Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - How To Wait On God (Ezra Benjamin)

Jonathan Bernis - How To Wait On God (Ezra Benjamin)

Jonathan Bernis - How To Wait On God (Ezra Benjamin)
TOPICS: Waiting on God

One of the great honors of my life, here at Jewish Voice is to be able to travel all around the world, serving scattered Jewish communities and their neighbors, bringing practical help, sharing the good news that we have a Messiah, and his name is Jesus, Yeshua, who hasn't forgotten them. And serving these Jewish communities brings us literally to all the... to the four corners of the earth, if you will. To Africa, north and South Africa, to central asia, most recently, to Latin America. And one of the things that's becoming clearer and clearer to me as an American blessed by the Lord to travel all around the world is that Americans are not a very patient people. And if you're one of our viewers watching from outside north America, you're probably vigorously nodding your head right now. And if you're one of our viewers in America, you're maybe mildly offended that I said that, but let's just, let's take an example for a moment, okay?

I love to get my morning coffee, and if we're being honest, just between us, my afternoon coffee as well. And that involves going to one of the great American inventions, the drive-through window. And it's in this place that we can order our coffee. Maybe there's two cars ahead of us and that's a little bit annoying, but okay. And we place out order and then we slowly inch our way towards that window where the coffee is being made. And by now, four minutes have gone by and we're quite perturbed because we wanted that coffee yesterday and we're really annoyed that we have to wait. Now, contrast that with places like Ethiopia where we're serving the Ethiopian Jewish community called the beta Israel, the house of Israel. In Ethiopia, you don't go to a drive-through window. And in fact, in many cases, you don't go to a coffee shop at all, you have coffee ceremony.

Now, what's a coffee ceremony? It's this way of greatly honoring guests who come to your hut or your house, whether you have great means or whether you have just a hut with a dirt floor. A guest comes, you're gonna perform a coffee ceremony. And what does that mean? It means you bring in the green coffee beans, they're not even roasted, and you present the beans. And they're beautiful beans. And then, the lady of the house gets to roasting them over an open coal fire and that takes maybe 20 minutes. And you're having great conversation while the beans are roasting and eventually, eventually, the whole house smells with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee and it's wonderful. And you're about to have your coffee, right? No, no, no, no.

Now, we need to grind the beans, and then we need to heat the water, and we need to slowly, slowly make a pot of coffee over the ensuing maybe 15 to 20 minutes. And for Americans, we're saying, "I could have gone through the drive-through five times by now. What on earth is going on"? But here's the thing, folks. It's about the process. It's about the experience of the coffee being made as much as it's about drinking the coffee itself. It's about the process more than the outcome. And that's something I've really been challenged in recent years as an American who's quite impatient. How do I wait? First of all, am I even willing to wait? And second of all, what does that mean? And that's what we're gonna talk about today. This idea that maybe God is working while we're waiting and maybe it's not really a passive process at all.

And actually in the Hebrew which we're gonna dive into in just a moment. There's a couple different words for wait, okay. There's the word "Wait" like you're waiting at a bus stop, right? I'm waiting for the bus to come or I'm waiting for my neighbor to arrive so we can have dinner. But you know, something bothered me in recent years and it's that I kept looking at this phrase in the Bible that appears a number of different times. You've seen it, I'm sure 'cause you know some of these verse. And it says, "Wait on the Lord". But very often, and Isaiah 40:31 is a great example. It says this, it says, "But those who wait on the Lord," turn to it in your Bible if you'd like. "But those who wait on the Lord," look, "Shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint".

And I saw this in Isaiah and I thought, "I don't understand. How does waiting on the Lord renew our strength"? And then I see it in so many other places where I keep seeing this phrase that says, "Wait on the Lord and renew your strength". And something thematic is happening, right? God's saying, "If you wait on me, you actually become stronger". And it's so confusing for me because in my, I want everything now or yesterday mentality. When I have to wait, I feel pretty annoyed. I feel weak, I feel tired. Maybe you at home can relate, right? Waiting is this process that over time can be exhausting. And yet, the Bible says, "When we wait on the Lord, we actually become stronger".

And so, I went on this search to say what on earth is going on here? What is this mean? How can God be saying you'll get stronger by waiting? And often when we don't understand, when we see something continuing to appear before us in our study of the Word of God and we don't understand what it means, I wanna encourage you, don't disengage, dive deeper. And the way that we can dive deeper in so many of these Old Testament verses like the passage in Isaiah, other Psalms we'll look at in a moment, is to look at the Hebrew words that were used. We do our best in English or whatever your first, your heart language is to get the sense of it. But often, if we're not getting it by just looking at the word in our own language, we should go back to the language that the Bible was penned in, which is Hebrew.

