Bread — Waiting

January 22, 2014

Readings for Monday, January 20, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Gen. 8:6-22; Heb. 4:14-5:6; John 2:23-3:15; Psalms 9,15,25


“At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven… in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out from the ark, …” Gen. 8:6,13-15

Something happens and we put our life on hold. In Noah’s case, it was the flood. He sat in the ark he had made according to God’s command for a long time and when, he saw some mountaintops, he began to send out birds until, one day, it didn’t come back.

Imagine the celebration. The waters were receding and we can get out of this cramped, smelly, box of wood.

And Noah saw that the waters “were dried from off the earth” and removed the cover of the ark (It was sitting on the ground), probably so that he could see better and the sun could come pouring in. And he looked around and “the face of the ground was dry.”

What did he do next? He waited.

Is that what we would have done? Maybe we go through a time of “fasting,” keeping ourselves from some delectable like ice cream. At the end of the fast, what do we do? We go out, of course, and eat us some ice cream! After all, the fast is over! Let the celebration begin!

But what did Noah do? He saw that the time of wandering was over, that the “ground was dry,” and he waited. He did not whine. He did not step out to test the ground. He did not send out one of his animals to get them off the boat so he could have some more room. He just looked and waited.

Do you think he was tempted? I do. The top was off the ark, the waters were gone from the ground, the ground appeared dry, he is probably sick of being in close quarters with his family and every living thing from the earth, and the food in his storage was probably getting a little on the worn side. The promised land was but a few steps away. I can imagine him dreaming about lowering the side of the boat and stepping off. I can imagine him dreaming about being free again.

But he waited until what? Until God told him to leave. He was content to wait where he was until he was told by God what to do next.

What gave Noah the strength to do that? What gave him the ability to just wait on the Lord? We see no evidence of spiritual whining (urgent prayer asking the Lord for permission to leave), we see no evidence of Noah saying that “God helps those who help themselves,” we see no urgency on Noah’s part to get back to what he was doing before the flood. We see absolutely nothing from Noah except patience and obedience to God’s commands, once those commands are known.

So what gave Noah this strength? The Holy Spirit, to be sure. But I also think it was because of something else, something more personal to Noah. Think about what Noah has seen. Noah has seen judgment fall on everyone except him and his family. Noah has seen mercy and grace fall in him and his family. Noah has seen himself chosen by God in His sovereign will and not because of anything that Noah did. Noah has seen God’s provision bring him through tough times. Noah has received salvation from death. Noah has, by the grace and power of God, been given a new beginning.

It may be that Noah has learned to wait because Noah has come to the realization that he has received nothing, ever, except that which God has chosen to give him.

In our busy lives, we have no time to wait upon the Lord, to not move until we hear His voice, His instructions for the day. We get up in the morning with our agendas, rather than spend time with God in rest until He releases us into the world. We do not want to wait, we do not know how to wait, and we will not wait.

Perhaps we should take a lesson from Noah today. There is simple obedience and love in waiting. There is the power of knowledge that all things, including time, come from God and He will redeem for us what we need. There is the opportunity to see the miracle which God has in store for us if we would be wait upon Him for our marching orders. There is gratitude in turning our eyes toward our Savior instead of toward our objectives for the day.

What would have happened if Noah had not waited? We don’t know, but maybe, just maybe, the ground only appeared dry and was not dry. How often have we ourselves stepped out in our own power upon what appeared to us to be solid ground, only to sink to our ankles and knees into a muddy mess, a quagmire?

We don’t know what would have happened had Noah proceeded before God told him to, but we do know what happened when Noah waited until God said “go.” What happened was restoration of the earth and a future for man.

In obedience there is life. In waiting there is rest.

Let us then, today, wait until we hear God and see what happens. I’ll bet we will like the outcome.


© 2014 GBF


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