Recently in my personal devotions, a verse in Isaiah really jumped off the page at me. I want to briefly share it and a few thoughts I had about it with you all. I hope that you will be as blessed and challenged as I was. Isaiah 30:18 says, “And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you.”
That one simple phrase in the middle of the book of Isaiah seemed to jump right off the page at me, grab me by the shirt collar, shake me out of me pre-coffee drowsiness, and say, “What is the Lord waiting on to show grace to you, Caleb?” Now don’t get me wrong, God shows special grace to me every day. The very fact that I am breathing, and that I have enough control of my faculties to type on this computer is a demonstration of His grace. However, this verse got me to thinking. Could MORE grace be shown to me? If so, what is holding God back from showing it to me? In studying and meditating on it more, I believe there are three things that God could be waiting for in the life of a Christian to show them more grace.
1. He is waiting for us to repent of our sin.
This one verse is plonked down right in the middle of a series of woes that are pronounced against Israel. In chapter 28, a woe is uttered against the pride of Israel. Chapter 29 sees woe pronounced against Jerusalem, the city of worship, for turning away from God. Later in the chapter, another woe is spoken which condemns those who have tried to deceive the Lord. Chapter 30 seems to bring almost a climax to the woes, as the open rebellion of the children of Israel is condemned. Israel was in a dark and wicked time in their history, a time in which they had abandoned the Lord, had decided to trust in themselves and the strength of men rather than in Him, and had turned to the worship of their own idols. God is always gracious to His children. He gives us air to breathe, keeps our hearts beating, and above all gave us the gift of eternal life. However, I believe at times, we miss out on grace and blessings that He is just waiting to give to us, because we are unwilling to let go of the sin, pride, and selfishness in our lives. Let it go, so that God can extend that extra grace to you!
2. He is waiting for us to learn our lesson.
The woe that is pronounced in chapter 30 of Isaiah is directed at rebellion, and more specifically, at the rebellion of trusting in the strength and counsel of man, rather than the strength and counsel of God. As Assyria prepares to invade Israel, rather then turning to the Lord for protection, they asked Egypt to come protect them. What a slap in the face of God! The very people that He delivered them from hundreds of years before, are the ones that they turn to for protection. We as men understand the desire to protect those we love. Imagine how hurt you would be if your wife was in some situation where she had to go to the hospital, and the first person she called was not you…it was an ex boyfriend. How great would you feel? We know that is not acceptable, but yet it was exactly what Israel did to God. He makes it clear in chapter 30 that the Egyptians will be worthless in helping Israel, and then says something very interesting in v. 15. “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; ‘In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; and ye would not.” God had given Israel the key to success, the key to confidence and peace, but they refused to pay attention. There are times in my life, where I refuse to pay attention to the lessons and messages that God is trying to teach me. Sometimes, I don’t get the message because I am allowing the hustle and bustle of life to drown out His voice. Sometimes, it is because I have allowed my focus to become fixed on something other than Him. Other times, it is because I am too busy trying to fix my own problems to listen to Him tell me how to fix them. At times, we do not receive the grace that God wants to give us, because we haven’t learned the lessons He is trying to teach us.
3. He is waiting to receive the most glory.
As Christians, we must never forget that our sole purpose for being here on earth is to glorify God. Everything that goes on in our lives and everything that goes on around us is to bring glory to the name of the Lord. Too often we live as if God’s purpose is to make our lives easier, but the truth is, our only purpose, whether through ease or difficulty, is to exalt and glorify the Lord. This is made clear in the second part of v. 18: “therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you.” Sometimes, God waits to show grace to us, because He is waiting for the exact moment, that when that grace is extended to us, we bring the most glory to His name. Think of a showman of any kind – a magician, a comedian, a musician or even a circus performer. They are not going to do the best part of their act first! No magician is going to do his very best trick as soon as his show starts – they want you to wait, and build anticipation looking forward to that trick. A comedian will not tell his funniest joke right away, he too will set the stage and whet our appetite for that hilarious moment. The trapeze artist will build the suspense with lesser tricks before he does his most death defying stunts. So too with God! He waits, builds the anticipation, whets our appetite for His grace, and then, at the exact right moment, when He will receive the most glory, He extends it. This is not selfish, nor egotistical! If we think that, then we are being selfish and egotistical, because in our minds we are saying that our comfort is more important than God’s glory. We are not a priority! God, who created this universe, created us for the sole purpose of glorifying Him, and sometimes, He waits to extend that little extra grace, because in waiting, He glorifies Himself that little bit more.
What about you? Do you feel like there are times in your life that God does not extend as much grace as He could? Don’t blame Him! Clean up any sin in your life, start learning the lessons He is trying to teach you, and make glorifying Him your only priority! I bet you will be surprised at the results!