Longsuffering, merciful and forgiving are characteristics of our God. Longsuffering means patience. patience means being able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. patience is something that many of us lack today. That’s why God said let patience have its perfect work (James 1:4). Patience has a job to do if you will allow it. Through testing and trials our patience is giving an opportunity to work. But our God shows us how patient he is with us with how we test him all the time. Did you realize that while in the wilderness the children of Israel tested God 10 times?(Numbers 14:22). It was obvious that he got tired of the people rejecting him and wanted to strick them with pestilence (diseases) and disinherit them (numbers 14:12) But Moses reminded him of these things, “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving (numbers 14:18). Think about all the things you have been through and ask yourself, “Has God been patient with me?”
Seems like everyone is obsessed with the new television commercial by Quickens Loans when the guy is telling his dog, “Wait for it, Wait for it.” Then the dog tells his owner, “You know, I just don’t think I have to wait for it.” This is so true for people today. We want things quick, fast and in a hurry. I’m totally guilty of being impatient. Recently, I was beginning to become super impatient and discouraged when what I thought was going to happen didn’t in the time I wanted it to. Then a little doubt started to creep its way in the door. Notice what I said, “In the time I wanted it to.” It wasn’t that I didn’t believe it was going to happen, but I had set my own time for it to happen. I had created a vision board, made a concrete, measurable plan and had the word that God had spoken to me. Yet, I was waiting. I would look at the vision board, the plan and speak God’s word and still nothing. After I got over myself and came back to my senses after allowing seeds of doubt to come in, God said this. “I never said it wasn’t going to happen. Go back to what I told you. Keep it in front of you no matter what. I have a set time for what I am going to do.” Then I was taken to a couple of people who were in dry places (waiting) until God watered it.
The first person was Noah, who was born in a time of toil and famine. When Noah was 500 years old, God came and told him to build an ark and that he was bringing floodwaters on the earth. Now Noah had never seen a flood before, but he prepared anyway. After the ark was built, God told Noah, “I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights. Rain? Could it be that God strategically told Noah about the rain after he told him about the flood and after Noah built the ark? Noah never heard or seen rain. That would have been hard to comprehend. In today’s time we are familiar with rain. Meteorologists can track it, we can smell it at times, see the clouds, dark skies and feel the winds. Noah never even heard the word, rain. Although Noah never heard of rain, he did everything God commanded. It wasn’t until he was 600 years old that the flood waters and rain were on the earth. I’m sure people laughed at Noah for building that ark all those years. Why did they laugh and not believe? Because God gave Noah a revelation and they chose not to believe it. God never told Noah when he was going to bring the flood waters or rain. Noah could have put down his tools and gave up. All those years Noah kept the word God told him and he kept building until it was time. Why I say they didn’t believe? If they did they would have tried to get on the ark beforehand. Why did it take almost 100 years for God’s word to manifest? 1 Peter 3: 19-20 (msg) He went and proclaimed God’s salvation to earlier generations who ended up in prison of judgment because they wouldn’t listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact. God Waited… * Genesis Chapter 7
The second person was the Prophet Elijah. Elijah spoke to Ahab that there would not be rain for years. Therefore, they were in a famine, a dry place. Then God came to Elijah at the third year and said to go back to Ahab and tell him that he will send rain on the earth. The ironic thing is that God said rain was coming but not the time it was coming. While Elijah and Ahab were meeting, Elijah told Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” Elijah didn’t see or smell the rain, the skies weren’t cloudy or dark, he just heard a sound that no one else heard. Elijah then tells his servant to go up and look towards the sea. His servant went and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times Elijah said, “Go again.” It was then at the seventh time that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” Then the sky became black with clouds and wind and there was heavy rain. Elijah could have given up at the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth time. His servant could’ve said, “I’ve looked, there isn’t any rain, you go look.” But Elijah kept the word God gave him and he stayed on his knees (prayer). What have you walked away from because it didn’t happened when you wanted it to? You gave up at the third or fourth, “No,” not realizing that the, “yes” was at the fifth time. Six times there was nothing and on the seventh time there was something. * 1 Kings Chapter 17 &18
The third person was Joshua who was leading the children of Israel to conqueror Jericho. God told Joshua, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand.” He then told Joshua, you and the men of war march around the city once for six days. Then on the seventh day, march around the city seven times and when the people shout, the walls of the city will fall down flat. Now we know God can tear the wall down in a twinkling in an eye. But he wanted them to walk around the city for six days and seven times on the seventh day. While marching they could not make a noise with their voice, nor a word. That means no complaining! They didn’t complain that they were tired, their feet hurt, they don’t see the point in doing this, look how high that wall is, I don’t see the wall falling down, etc. Remember the last time God was attempting to bring them into the promise land the spies brought back a bad report and they could not go in. They simply had to march and wait for the seventh time. *Joshua Chapter 6
There is one other similarity besides waiting. God spoke what his plan was to these men of God. The choice was left up to the people to believe it or not. God hasn’t stopped speaking. He says that man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. We must live by the word he is speaking each day. Have you discounted a word from someone because it didn’t come from the person you thought it should have come through? Did you discount the word God spoke to you when it didn’t come in the timing you wanted it to? Did you give up on the Word? Did you let doubt in? Can you wait? There are set and appointed times for the purpose. No matter what it looks like, keep the word he gave to you.
Lastly, Habakkuk said, “For the vision is yet for an appointed (set, predetermined) time. But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries (delay, linger), WAIT FOR IT. Because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV
*The only thing that is a lie is the enemy who is planting seeds of doubt in your mind and telling you that God is not going to what he said.
*Do what Noah, Elijah and Joshua did in the waiting. Build on the word, Pray until you see something, make a shout unto the Lord and walk out your purpose.