient worker; for he who sows the good seed of the kingdom and waits for God to give the increase will "doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

3. Blessed is the patient sufferer; for he who "waits for the morning" through the night of pain, or loneliness, or poverty, or any other ill, will find that the glory which is to be revealed will make the sufferings of the present time incomparably small (Romans 8:18). Now God waits for us, and we for him. A few steps more and his largest promises and our highest hopes will be all fulfilled. - C.







And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you.
We are all familiar with the waiting hours of life, when the stream hardly seems to move, or the air to stir; when the heart grows sick with deferred hope. There are hours on languid summer days when all nature seems to have become stagnant — the aspen leaf does not quiver; the fish does not rise in the pool; the hum of the bee becomes less frequent and more drowsy; and the shadow hardly moves on the dial — and these hours in nature find their counterpart in the monotony of life's common round, the commonplace routine of its daily task. Such waiting times were wearily passing over the godly at Jerusalem while the invader was drawing his coils ever nearer to the doomed city, and the ambassadors were being cajoled in Egypt by false hopes; and ceaseless prayers to God were apparently bringing no response. To such the prophet addressed these words, encouraging them to believe that God was not unmindful of their case, but was waiting that He might act more graciously towards them than He could by answering them at once.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

He waits that He may be gracious; i.e., until there is such a combination of circumstances, and such a refining of character, that He can do ever so much better than if He had interposed in the first moments of our agonised appeal.

I. HE DOES NOT DELAY BECAUSE OF ANY CAPRICE. Heaven has no favourites, who are always served first.

II. HE DOES NOT DELAY BECAUSE OF ANY NEGLECT. A woman may forget her sucking child, but our Saviour cannot forget us.

III. HE DOES NOT DELAY BECAUSE HE DENIES. The remittance is not sent as asked; yet that does not prove that it is not there in our name, but only that it is being kept at interest, accumulating till it reach a higher figure, and be more of service, because coming at a time of greater need.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

What results are served by this prolonged delay!

1. The energy of the flesh dies down. There is nothing which so tames and subdues us as waiting. And there is no kinder thing that God can do for us than to destroy the egotism, the self-assertiveness of our life, and to bring its pride to the dust. Waiting with mountains on either side, the sea in front, and the lee behind, is enough to empty the stoutest heart of its self-confidence, and to make it cry out to the strong for aid.

2. We often cease to want the very things on which we had set our hearts. Thus it has happened, as the years have passed, that we have seen reason to admire and adore the wise love which withheld that on which we had set our hearts with passionate intensity.

3. Our character also becomes riper by waiting. It is better for the young man to accumulate his fortune slowly, because he learns to value his money rightly, and to spend it well Better for the student to acquire knowledge by degrees, because he gains habits of industry which are simply invaluable. Better for the saint to grow to goodness by long and insensible progress, that he may be able to sympathise with those who are beginning to take the upward path.

4. Moreover, we secure larger results by waiting. If the Egyptian farmer is too impatient, and sows his seeds before the Nile has reached its full flood, they will not be carried to the furthest limit of his ground, and his harvest will suffer. So often there is a result which may be gained by patient waiting, which would defy us if we snatched at it.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

I. THE GRACIOUS PURPOSES OF GOD TOWARDS HIS PEOPLE. He "waits, that He may be gracious"; He is "exalted, that He may have mercy." The Jewish people are here supposed to be in a state of suffering; and they are assured that when the design of these sore judgments was fully answered, God would have mercy upon them. In what manner the Lord will be gracious unto them, the prophet unfolds (chps. 19-21). To these promises of spiritual blessings and permanent prosperity others are added; and the passage closes with this munificent prediction, — "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun," etc. (ver. 26). This splendid prophecy points to a period which is yet future, and to which the Church is still looking forward.

II. THE CHARACTER OF GOD IN REFERENCE TO THESE PURPOSE. In all our undertakings we have encouragement from the character of God. The text speaks of Him as "a God of judgment," — a title which is calculated to awaken the most useful reflections. He does as He pleases, and all He does is right. The word also implies deliberation — prudence: the will of God is not an arbitrary determination, but the will of deliberation. The word is opposed to haste and inconsideration. The term is applicable to all God's proceedings.

III. THE SPIRIT IN WHICH WE SHOULD LOOK FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THIS PURPOSE. If the question be now asked, What is the posture the Church, which has been gathered from among, the Gentiles, should assume in reference to the rich provision made for the Jews? the answer is, They should "wait for Him."

1. In a spirit of patient expectation.

2. In the use of diligent exertions.

3. In the exercise of fervent prayer.

(T. Thomason, M. A.)

