What are you waiting for?
I imagine, if you are like me, you are waiting for something.
For guidance and direction.
For comfort and consolation.
So, where do we go when we need God’s answer, need God’s direction, or need God’s help?
Where do we position ourselves to receive His word of counsel, caution or consolation in our time of need? Especially if doubt, discouragement or despair assails our hearts and minds – because the answers are slow in coming during this waiting space?
If we’re completely honest, this waiting deal has been long.
Maybe, the wait has been too, too, too long.
What do we do?
In times of old, prophets often sought answers from their God during periods of waiting by positioning themselves in a lofty place.
They sought the protection, care, and help of the Lord in very high, but strong and secure towers of the city walls, of the desert fortresses, or of the forest ramparts.
Why would prophets ascend the tower steps and set themselves high above in these fortified, fenced bulwarks?
Why would these prophets of the LORD intentionally perch themselves as watchmen there?
In a tower???
The answer lies in the reality of the times. Positioning themselves high up in the tower allowed the prophets to see their people’s approaching adversary from a far distance and to spiritually prepare for each assault. It was here that they often waited for the Lord’s word for their people – especially when their city, desert, and forest citadels were besieged by their enemies.
For Habakkuk, a prophet of the Lord, the threat was real, and the attacks were imminent. The wicked, ruthless state of the hour upset and perplexed this prophet of the Lord. He set out his complaint and concern for his people in the tower of the Lord.
I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts.
I will look to see what He will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
New International Version, Habakkuk 2:1
Habakkuk took up his position before the Lord. His people were under attack from the Chaldeans, an ethnic group who lived in southern Babylonia. It was a ruthless time as the Chaldeans – or new Babylonians – sought to crush all opposition and expand their dynasty which would ultimately become the Babylonian Empire. Habakkuk sought help and redemption for his people from his God.
Yet, to attend to the voice of the Lord, and really hear Him, Habakkuk withdrew to a solitary place. He sought a tower location. Above the doubts, the worries, the fears, the distractions, and the looming threats to his people, Habakkuk raised his attention and his intentions. He fixed his mind and his thoughts upon his God.
And what happened?
An answer came.
The Lord replied, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that the herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time.
It speaks of the end, and it will not prove false.
Though it lingers; wait for it.
It will certainly come, and it will not delay.
New International Version, Habakkuk 2: 2-3
The Lord saw the situation regarding the Babylonian threat.
He heard Habakkuk’s complaint.
He answered at the appointed time. The Hebrew transliterated word for appointed time is mow ‘ed. Mow ‘ed is a sacred season or sacred place. Specifically, mow ‘ed is a sacred season and sacred space which is set apart to bring God glory. These are life events and often seasons of time. They are purposefully planned to bring the joyful fulfillment of the will of God – through life experience –
like waiting for a new job
like enduring, difficult cancer treatments
like waiting for a relationship that will ultimately lead to marriage
like remaining in a place until a new opportunity presents itself
like praying in earnest for years and years and years for a family member to place their faith in Jesus Christ
like waiting for a child to return home
like waiting for a new health option to address a significant health issue
like waiting to be heard and to be known
like waiting and waiting and waiting….
The answers we seek from God for our sacred seasons of life come through these appointed, necessary, God-ordained waiting times.
We need to bind ourselves, confine ourselves, and secure ourselves to these waiting spaces – these watch towers – with hope, with expectation, and with patience.
For those of us who determine to station ourselves in a position to hear from God, we must do as Habakkuk did.
Through the example of Habakkuk, we can identify specific steps to stationing ourselves to hear the voice of the Lord:
We withdraw from the world and its distractions and seek a sacred space to hear from Him.
We raise ourselves above this lowly world of doubt, fear, harassment, and cruelty.
We set our sights upon the Lord and abide in His presence.
We fix our thoughts upon Him alone.
We study Scripture and find encouragement in His word.
We look for His guiding hand in our experience and in our waiting.
We pray. We pray. We pray. We pray.
We lay out our complaints, our concerns, our fears and our worries, and our hopes before Him in prayer.
We are patient.
Yes, we are.
We demonstrate resolute trust and believe that the Lord’s plans are perfect – as we wait.
We are expectant that the Lord will answer – in His time, in His way, and according to His purpose.
We claim His promise:
The name of the LORD is a fortified tower,
The righteous run to it and are safe.
New International Version, Proverbs 18:10
We claim His promise:
For you have been my refuge,
A strong tower against the foe.
New International Version, Psalm 61:3
We claim His promise:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
New International Version, Lamentations 3: 22 – 26
Friends, there is no time like the present to withdraw from this distracting world.
The Lord has an appointed time for His appointed work.
The Lord has promised – though His answers may linger – wait – His answers will most certainly come!!!
Our task is to trust Him and wait during this sacred season for the fulfillment of His purpose in our lives.
Will we resolve to have an attitude of expectation that our God will answer as we place ourselves in the best position – a top a tower of refuge, hope, and defense – to hear His voice, receive His word, and submit in trust to His answer? Come what may?
Will we be expectant and ready for His answer – even as we wait?
Be encouraged, my friends.
The Lord’s answer will come!