Waiting is never easy in the natural. But to wait upon God is tap into the plan of Heaven. His purpose becomes clear and we see Him implement His plan. (Isaiah 64:1-7)

Speaker(s): Peter Westera
Sermon 12501
11:00 AM on 4/30/2023

P. Pete Westera –

Praise the Lord! Good to be here. I’m going to preach. I think you probably figured that for those of you that
weren’t aware. That’s what’s coming next. Let’s see. Let’s pray. (Prayer). Isaiah 64, I’m going to
read. Are you ready? It’s so quiet out there. vs. 1. I have been reading this for the last two days,
three days. vs. 1. That word “rend” is an old King James word. I think you know it. Ripping,
violently ripping, quickly, immediately, violently ripping open. So, in other words, God, open
heaven to me. God, quickly, now, open, tear, open heaven. vs. 1.

This is speaking of a desire by the prophet for the presence of God. He yearns. He knows about the presence of God. He wants heaven to open right there, right now, quickly. He wants God to move. He has some kind
of idea about what it means. He knows his history. He knows about Mt. Zion and all the other
wonderful things that God has done.

The prophet in a difficult time, a very difficult time is saying God, show up. Right now. Show up.
Do your thing. He has a lot of faith. He has a lot of experience. He knows what God can do. vs.
1. Like almost melting at his presence. The idea of a volcano melting and flowing down.
vs. 2. This is like an immediate result. If God shows up today, if God is in this moment right now,
if God would just be here right now; as sure as water will boil when you put it on a little fire, even
a little bit of God, the water will boil. Things will happen. It will boil over.

vs. 2-3. The word “terrible” is better described as awesome things, amazing things in the past.
We didn’t know about it. We weren’t sure where to go. We didn’t know, but you did amazing
things, more than we expected. vs. 3. He’s saying, God, exhibit yourself. Be here. Please. We’re
in trouble here. Israel is in trouble. The nation is in trouble. We are being held captive. The
temple is burnt down. The city walls are destroyed. If you could just be here, you know. This is
our desire. This is what we want. The prophet Isaiah is saying he wants God to do something.
Act. Cause he knows full of faith he knows that God if he could just be here, everything will be
resolved.

It changes a little bit. It changes a little bit in vs. 4. We’re all excited. He gets us all set up.
There’s a lot of action. Mountains blowing up and lava flowing down. Water boiling over. The
presence of God. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be awesome. And then in vs. 4. We don’t
hear. We don’t hear. I know that. I have experience in not hearing. Even if I did hear, there’s
another problem. We can’t perceive by the ear. We might hear, but we don’t even understand it.
vs. 4. There’s hearing and even if we hear it, we don’t know it. And even if we know it, we don’t
live in it. This is a different tune here. There’s a mighty acting power of God. There’s a mighty
presence of God. There’s the mighty results, guaranteed results with God’s presence. But then,
this verse. We’re clueless in so many words. vs. 4. That wait. That waits for the Lord.

It’s so anti-climactic. We got a mountain blowing up. We got the presence of God. He’s going to
come down. Water is going to boil. It’s going to be amazing. My problems, my pain, my issues,
they’re going to be taken care of. God’s going to show up. It’s going to be awesome. Just like
that. If he just was here.

Then, we have these anti-climactic ending to these verses. We’re like how? How is it going to
happen? How do we tap into this? How do we get God to come down? How do we do it? And
then it ends with waiting. I called Julius this morning. I said, Julius, do you still have your
trumpet? I was going to ask Julius to stand up and play a little – you know that descending tune.
Like just anti-climactic. The wind is out of our sails because we don’t like to wait. This is not
helpful I think. My reaction. My natural reaction is I cannot – how can I get the presence of God
by waiting?

I want action. I want to do things. I want, you know, I want to implement the presence of God in
my life now, and I’d like to know step 1 through 10. How do I get that? How do I take God’s
presence to solve my problem? How do I implement that in my life? And you know, we get this
painful answer.

I don’t know about you but I hate waiting. If the line is too long out there for the coffee, I don’t
need coffee. I am horrible at waiting. I also have found it not so useful in many aspects of our
lives. I was thinking about it this morning. In business, if you have a problem, if you’re bleeding
money somewhere, waiting is not helpful. Usually not the answer.

If you’ve experienced some pain – I heard of somebody last week that had pain for weeks in
their chest and they just decided to wait it out. Not a good plan. Waiting does not work there.
Someone’s bleeding out, the doctor doesn’t go, let’s see what happens! Maybe it will stop. You
never know.

