I don’t know of many people who like to be kept waiting. If I’m waiting, I feel like I’m wasting my time on something or on someone else!
What about with waiting on God? Do our prayers seem to go unanswered? Do our problems seem to not be important to Him? Why should I have to wait at all?
In Isaiah 30:18 the Lord tells His people that He is going to wait before He is gracious to them. The verses leading up to this explain why.
In verse 15, the Lord reminded Israel that if she had returned to Him for rest, she would have been saved from her enemies. If she had been quiet and confident, she would have found sufficient strength. “But you were not willing,” the Lord lamented. “And you said, ‘No…’ ” (vs.15-16). Instead of returning to the Lord, Israel would flee from her enemies (v.16). “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you” (v.18).
What was God waiting for? Israel was relying on herself and her understanding to get through the troubles. God was waiting for Israel to fail in her self-sufficient ways and to start depending on Him. Only then would He be gracious to her.
God allows us to use our own wisdom and our own strength, if we desire. We have the ability to make our own choices. He also allows us to fail. Only when we rely upon Him will we find true blessing and rest. Only in Him can we find salvation through Jesus Christ (II Timothy 2:10). There is much to learn here individually and as a nation.
Isaiah 30:18 says, “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.”
Shane Williams preaches at Sutton Lane church of Christ in Mayfield.