according to all that he promised.
There has not failed one word of all his good promise,
which he promised by Moses his servant.
The Foundation of Wisdom
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp. How can fearing God make us wise?
First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.
If we commit ourselves to living for God’s purposes rather than our own, we will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our life. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.
But if we reject God’s instructions, we dishonor Him with our refusal to acknowledge His right to rule our life. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think we can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.
What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly revere Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. The result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.
God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.
Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).
Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.
Exodus 14:14 (WEB)
I believe there is something in the heart of God that fights on our behalf when we do not try and fight for ourselves. Waiting on the Lord is not passive, but it is the most active thing we can do. When we wait on God to fight for us, we are putting ourselves in a very vulnerable position and by doing so, we are demonstrating in a very practical way that we know that our heavenly Dad is the source of our help.
Does this mean that we never wage warfare on a spiritual level? After all, the Bible says that we are to ‘resist the devil and he will flee’, ‘take on the full armor of God’, etc. I believe what Exodus 14:14 is talking about is fighting in our own strength. There is a huge difference from fighting our battles in our own best efforts and fighting battles in the power of the Lord’s might.
When we learn that the battle really is the Lord’s, we can rest in His ability to save us and draw from His strength and not our own. Whatever battle you are facing today, be comforted in knowing that you have a Father (God) and a Big Brother (Jesus) fighting on your behalf. You only need to be at peace and watch what happens.
The Power of Prayer
Philippians 4:6 says that it’s good to bring requests to the Lord, and we do often ask Him for certain blessings, desired outcomes, and healing for loved ones. But there are times when, in God’s omniscience, He determines that a “no” would ultimately result in greater good.
So, what supplications can you be sure are in accordance with His will? Paul recorded specific petitions he made on behalf of the Colossians, and you can offer these life-changing prayers for people in your own life as well.
First, request that they “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). In this way, you are asking God to give them direction and the ability to see life from His viewpoint.
Second, ask that they “will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (v. 10). The only way to succeed in this is through the control of the Holy Spirit—He fills hearts with a longing for God and creates the desire to please Him through obedience.
Third, pray that their life would count (v. 10). There is a difference between being busy and being fruitful. Many Christians assume that to have an impact for God, they must volunteer in numerous ministries at church or become a missionary or pastor. But the truth is, effectiveness in God’s work depends on what He calls each person to do.
Too often, Christians pray for others only during hardships. But Paul continuously lifted up the Colossians to our Father (v. 9). As you mention others by name to the Lord, consider the areas that the apostle addressed.
Why Isn’t God Speaking?
The Bible speaks of times when God chose to be silent—to an individual or to humanity as a whole. David cried out to Him but discerned no answer (Psalm 22:2). Then there was Job, who must have felt the Lord had abandoned him. And during the gap between the Old and New Testaments, God had no prophet for 400 years.
We don’t always hear from the Lord when we expect to. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the world and our own interests that we simply can’t detect His voice over all the noise. There are also other reasons for His silence—He may be choosing to remain quiet because …
He wants our attention. We can’t expect God to answer simply because we’ve summoned Him. Perhaps He is reminding us that He is in charge.
There is unconfessed sin in our life. When we’re willing to deal with our sin, God is ready to talk to us. To continue living in sin, however, communicates that we’re not interested in His will for us.
We’re not ready. If we’re doing our own thing and are unwilling to walk in obedience, God might be waiting for us to make up our mind to follow Him.
He’s teaching us to trust Him. If we’re motivated to love God only when there’s indication that He’s listening, our relationship with Him is based on feeling rather than faith.
He’s teaching us to distinguish His voice from others. When God speaks softly, we listen more closely and eventually recognize His voice better.
Whatever the situation, we can be certain of one thing: God’s quietness is always for our good.
We believe that in accord with your Word the hour has come for Your children to be received into glory and it is plainly evident to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. We ask that You would now glorify us that we may glorify You. We have greatly desired to be with Your Son, our Lord, and now we will see Him face to face. We have accepted Your Son and His message and have placed our faith in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. We know that He rose again from the dead and ascended to Your right hand. As surely as You live, we know He lives and reigns with You. And as surely as He rose He will come again. We have brought You glory on earth and have obeyed the commandment of Your Son to share the Gospel of grace with every nation.
Your Holy Spirit within us has convicted the whole world of sin. The world You love has rejected Your offer of forgiveness, but all of Your sheep have heeded the message and await the fulfillment of the promise You made to redeem our earthly bodies. We know that You will not lose even one of us. Free us from these bodies of sin and death and seat us with our Lord in the heavenly realms. Hide us with Christ on high. We accept Your irrevocable gifts of eternal life and the authority to reign over the nations. Clothe us in incorruptible and immortal bodies. Make us like Your perfect Son. Let us walk with Him clothed in white with new names and as everlasting pillars in Your heavenly temple.
We have fought the good fight and kept our faith to the end. We have overcome the world not by our works, but by our faith in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And now our accuser and his accusing angels are preparing a cosmic assault to destroy us, yet we are not shaken. We will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. We have loved not our lives unto death. Together we cry “Abba! Father!” Deliver us from the wrath that is to come and count us worthy to escape all the things coming on the earth and to stand before the Son of Man. Purify and sanctify Your Church. Remove everything that divides us. Make us one just as You and Your Son are One. Make us one in the Spirit and in the truth. Keep us until the end. Let us faithfully follow You and Your Word, never flinching in the face of persecution and adversity.
For those who still refuse to come to Your Son to find life, we pray that You would now prepare them for the coming wrath. When we go to You, open their eyes and bring them to repentance. Let them finally recognize that You are the LORD of all the earth and no god was formed before You, neither will any god be formed after You. Open their blind eyes and unstop their deaf ears. Melt their hard hearts. Please show them great mercy even in the midst of wrath. Let them finally come to know You and let them hold fast to their faith in You even as great horror is unleashed upon the earth. Surround them with people and Scriptural knowledge that will help direct their path in the midst of great opposition and deception. Let them not be deceived. Keep them from taking the beast’s mark.
We pray also for protection for Your people Israel. Please bless them with abundance and let not their enemies triumph over them. Let them finally recognize that Jesus is their Messiah. Help them to fervently seek the truth despite what will be the greatest opposition they have ever faced. Protect the remnant and send on them provision for their every need. Keep them in the palm of Your hand.
Finally, we pray that You would stir up our hearts with faith and courage, so that in these remaining days we would share the Good News and the lateness of the hour with a greater fervency and zeal than we ever have before. Let us no longer just be fed ourselves, but let us go and feed Your sheep. Make each brother and sister aware of what they can do to alert the Church and the world to what is coming. Give them courage and provision to carry Your plans through to completion. Help them to deliver the message boldly. Help them to pray this prayer unceasingly.
Abba, we await Your Son from Heaven. We long for deliverance. Maranatha and AMEN.