You know, in home ownership when your roof leaks or better yet, when your basement leaks,
my advice. Don’t wait! I won’t fix itself. Nothing ever fixes itself. Have you noticed? Very rarely
does it just go away. It doesn’t work. All these little things. The noise in the engine. When you
were young and driving down, when you were a teenager and you heard a noise and you’re like,
it’ll be fine. It’s like a ticking noise happening, right? There’s no oil in there. You don’t know what
the ticking means cause you haven’t experienced it. That pain of the cracked engine. Waiting
does not work for me. It doesn’t ever seem to work for me.

This whole world is in a rush, because they are not aware of the fact that there’s a benefit to
waiting. We are under the impression that we must respond with action to solve our problems
and we are good at it and we do it all the time. But if you kept reading a little further in vs. 7. Just
this amazing verse where it says that God can be stirred up. That you can take hold of God. You
know, in vs. 4, we end with waiting and then just a few verses later, let’s read it.

vs. 7. I can’t read that verse and ignore that word “waiting.” It seems that the way to get ahold of
God could be by waiting. That actually in waiting I become motivated. I find strength in Isaiah
40. I find strength in waiting and I get ahold of God and my waiting is not passive. It’s not
inaction. It’s not laziness. It’s not, you know, doing nothing. It’s the action of waiting on God.
I think when we’re waiting, what these verses are telling us is that we are activating a heavenly
realm, a God factor in our life. Just when we think that this is a perfect time to take all my
experience and all my intellect and everything I know and all my energy and solve my problem
and attack my problem, we only make it worse. We only make it worse with our words and our
movements. And what we want is to wait.

What we should do is to wait. And when we do, we are tapping into something divine. We’re
tapping into the plan of God. We’re tapping into the reality. We’re engaging spiritual realities. We
are engaging the mind of God and the purpose of God. As we are doing nothing so to speak but
praying and waiting, something changes. Something becomes very clear to us that God is in
charge and he implements his plan. When we wait, we allow God to implement his plan. Waiting
is like power. The power to do nothing. The ability to stand back and to wait. It’s very difficult for
us. It seems counter intuitive. It seems like, you know, we’re not doing it right, but there’s a
beautiful way about it.

Whenever I think of human beings psychologically, I think of Adam before the Fall. I love
comparing Adam before the Fall with me. It’s helped me many times to understand me. The way
Adam was before sin and the way I am now. And the reason why I act and think the way I do,
and the reason why I have insecurities or I respond to certain situations or the way that I am. My
makeup.

When I think about Adam, he was a beautiful, sinless person. Undoubtedly, he was very much
engaged with every brain cell. We don’t know but he was probably very, very smart. Nothing
was inhibiting him. There was no sin in his life that prevented him from utilizing everything that
God created in him. That his emotions were under control. His brain cells were popping. Doing
their thing. He was very intellectual maybe. Very smart. Very quickly picking up and realizing his
environment, his circumstances. Probably a beautiful thing to watch.

But he was lacking something. He was lacking a lot. Within himself, within himself, there was
not the capacity, the source, the ability to find peace. He was not made with a source within
himself to give himself joy and happiness and contentment. Even in that perfect state before the
Fall with all that ability and all those brains and everything, he could not provide himself rest as
the song we just heard. He could not give himself rest. He was not designed to give himself rest.
He would never – I made a little list – he would never be able to find any sort of peace
whatsoever.

That was not the plan. He was made to be dependent. From day one, God created
him to be dependent on God. He would have to look to God to find these things, and he was
never made to be self-dependent. He was made to be a receiver. His entire makeup and every
reason, everything that he has was made for him to receive from God the main things that he
needed in life. Yes, he had the brains cells. Yes, he could name all the animals. Yes, he
probably figured out how everything worked very quickly. And was able to utilize his skills and
his ability in many different ways just like you and me. But he could not give himself the most
important things. Peace. Love. Joy. These were beyond him.

And 2,000 years later, nothing has changed. Here we are. A room full of people and not one of
us is a source of joy either for yourself or anybody else around you. It cannot work. It will not
work. You don’t have the attributes. You are a void. There is a gaping hole that you are
desperately trying to fill by yourself to give yourself peace and joy and rest.

I was recently at a dock, a harbor, and in the harbor were four gigantic cruise ships. Just
massive cruise ships. Like as big as you can imagine. Just huge slips. And on these ships are
slides, water slides, coming off and around the ship all over the place. And there’s like five pools
and hot tubs everywhere. A bowling alley. An ice skating rink. Minature golf course. And you just
stand there and you look at the one ship and you look at another one and you look at thousands
of people on this boat. And these things built to entertain me or to try to entertain me.