And I wanna tell you a secret here. It's not a secret at all 'cause you check me on it and you'll find it in the Hebrew, or you can look it up online. The word here when it says, "Wait on the Lord," is "Qavah". And it's a different word than the word we would use for waiting for a bus or waiting for someone who's late in Hebrew. It's qavah. It's on your screen so you can look at it, maybe write it down. We wrote it in the transliteration, qavah or qavah and this is the idea folks, it's not passive. The word literally doesn't mean wait. It actually means to bind together. What's being bound together? It's actually like if you make rope, right? You know how rope is made. You take a few strands and you weave them, and you weave them tighter one into the other, one into the other over and over and over again.

And what's going on there? The idea is that something stronger together with something else than it is alone and as tension is applied the more tension there is, the stronger it actually becomes. And I went, "Oh. Ah-ha". The Hebrew gives us the answer, qavah. To qavah on the Lord means to knit yourself together with him and in doing that you become stronger. How? Because it's his strength knitted in the fabric of our lives. Isn't that interesting? It's a whole different idea in the Hebrew than way we understand waiting. It's not passive at all. So, all these verses that say, "Wait on the Lord," are actually saying, "Knit the fabric of your life, knit yourself together with the character of the Lord, with his nature, with the promises he's made of what you know he's doing in your life and in the world. And as you join yourself with him, you're gonna find that you're stronger". It's an active process.

Psalm 27:14 is another example. And I encourage you at home, do a word study on this and you're gonna find it over and over and over this idea. "I waited on the Lord, or those who wait on the Lord". Psalm 27:14 says again, "Qavah for the Lord. Wait for the Lord," look there it is again, "Be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord". And it actually says, "You'll be strengthened". So, it's this step, right? We take this courageous step of knitting our lives together with the Lord, which is qavah, which is waiting on him and that we find we're actually stronger. Isn't that interesting? So, I want to just encourage you right now, qavah on Lord. Now, there's one point I wanna make here before we look at another couple passages and it's this. Often, as we said, there's this period of time between receiving the promise from the Lord and that promise coming to pass.

And so, you may be asking, "Okay, I wanna wait actively on the Lord but how do I do that"? And there's one question I wanna pose to you, maybe you write it down in your notebook and spend a few minutes praying into it. This is the question, if I'm not at the place where I'm seeing that thing I've been waiting on the Lord for come to pass, ask yourself this, "What might the Lord want to change in me while he's waiting to change the thing I wanna see"? You could put that on a t-shirt 'cause it rhymes at least in the English, right? What does he wanna change in me while I'm waiting for him to change the thing I see or that I wanna see? What do we mean by that?

Let me ask you this, the thing you're praying for, the thing you're waiting on the Lord, some people are waiting for God to give them children, some people are waiting for a job promotion, some people are waiting, "Lord, give me finances and I'll sow them into your kingdom. Lord, prosper me". Well, amen. But let me ask you this, if he did that thing now, are you ready to receive it? Is your character, is your faith walk, is your preparation to walk in that thing ready? Or is there more of an active process that we need to do with the Lord to be ready? 'cause sometimes waiting on the Lord and saying, "Why haven't you done this yet"? He's not just being slow, he actually needs to do some work in us to get us ready for him to answer that prayer. I found that to be true in my life maybe you can or can't relate but I bet you might be able to.

Another question we may be asking is, "Well, I just feel like I have had to wait so long. I'm waiting and I'm waiting. I feel so", maybe you feel alone in your waiting. Maybe you have a prayer partner who's joining with you on a prayer for family, or your finances, or your work, but maybe you just feel alone and you're saying, "You know, I just feel like I'm the only one waiting for this or Lord, give me strength to qavah on you. I'll knit myself together with the fabric of who you are. But it's a long wait and I feel alone". And I wanna look at two verses actually from the New Testament. We've looked at two from the Old Testament. But here's a passage from 2 Peter 3:8 and I think many of you know this verse, right? We're saying, "Lord, why haven't you brought this thing to pass," right? "I feel like this should have happened a long time ago and yet here I am and it hasn't come to pass".

And Peter is saying to these believers, many of whom were going through very difficult times in standing for the testimony of Yeshua, of Jesus. And he says this, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends," beloved friends, "That with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day". You see, the Lord who's outside time understands the trajectory of our life and we may feel something's taking a really long time, and he's going, "No, no, no, no. There 's so much more I wanna do through you. I'm gonna bring that to pass at the right time. When I do it, I'm not gonna be late and it's gonna be at the right time". But sometimes we can't see that until we look back. Peter goes on here and he says this, super important, he says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness".