God sets forth Britain amid the nominal Christian nations, as He set forth Israel of old amid the heathen world, as a mighty field in which He displays His dispensations and dealings towards nations in professed and visible covenant with Himself. We are, therefore, not only warranted, but bound to take the words addressed to the ancient people of God, and to apply them to His people in modern times.

I. The spirit and attitude which God is here represented as sustaining toward a guilty and corrected, though not forsaken people, is ASPECT AND ATTITUDE OF LONG SUFFERING AND PATIENT FORBEARANCE.

II. But there is yet another feature in the attitude and aspect of God towards a land that He waits to see repenting — for GOD IS A GOD OF JUDGMENT.

III. LET US APPLY ALL THIS VIEW of the aspect of God towards nations to His recent dealings with ourselves.

IV. Lot us not pass lightly by what constitutes THE GREAT MORAL LESSON that springs from the view of God we have been taking. "Blessed are they that wait for Him." We are not to become impatient under God's hand; we are not, because His chastisement yet remains, to forget His mercies.

(H. Stowell, M. A.)

Some have thought, "Oh, how I wait upon God." It will be nearer the truth if you think, "How marvellous it is that God should wait upon men!"

I. THE STRANGENESS of this Bible truth.

1. It is quite contrary to our common experience, that favours should be kept waiting out of doors. Favours do not generally wait for clients, but clients have to wait for favours.

2. You will be struck with the strangeness of this statement if you keenly watch the early experiences of an anxious soul. The man determines to be a seeker after God, and you would suppose that immediately the soul turned to God it would be flooded with light, whereas it very often happens that God never seems so far away from a man as when, first of all, the man begins to seek Him. Yet, all the while, God upon His throne waits to be gracious.

3. I doubt whether we Christian men are not a little to blame for the strangeness of this beautiful text. Do we not often pray as if we were praying into an unwilling ear? Do we not often cry as if we were crying to a hard heart? We have failed fairly to represent in our prayers the great readiness of our Father's heart, and so we have in the matter of our Christian standing. How few of us know well our standing in Christ Jesus, and have a life and death confidence in it. And then in our relationship to others, where are the abounding compassions of Christ? where the undying energy with which a man who knows the heart of the great Father, will seek to reclaim His erring sons and daughters, His children far away upon the wild?

II. THE BLESSED CERTAINTY of this Bible truth.

1. We have first of all the testimony of Isaiah, a testimony given with a boldness that indicates that behind this testimony there is, first of all, a Divine inspiration; that behind it there is, in the second instance, a God-given experience. Here is a man whose testimony ought to be received. Of all the men of the Old Testament I believe there was not one who was more sensitive to the nation's sin than Isaiah. Not a man who was more sensitive to the righteousness of God, who went down lower into himself, who rose higher unto God, than Isaiah. For spiritual insight he stood upon a par at least with his contemporaries. He was the salvation of Jehovah: that is his name. The man ought to know.

2. His testimony, too, is abundantly and blessedly confirmed, not by detached experiences or single events. If you judge about God you must have something more than a single experience; you must take some experience that has been rounded off and Divinely finished. We have such experiences in this book. We may come down to more modern times and more recent experiences. Take the poets of the past century, the men whose hymns we sing service after service. They do not all belong to one Church or to one school of thought or theology, but their testimony is uniform upon this great subject.

3. We have evidence that God waits to be gracious in this present service. His Word is near to us this moment; the Gospel is here with its pleadings and its overtures of mercy.

(J. R. Wood.)

Notice two or three times in which God is compelled to wait that He may be gracious unto us.

I. THE TIME OF DISOBEDIENCE.

II. THE TIME OF FALSE CONFIDENCE (vers. 7, 15-18).

III. THE TIME OF APATHY.

(J. Brash.)