Every year, I go to Hershey Park with the teens. Every Convention, I spend one day at an
amusement park, and it’s definitely the worst day of the year for me! It is such a – the crowns in
heaven I am getting for just that day! Stacked up. This is literally the last place on the planet I
want to be. I just go find a corner and a little bit of shade, grab my book and sit there and watch
all the bags from the kids. You watch this whole thing, this whole park. There’s roller coasters
and ships flying in the air and water slides and manmade river and a wave pool and all this stuff
and you’re just sitting there going, what is wrong with us? What is wrong with us? How much
more is it going to take? How much bigger do these parks have to get? How much bigger do
these boats have to get? How many more bars is it going to take? Even eating itself is for no
other reason than for entertainment, right? Eating has become entertainment.

Our TV channels, Netflix, a thousand movies at our fingertips at any given time. The entire world
spending billions and billions of dollars trying to give me some peace and some joy and some
satisfaction in life. And I have said this before, but I love this Eugene Peterson quote. The entire,
the size of the entertainment industry, a sign of depleting joy. It is not working. It is not working.
Despite all the efforts. Despite all the money.

Money is the root of all evil. You know why? Because it will attempt to give you what you cannot
get. It will give you the allusion that it can give you something but it won’t work. In it, you will just
find yourself and your emptiness and you cannot fulfill what God intended to come from him. He
is our source.

I love this little sentence right here, vs. 3. “which we looked not for.” Which we looked not for.
So, there’s God’s way. There’s mountains blowing up. There’s presence of God. There’s water
boiling, but we never looked for it. We never looked for it the right way. We didn’t know how to
look for it. We are looking for a grand entrance. We’re looking for an amazing presence. We’re
looking for earth shattering moments. We looked not for. We did not know where to go to find
the presence of God. It’s, it’s, if it was left to me and no one showed me. No one told me.

If I didn’t have a pastor or church, if I didn’t read my Bible, I would be looking in the wrong place
waiting for some kind of extravagant event to happen to change the problems and issues and
difficulties in my life and the pain in my life. I am prone to look in the wrong place. We look not
for.

The prophet is talking about these amazing times in the past. But these amazing events all
happened in the midst of great waiting. Moses was waiting in the desert. Joseph was waiting.
David was waiting. All these amazing things happened in the midst of waiting. What he wants,
what he remembers happened, but they happened while people were waiting.

Jacob was waiting and all throughout the Bible. Noah waited 120 years. A lot of waiting in the
Bible. Yet here we are in our busy world, in our immediate, satisfying culture. Everything coming
to me now. Everything at the push of a button. Faster. Quicker. Easier. Everything gearing my
whole life to think in terms of immediate gratification, immediate results, immediate plan. And
God is no where to be found, because we are looking in the wrong place. I did not know. I did
not know. When we are waiting, my flesh becomes impotent. That’s why there’s waiting. It
disengages my flesh. My flesh doesn’t know what to do. It has no power. It has no foundation. It
can’t move. And as I’m waiting, it’s suffering. It’s shrinking. It’s dying.

One time we had a mouse in the house. Mice in the house. One mouse. I think my wife is
horrified that I just told you all of that! So, we didn’t know what to do with mice. So, we got some
poison. We put some poison out. All of a sudden, we’re sitting in the living room one day and
there’s a mouse running in circles like crazy. In the middle of our kitchen. In circles. Apparently,
the poison swells up inside of him. Horrible way to die. We didn’t know for those of you animal
lovers! That’s my flesh when you’re waiting. It’s going nuts. It’s dying. It’s freaking out, you know.
It doesn’t know what to do. It doesn’t have it’s usual tools of strength and intellect and power
and ability and experience. It doesn’t know how to tackle. It doesn’t know how to respond. It’s
lost. It’s totally lost.

And my will is debilitated. I now cannot do my own will, and my intelligence, all those brain cells,
the few that I have just become a little side show. They’re not that important whether you’re
working at a high level of intelligence or a low level of intelligence. It really doesn’t matter. It’s a
side show, and my emotions begin to follow properly like they were supposed to. And all my own
solutions fall short. My own conceptions, my own ideas, all my trickery, my mechanisms, my
little ways I operate in this world. My cleverness. Paralyzed. Totally paralyzed. All self-effort
paralyzed. Just by waiting. Just by waiting.

I love God’s ways. He knows us. He knows me. He knows how to get me to turn to him. By not
answering when I want him to answer. By not acting when I want him to act. He knows exactly
what I need, and it is not myself that I need. I cannot fix this. But it is a suspenseful time waiting
for God. It is interesting. It’s slow. A slow moving God. It requires silence, meditation, rethinking.
It requires church. It requires my Bible. It requires prayer. It requires me getting on my knees.
It’s lonely. It’s giving up my schedule, my agenda. Stop relying on myself. It’s excruciatingly
helpless. It’s – there’s nothing we can do. Nothing I can do to solve this problem except wait on
God. And it requires surrendering.

