Therefore will the Lord wait
The term “therefore” suggests a reason…..God always has a reason when He waits to answer us.
Isaiah 30:18 “And 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: for the Lord is a God of judgement: blessed are all they that wait for Him.”
The word “wait” is never a good term to us…..we want things now….or soon, very soon.
We think in terms of what we are praying for…..
But, in the Lord’s sight…..our waiting, is an experience in itself.
What will we do, if we have to wait on Him?
Matthew 15:21-22 “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coast, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”
Jesus had gone up into the northern coasts of Palestine….away from the Pharisees and scribes which say they want to honor God, yet tried to get around it (Matthew 15:1-9)……….when a woman came and cried for help for her daughter.
Now it says here she was a “woman of Canaan”
(She was probably a descendent of the Canaanites…..which should have been destroyed when Israel came in to possess their land almost nine hundred years before.
In Mark, she is called a Greek—Gentile, a Syrophoenician….conquests through the centuries, and intermarriages had given this Canaanite descendent, that nation.)
Matthew 15:23 “But He answered her not a word, and His disciples came and besought Him saying, Send her away, for she crieth after us.”
This woman is fervent in her request…..but Jesus waits…
She had cried for mercy to the Lord, Thou Son of David……but He would not speak to her….neither of mercy, nor would He send her away.
He was waiting….
This woman had no claim upon His mercy….period, full stop.
Mercy is the prerogative of the Almighty. It is the benevolence and kindness of God to sinners.
That He has chosen to give it, temporally to all….the sun, the rain, the growing season, etc….gives no sinful creature the right to claim it.
But she was asking a greater mercy……. for salvation for her daughter…..salvation from demon obsession. Grievous, to be sure.
She came to the right Person…..she understood His claim of Kingship, and she believed He was……..but she came asking for mercy on the grounds of His being the Messiah, the Son of David, to come…
…and for this Canaanite woman….that was not the way to come to Him.
Matthew 15:24 “But He answered and said, I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
He was saying…..”If you are coming to Me as Messiah…..I can not help you….for My work as The Son of David, the King to come…..is to Israel, alone.”
And He waited….
He had not spoken directly to her….but to His disciples….
…..but He had opened to her, if she was listening…..a door of opportunity.
No answer, yet….but something.
(How many times, have we missed opportunities from the Lord, to hear what is wrong in our prayers…..or what is missing?)
Matthew 15:25 “Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me.”
This was a big step forward, for now she came for mercy….on the right basis….that He is Lord….her Lord.
But still He waits…..
…testing, if the word “Lord” is truth to her.
Matthew 15:26-27 “But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the Master’s table.”
I have put these two together….to me they always are, or should be…..
He finally answers her……not in the way she wants….but in a way to draw out from her…..if she really trusts Him as Lord…..faith in Him,….and His Will for her and her daughter.
….this is a big, big leap of faith…….”Truth, I am a dog……but even a crumb from Your table, Master, will be enough to satisfy a dog like me.”
(James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.)
Matthew 15:28 “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
Faith keeps God before our eyes….His love, His mercy, His truth, His power….and because she had faith in the Lord Jesus,…..she took her place at His feet and received the blessing she cried for.
In reality, we are all unworthy of the least of God’s mercies…..but praise God, they are not given because we are worthy….
….or because we “cry” for them….
….but because He is Merciful. Because He is all grace. Because He is worthy….as the Master of His own House….
…..He often waits to be gracious, to bring out from us, more faith, a subjection to truth, and a witness to others of His mercy.
Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him:….”
(Many years ago, when I was a young man, I had “ran” away from God….He could not treat me the way He was! [So silly was I.]
I was dealt with, again, and again….and finally came back to Him….getting forgiven, and restored.
But my guilt was great….and I was depressed often.
One day, the battle for my very soul’s peace, raged….
….the devil’s accusations (all very true, but forgiven)….came to my mind, again and again.
…..and my attempts at standing in the forgiveness I had gotten were so feeble….
It was not going well, I felt bruised all over….and it seemed as if everything I said was beginning to sound worthless, even to me….
Again, I will say, we do not receive mercy, because we are worthy of it….or because we cry for it….but because He is the God of all Mercy….and bestows it at the right time….
I was just about to give up….when God sent me a mercy….in the form of this verse sounding in my ears like a joyful trumpet sound:
“Though He slay me, yet will I praise Thee…..”
Whatever was ahead for me….(no, I had not been called to preach yet)…I would praise Him for saving me…period, full-stop.
And the Adversary was gone….the battle over.)
God waits to be gracious for our good….although sometimes it does not feel that way.
Yet we must hang on to our faith…..let it guide us to Him as “Lord”; and take our place before Him, leaving the grace and mercy come….when He sends it.