I. A WAITING GOD.

1. A wonderful reason for waiting. "Therefore" — mark the word! The Lord Jehovah does as He wills both in heaven and earth, and His ways are past finding out; but He never acts unreason. ably; He does not tell us His reasons, but He has them; for He acts "according to the counsel of His will." God has His "therefores," and these are of the most forcible kind. Full often His "therefores" are the very reverse of ours: that which is an argument with us may be no argument with God, and that which is a reason with Him might seem to be a reason in the opposite direction to us. For what is there in this chapter that can be made into a "therefore"? Whence does He derive the argument? Assuredly it is a reason based on His own grace, and not on the merit of man.(1) The chapter contains a denunciation of the false confidences of the people, and because of these one might have concluded that the Lord would cast them off forever. If they will have Egypt to lean upon, let them lean on Egypt, till like a spear it pierces their side.(2) Further, these people were rebels against God, and the Lord was waiting to let them fully manifest their rebellious spirit, and be made ashamed of it. The chapter begins that way: "Woe to the rebellious children." Further on He calls them "a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord" — was that a reason for waiting to be gracious? Yes, with the Lord sin shows the need of grace, and so becomes a reason for grace. I think the Lord permits many sinners to go to the full length of their tether in order that they may know in future what stuff they are made of, and may never trust in themselves.(3) The Lord would wait for yet another reason, namely, to let them suffer somewhat the effect of their sin. It is well that they should see what kind of serpent is hatched from the egg of evil. Perhaps some of us were left in the same way, and we shall never forget what we thus learned. We put our hand into the fire until it was burned, and now we dread the fire.(4) I do not doubt that the Lord waited in this case to be gracious until the people should begin to pray, for that seems to be the turning point in this affair. The prophet says, "He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry." The Lord is listening for the sinner's prayer.

2. The singular patience of God in that waiting. What does it mean when we are told that the Lord waiteth that He may have mercy upon us?(1) It means that He kept back the sword of justice.(2) It means the continuance of privileges; for the Lord told these people that, although He might give them the bread of adversity and the water of affliction on account of their sins, yet He would not take away their teachers from them any more; they should still be instructed, and warned, and invited to come to Him.(3) So singular was God's patience that He even increased His holy agencies to lead the people to Himself. He says, "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it." Do we not remember how when the public ministry seemed to miss us we began to be bestirred by an inward force more powerful than visible ministries? Conscience cried aloud and accused us from within doors.(4) This is not all; for all this while God was passing by our rejections of Him, blotting out our sinful refusals, and insulting despisings of His goodness.(5) Please remember that all this while God has been waiting but everything has been ready, ready for the sinner to come to Him.

3. A most remarkable action which follows upon the waiting. After the Lord had displayed His patience to His people, He resolved to go further, and proceeded to a most notable matter which is thus described — "Therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you." You and I would have turned the text round the other way, and said, "Therefore will He have mercy upon you, that He may be exalted": that would be true, but it is not the truth here taught. The picture represents the Lord as it were as sitting still, and allowing His people through their sin to bring suffering upon themselves; but now, after long patience, He arouses Himself to action. Methinks I hear Him say, "They will not come to Me, they refuse all My messengers, they plunge deeper and deeper into sin, now will I see what My grace can do"! It also bears this meaning. When a man is about to deal a heavy stroke he lifts up himself to give the blow: he exalts himself to bring down the scourge more heavily upon the shoulder. Even so the Lord seems to say, "I will put forth all My might, I. will exercise all My skill, I will display all My attributes up to their greatest height, that I may have mercy upon these hardened, stiff-necked sinners — I will be exalted that I may have mercy upon them."

4. There is a final success to all this waiting (vers. 19-22). See what free grace can do: it is no enemy to holiness, but the direct cause of it.

II. We have A WAITING PEOPLE. "Blessed are all they that wait for Him"

1. God's waiting people wait upon God only.

2. Expectantly.

3. What are they waiting for? For many things. Sometimes they wait for the tokens of His grace. Sometimes for the fulfilment of His promises. Every promise will be kept, but not today nor tomorrow. God's word has its due season, and His times are the best times. We may also have to wait for answers to our prayers. Frequently we may have to wait for temporal blessings. There may be somewhat in your character which cannot be perfected except by suffering and labour and it is better that your character be perfected than your substance increased. Wait cheerfully. If God sees fit to say "Wait," do not be angry with Him.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Lord is a God of Judgment.
is an unfortunately ambiguous translation. We must not take "judgment" here in our familiar sense of the word. It is not a sudden deed of doom, but a long process of law. It means manner, method, design, order, system, the ideas, in short, which we sum up under the word "law." Just as we say of a man, "He is a man of judgment," and mean thereby not that by office he is a doomster, but that by character he is a man of discernment and prudence; so simply does Isaiah say here that "Jehovah is a God of judgment," and mean thereby not that He is One whose habit is sudden and awful deeds of penalty or salvation, but, on the contrary, that, having laid down His lines according to righteousness and established His laws in wisdom, He remains in HIS dealings with men consistent with these.

(Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)

in the several important senses in which the word is used in Scripture.

1. His understanding is infinite; so that He is intimately acquainted with all the characters, the actions and circumstances of mankind.