You know what happens in waiting? A cross develops. Kind of in a surprising way. We didn’t
know. We heard that we were supposed to crucify ourselves. We heard. We learned. We read
our Bibles that there’s, that we’re supposed to have a cross life, and we’re wondering how that’s
going to happen. But it won’t happen when I’m full of myself and all of my strength operating
every single day. No, it’s in waiting that the cross gets developed in my life because I have to
turn to God. I have to turn to God. And the reality of God becomes something amazing, and I
learn something unbelievable. I learn invaluable truth, something that I was always meant to
know. I learn that he will show himself to be faithful. That’s what I learn when I wait. And if I
know that, if I know that, everything is okay. Psychologically, I’m balanced. Emotionally, I’m okay.
There’s all of a sudden I realize peace.

I learned something about peace recently. I had two choices in my life. If I went this way, I
struggled. Whatever the result was, I struggled with either outcome. There’s multiple options
and whatever I picked, it just didn’t work. This, this and this. On the other side, on the other side
when it was God, I realized it doesn’t matter what happens. Either way, I’m okay. There’s this
kind of peace when you wait and you ask God what do you want me to do and what’s going on,
there’s this kind of peace that the results are not really that important. You’re just living in God’s
will and there’s peace. I learned about a new peace in my life, like another little layer of the
presence of God. And less interested in the details is another way of putting it. The presence of
God is here.

I love – one of my favorite verses is Luke 21:19, “in your patience, you will possess your soul.”
In waiting for God, you will own your life. You will own your life. You will finally find peace. You
will finally find joy. You will finally find his presence. Cause that’s really the point of this. I don’t
think Isaiah – there seems to be as I said earlier, there seems to be this contrast between vs. 1-
3 and vs. 4. But actually, I don’t think there is any contrast. I think it’s exactly the way that he
describes it except that it comes by waiting. You know, the boiling of the water and the flowing of
the mountain down to me happens in waiting. Not in action. Not in movement but just patient
waiting I find the presence of God. And he is with me and I understand it and I know it and I
don’t like it but it’s there. These verses go together beautifully. Wait on the Lord. Wait on the
Lord. You will see amazing things. You’ll actually even hear amazing things. You’ll actually even
perceive amazing things. You’ll see amazing things.

Everything. You’ll see God. Man has not heard. Man cannot perceive. Yeah, I understand that. But wait on God and there will be some kind of wisdom flowing down towards you that you will realize and you will know and you will
understand. Like okay. God is here and there’s peace and there’s joy and there’s contentment
and the details will be what they will be but I can feel God. That’s how real it becomes.
And we don’t love it. We don’t love it. I have to say. I still don’t like it. Even though I know this
truth, I still don’t love it. But, Isaiah 40, when we are waiting on the Lord, we get wings. We get
wings. We are renewed. We get new strength and then we get wings. I just love that mental
picture. I’m struggling through life and carrying burdens and life is hard and life is heavy.

Why? Cause you’re trying to do it yourself. You’re trying to figure it all out yourself. You’re trying to
process Christianity on your own. You’re trying to get through the day on your own. God is
saying I got something better for you. I could give you wings. I could give you wings. If you could
just learn to trust me. Just learn to rely on me. Waiting equals trusting God. And waiting means
that God becomes my all and all. How else could God become my all and all except when I
learn that he is faithful. That he is there. That he is present.

So, God has it this way for you and me. A very lonely, quiet, still waiting but his presence, his
presence. I think of Amy Carmichael in that bed for 20 years with her back in pain. And all that
work to do. All that work. All those orphans to take care of. All those people that need to be
saved all around her. How frustrating it must have been for her, right? How wrong the whole
thing must have felt. Like God sends her to India and sticks her in a bed for 20 years. And it
doesn’t make any sense on a natural level. That is just not getting a bang for my buck. That’s
not where I want to be. That’s not how I thought this was going to end up but, she thought her
ministry was to the orphans.

Her ministry was to the world. She writes amazing books and amazing poems. We know her
today as an amazing Christian. Why? Because she met God in that bed laying around doing
nothing and there it is. The presence of God boiling over. Lava flowing down. Volcanic
experience with the presence of God which is what the prophet wanted and what I want and
what you want. And we have been promised this kind of reality in our life, but it does not come
the way we want it. Amen. Let’s pray.

 

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