God Can Wait
Isaiah 18:4
For so the LORD said to me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat on herbs…

I will rest. God was apparently inactive and unobservant, while the Assyrian was maturing his plans and taking all his first steps. But God watches the influences gathering round the growing-time of the trees, though men trace his working almost only in their fruitage. The words of this passage "paint with marvelous vividness the calmness and deliberation of the workings of Divine judgments. God is at once unhasting and unresting. He dwells in his resting-place (i.e. his palace or throne) and watches the ripening of the fruit which he is about to gather. While there is a clear heat in sunshine, while there is a dew-cloud in harvest-heat, through all phenomenal changes, he waits still" (Dean Plumptre). The figure of a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest is well illustrated by Thomson, in 'The Land and the Book,' who writes of a cloud which "absolutely reposed upon the vast harvest-fields of Philistia, lying on the corn serene and quiet as infancy asleep. I have never seen such a cloud in this country except in the heat of harvest." Cheyne brings out the point of this verse. "In the midst of all the excitement, of the Assyrians on the one hand, and of the Ethiopians on the other, Jehovah is calmly waiting till the fruit of Assyrian arrogance is all but ripe. Favoring circumstances are hastening the process (clear heat, etc.), and when perfection seems just within reach, God will interpose in judgment." God can wait - quietly wait - until the fullness of time has come. God reproaches our restlessness by his example, for our time is "always ready," and by our impatience and failure in self-control we spoil a thousand things. This subject may be opened in the following way.

I. IN SECURING MATERIAL ENDS THERE IS OFTEN GREAT NEED FOR WAITING. Illustrate from the failure of the general, because he did not wait until preparations were complete; or from the farmer who loses his crops by cutting them too soon, before the weather has become settled; or the artist who cannot wait to give his work the perfecting touches of his own criticism; or the pastor who injures the young blade by worrying anxiety over it, and cannot wait to let young soul-life gather quiet strength in its own simple ways. The wisdom of waiting is harder to learn and practice than the wisdom of acting and working. Yet the motto, by no means untruthfully, says, "All things come round to him who can wait."

II. IN SECURING MORAL ENDS THERE IS OFTEN ABSOLUTE NEED FOB WAITING. Because moral processes can never bear forcing. They vary in different individuals. The lesson of virtue which one person learns at once, another grasps only as a final result of the training of a long life. This point may be opened up in relation to the work of mothers and teachers. They seek moral ends. They are often distressed by the slowness of the approach to the end. They must learn the importance of active, watchful waiting. And in the highest sense, in relation to God's moral working, we all need to hear the voice that pleads, "Wait thou his time." Marvelous is the long-suffering patience of him who waited while the ark was building, and waited through the ages until the "fullness of times" for his Christ had come.

III. IN MAN WAITING MAY BE EITHER STRENGTH OR WEAKNESS. It may be "masterly inactivity," and it may be that "procrastination" which loses golden opportunities.

IV. IN GOD WAITING IS ALWAYS WISDOM AND STRENGTH. So we never need fret under it, or make mystery of it, or think untrustful things about it. God acts on the absolutely best moment, and we should wait on for ages, and never want a thing until God's best moment for it has come. Because God can wait, we should trust. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.

WEB: For Yahweh said to me, "I will be still, and I will see in my dwelling place, like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."

Missionary Exertion
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