So, he's saying, "Some of you may think God needs to keep up with my timeline". And he's saying, "The Lord's not slow in the way that some of us understand slowness". Listen to this, "Instead he is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance". We're understanding something or we need to understand something. I'm preaching to myself here about the character of God, right? "Lord, come quickly and amen," right? I hope you're waiting like we're waiting here at Jewish Voice. Like my wife and I are waiting eagerly hoping that it's in our lifetime that Jesus returns, right? That Yeshua comes and puts his foot on the Mount of Olives and Marches triumphantly as the King of kings and the Lord of lords into Jerusalem. And we're praying, "Come quickly, oh Lord. It would be better if you were here. Why is that you haven't come yet," right? We're waiting on the Lord to return. And he says, "No, no, you need to understand something". Peter is saying, "That the Lord's not willing that any should perish".

And so, in our impatience we need to get better in touch with the character and the heart of the Lord. He's giving man every opportunity, every opportunity to repent and to come to him because he's not willing that any should perish. So, I wanna encourage you, if you're praying, if your church and congregation are praying, if your family is praying, "Lord, come quickly. Lord, why not now? Why not in our lifetimes"? I wanna encourage you to pray just as fervently, "Lord, save your people from their sins. Lord, gather a remnant who come to you by faith from every tribe, tongue and nation on the earth. Lord, you're not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, all could have the opportunity to come into the kingdom".

And I wanna highlight one more verse as we're talking about God waiting for as many as will come to come into the kingdom. And it's something that's so central to what we're about here at Jewish Voice ministries and it's this idea, we find it in Matthew 23. This is Jesus on the Mount of Olives days before he will die on a Roman executioner's tree, a cross for the sins of Israel and the sins of the whole world. And he's looking at Jerusalem and he's mourning, he's weeping. He says, "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem". I need you to just see this as the God of Israel. Jesus, the God of Israel born in flesh, born of a woman, weeping over not only the city, but the Jewish men, women, and children who lived there. And he's saying, "How often I long to gather you like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you weren't willing".

And then he says in verse 39, "For I tell you, you," Jerusalem, Jewish people, "Won't see me again until you say," and it's this fantastic Messianic declaration we say. A declaration of faith that the Messiah has come. And in Hebrew it's "Baruch haba b'shem Adonai". For those who don't speak Hebrew, which is many of us, "Baruch haba" in Hebrew is actually welcome. Welcome is the same as saying blessed are you who come. Isn't that interesting? So, Jesus is mourning over Jerusalem saying, "I'm gonna make you a promise. You're not gonna see me again until you declare, 'blessed are you. We welcome you, Yeshua Jesus as the Messiah'". Isn't that interesting?

So, I wanna encourage you today, you're not the only one waiting. The Lord's waiting. He's holding back because he desires that as many as possible would come to repentance. And even more specifically, it's not one or the other, it's both. But specifically, we see here in Matthew 23 and I'm telling you this in hopes that you would grab a little bit more a hold of heart of God on this matter and that it would stir your prayer. It would stir how you relate to Jewish friends, family, coworkers around you. It would stir how you relate to Jewish communities living in your nation and how you think about them, or maybe how you haven't thought about them at all. It's this idea that Jesus in a resurrected body at the right hand of the father in heaven is actually waiting for the day when Israel, when the Jewish people living in the land of Israel, we're in the land of Israel now, but we're still spiritually blinded in such large part.

He's waiting for the day when the Jewish people will see him with their eyes and with the eyes of their hearts open, not blinded any longer and say, "This is the one we've waited for. This is the Messiah. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". Jesus is waiting to return until Jewish people recognize him for who he is. So, in the active waiting that we're doing, for the things we're asking God to do in our own lives I wanna encourage you, even exhort you today, pray for the salvation of the Jewish people. Jesus is waiting for it. He's waiting, right? No man knows the day or the hour, only the father knows these things because it's in his authority. But we get this clue when Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. It's not gonna happen until the Jewish people recognize him for who he is.

Just wanna speak to one particular issue as we actively wait on the Lord, and many have written in to Jewish Voice really in distress and ask this question. They said, "You know, I believe God's word is true. I believe what he says in the Bible will come to pass. And I believe this word that I have in my life. But I feel like I've waited too long. In essence, I feel like time has run out for this thing to come to pass. I did believe. I wanted to believe that the Lord would do this and he didn't tell me he won't, he told me he would. But now, so much time has gone by and I just don't see how it could ever come to pass".

