The Weight of Waiting

“When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against You, if they turn to You again and confess Your name and pray and make supplication to You in this house, 
34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers.
35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them, 
36 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk.
And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance.
1 Kings 8:33-36

I keep going back to 1 Kings 8, to Solomon’s prophetic prayer of dedication. I was prompted to read it again, having waded to the end of 2 Kings, where the tribe of Judah is led into Babylonian captivity. Though God does not leave us without hope at the end of this period of redemptive history, it’s difficult reading. The epic books of Kings are full of idolatry, violence, cruelty and corruption.

All this attests powerfully to our need for a Saviour. But after Babylon captured them, God’s people would have to wait 70 years before they could return to their land and rebuild the Temple (Jer. 29:10). And even then the Messiah did not yet appear.

By the time the angel appeared to Mary, mother of God, the people had waited in silence for 400 years. As in the time of Samuel, “word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent” (1 Sam 3:1). Many lost hope.

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Matt. 1:17
Stained glass window, St Michael & All Angels church
St Michael with Patience and Fortitude by Christopher Whall, 1905.

For we who live in the time of the New Covenant, there has never been a better time for waiting. We who are in Christ have seen heaven reach down and angels descend (Gen. 28:10-16). Our Saviour is on the scene, His work completed, our salvation secured, His promises renewed. Jesus has begun His spiritual reign on the earth (Acts 2:16-21, Luke 17:20-21), and we have the full revelation of God. “Already we have all we want! Already we have become rich, we have begun to reign” (1 Cor. 4:8)!

And yet this world is still in the way. “The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud” (1 Kings 8:12), but at times the heavens seem shut and there is no rain.

Today I am feeling the weight of waiting. I am wrestling with God. I will not let Him go until He blesses me.

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:21-26

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