2. The decisions which He forms, concerning their condition and conduct, are perfectly equitable and just.

3. All the punishments which He inflicts and the deliverances which He works, are conducted with the highest wisdom and prudence, executed at the fittest season, in the most proper measure and for the best purposes. When He corrects them for their faults, He does it not in anger but in judgment, with affection and moderation; not in His hot displeasure, with unrelenting severity, but with kindness and forbearance. They may therefore be assured that, at the very time wherein He knows His own glory and their real benefit will be most effectually promoted, He will interpose in their behalf and send them deliverance.

(R. Macculloch.)

What are all our histories but God manifesting Himself, that He hath shaken and tumbled down and trampled upon everything that He hath not planted!

(Oliver Cromwell.)

Blessed are all they that wait for Him.
Homiletic Review.
1. In steadfast faith.

2. In living hope.

3. In patient humility.

4. In active preparation.

(Homiletic Review.)

I. DESCRIBE THE REAL WAITING CHARACTER AND ENDEAVOUR TO SHOW WHAT IS REAL WAITING.

1. The real waiter is a person who does not possess something he wants. A real waiter is a real beggar.

2. But; then, the real waiting man must not only be poor but needy

3. When a man is thus brought into experimental poverty, and experimental need, he will also be led into experimental helplessness; he is delivered from looking to his prayers, his Bible reading, his alms doing; he is brought to feel he needs another refuge, he is brought to feel these waters cannot cleanse away his pollution, that these webs cannot become garments, that these are works with which he cannot cover himself.But what is true waiting?

1. Not working,

2. Nor sleeping.

3. Nor stealing. There are many who do not trust in works, but like a thief take the blessings into their hands the Lord has never put there. How many presume all is well without having had the atonement applied, or even without ever having been truly Drought to feel the need of reconciliation to God by the blood of Jesus.

4. Neither is it despairing.

II. WHERE DOES THE TRUE WAITER WAIT? He goes to the means, saying, "Oh, let not the oppressed return ashamed; let the poor and needy praise Thy name." Mercy's door is the place at which he waits.

III. What DOES HE WAIT FOR? "Blessed are all they that wait for Him."

IV. THE BLESSEDNESS OF TRUE WAITERS.

(S. Sears.)

I. THE NATURE OF RIGHT WAITING UPON GOD.

1. There must be continual waiting. "Turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually." Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day." Not that we are always to be engaged in formal acts of devotion. Waiting upon God is not wholly comprehended in praying to Him. By inward meditation, by heartfelt desires, by continual supplications as suggested to us in the Church, or as carried on in the closet, or the family, we must never fail to wait upon God for those blessings generally, which He has promised; or particularly, which we know that we individually require. We must be constant expectants; unawed by the suggestions of Satan, the coldness and apathy of our own hearts, or the low and unchristian standard of those around us.

2. There must be importunate waiting. We are not to suppose that "waiting" implies a sitting still in listless supineness, as if no exertion were to be made. The waiting upon God which will prove successful, is a waiting that will take no denial. It springs from a heartfelt sense of the necessities of the soul; and it calls into exercise all the energies of the whole man.

3. There must be patient waiting (Psalm 40:1; Psalm 37:7).

4. There must be waiting on the name of Jehovah. David has a remarkable expression: "I will wait on Thy name; for it is good before Thy saints." The name of God imports His attributes and perfections. A calm, serious contemplation of the Divine character is an important part of waiting upon God.

5. The soul must wait upon God. Many mistake here. They satisfy themselves with the external homage of the body, without the inward bending of the soul.

6. There must be waiting only upon God.

7. We must wait God's own time and way.

II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THUS WAITING UPON HIM.

1. "The Lord is good to them that wait for Him: to the soul that seeketh Him."

2. He is good beyond conception.

3. The blessedness of waiting upon God appears likewise in the increase of spiritual strength.

4. They who thus wait shall at length take up the language of holy triumph. "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him," etc.Application —

1. Our subject condemns many amongst you.

2. Let the faithful learn their duty.

(Carus Wilson.)

We must not cower in the dark closet, but climb to our watchtower and scan the horizon. We must look out for God's carrier pigeons; lest they come to the cote with messages under their wings which we may miss. We must go down to the quay; or God's heavily freighted ships may touch there, and go away again without discharging their cargoes. We must imitate the shipwrecked sailor, who keeps the fire lit by night, and is incessantly on the outlook for passing ships; else a search expedition may come near his poor islet and miss him. Those who wait thus cannot be ashamed. It is impossible that God should disappoint the hope which He has instilled and nourished in the heart of His child.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

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