And I wanna speak to that because you're not alone. We actually see that in a passage you may not have thought of as you're waiting on the Lord and this is in John 11:17. This is the story of the death of Yeshua's good friend, Jesus' good friend, Lazarus, right? And you know the story, but I wanna point something very specific out that you may never have paid attention to. It says in verse 17, "On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days," right? So, people heard that Jesus could raise the dead. This was already happening and his good friends Mary and Martha knew that Lazarus was sick, he was dying, in fact, and they said, "Jesus, come, come heal him".

Or maybe you know, he died and they thought, "Okay, he just died, but Jesus can raise the dead". But Jesus doesn't come until four days. And why does that matter? Because in Jewish thought there is this idea for three days the spirit actually remains in the body and so somebody could be resurrected from the dead. But they understood that after three days, and here it says, four days now Lazarus has been dead, no one except the Messiah can raise that person. Isn't that interesting? And so, Jesus comes and Mary says, "Lord, if you would have been here this wouldn't have happened". And he says, "Lazarus shall live again". And Mary gives the good believing answer, faith-filled answer, "Yes, yes, Lord, I know in the resurrection of dead everyone", and he goes, "No, no, no. You don't understand. I am the resurrection and the life".

And Jesus says, "Lazarus, come out". And Lazarus walks out of that grave. Why does that matter for us? Because maybe we think that the time clock that we assigned to God's promise has expired. It's too late. How could he do anything now? And we maybe need to say if we're being honest, "Lord, if you had gotten involved earlier, I wouldn't be in this situation I'm in". But I wanna tell you right now, maybe God needs to show you something that when he brings it to pass and he will, it's gonna be only him who gets the glory. And you're gonna understand something about his character, and his nature, and his power, and his covenant-keeping faithfulness that you never knew before. So, if you're waiting, I wanna tell you, the time clock hasn't expired. Hold on, qavah on the Lord and watch what he does.

So, I just wanna encourage you today, if you've been waiting, waiting, and you've grown weary in waiting, there's something in your heart where you say, "God's just late. The Lord is late. It would have been better if he showed up in my life, for the life of my loved one, the life of a family member years ago and we're still waiting". I just wanna encourage you, God is never late and ask him. I'm actually praying right now that the Lord would open my eyes and open your eyes and take the blinders off so that we can actually get in touch with what are the things he needs to do before he can bring that to pass. What does he need to change in you and me before he can bring that thing to pass where we can fully grab a hold of it and walk it out? Some of us have some work to do. I got some work to do. I'm waiting on the Lord for a few things, and he said, "Ah, ah, ah, I'll do it, but I wanna change this in you so you can receive it".

Reengage with the Lord. I wanna encourage you, qavah, qavah. May the posture in our hearts change from, "I'm waiting on the Lord," to "I'm waiting on the Lord". Maybe you need, wherever you do your morning devotions, or wherever you're engaging with the Word of God, some of us are so busy and we're listening to the word audio Bible as we race to work in the morning. Make a little piece of paper and put it somewhere where you're gonna see it and just write, "Qavah". Because those who qavah on the Lord, those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.

I wanna challenge you for the next month, wait actively on the Lord. Take a part of his character. "Lord, I know you're the provider. Lord, I know you're the healer. I know you are the one who delivers me from my fears and I'm gonna knit the fabric of my life with that attribute of yours". And I'd say guarantee you, but it's not about me, is it? The word guarantees you that if you do it, you're gonna find yourself stronger.

Finally, as we're praying, "Come quickly, oh Lord," remember that his desire is that when he comes, it's for his many sons and daughters as possible. He will wait, he will wait and hope that has many as possible will turn to him. Remember that as you're sharing with family, as you're sharing your testimony, as you've shared the good news of Jesus with somebody for years and they're just not responding. The Lord for whom a thousand years are like a day, and a day is like a thousand years, who exist outside of time is waiting with you. He is waiting. He is longing more than you're longing for that person to come to faith.

So, in your prayers and you're sharing your testimony in hopes that person has a transformative encounter with the Lord, don't give up because he hasn't given up. And finally, I wanna ask you, I wanna ask you, I wanna invite you just as Jesus was lamenting over Jerusalem and saying, "This is what's gonna take for me to return".

I wanna ask you today, to pray for the salvation of the Jewish people. To pray that we as a people who in every generation have been, in large part, blinded to the reality of who he is, calloused in our hearts to see him for who he is. Having our ears stuffed up, our eyes blinded, that the Lord and his mercy and his grace would remove the blinders, unplug our ears, open the eyes of our hearts so we can see Yeshua, Jesus, whose name mean salvation, for the Messiah and the Savior that he is and that we can welcome him back. And when we do, when the Jewish people and a remnant from every tribe, tongue, and nation declare that, what a glorious day it will be. Let's wait with courage on the Lord and he will renew our strength.
Are you Human?:*