Monday, November 15, 2010

Good Things to Come

Good Things to Come
Nov 15, 2010
Isaiah 64:4 ". . . no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him."

There is an old saying that suggests good things come to those who wait. I have difficulty with this, because the statement doesn't really mean good things will naturally come when and if you simply wait. The statement means you should be patient for what you are expecting. No one likes to wait, especially if it is something we are expecting or anticipating. However, when it comes to spiritual things, waiting and expecting go hand in hand, especially when we are on God's time, schedule, and plan. God wants us to be in a state of expectation, anticipation of future things, but He wants us to wait for them, realizing they might not happen in this lifetime. Let me explain.

Isaiah 64:4-5 declares, "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways." This is a picture of God coming to the rescue of His own children, a picture of Him making everything right. It is telling us that God will act on our behalf, but we have to wait for Him. This waiting, though, is not necessarily what we think, especially if we are waiting for God to bring us a new house or a better job. The apostle Paul makes the passage slightly clearer for us by his interpretation of the same passage in the New Testament. He writes his own version of this verse, "However as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived'---the things God has prepared for those who love him." Notice Paul never mentions that we have to wait. Thankfully Paul leaves this word out. The word "wait" is misleading because we now must understand the scripture in light of seeing Jesus already live and die on this earth. Remember the original verse was written before Jesus came to die on the cross; we are no longer waiting for that.

If we are waiting for something, we are hoping it will come sooner than later, maybe even today so we can live tomorrow having already received it. Paul knew that the "things" we are waiting for are no longer for this earth. He knew they would not happen for us in our own lifetime, while we are all still alive in the current order of life. Paul knew these "things" would only happen when the Bridegroom comes to the earth again. Paul used the word "prepared" because he wanted us to understand it was a heavenly thing, not a worldly thing. The prophet in the Old Testament used the word "wait" because the Israelites were waiting for the Christ to come to the earth the first time around; they had not seen Jesus yet. They were waiting for Jesus to be born on the earth. Now, we are expecting Jesus and eternity in Heaven with Him; we are not waiting for his life and death on the cross, we are waiting to have what God has prepared for our future--IN HEAVEN.

The scripture is one and the same (both the Old Testament and the New Testament version), but the interpretation is different. The interpretation is in what we are expecting, in what we are waiting for. The scripture was partly fulfilled when Paul was quoting it, but both instances require us to wait in expectation of what God is going to do in the future.

There is one caveat, though, to both versions of the original verse. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the future arrival of "things" depends upon being a child of God. Read the words and verses right after each individual verse (look it up yourself), they denote a sense of obedience to God's words and teaching. In the Old Testament version, it clearly talked about doing right and following God's ways, but in the New Testament version, Paul leaves out obedience and instead brings in the word "love." Paul was aware that a new order of things began when Jesus walked the earth. In fact, Jesus gave the disciples the interpretation for the very verse in question, directly out of His own mouth. "Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'" And these are the "things" referenced in both versions of the verse. This is what God prepared, fellowship and a home for us with Him. Paul knew this and wanted us to understand what we are waiting for, what we are expecting for the future; it is no longer that Christ would come to live among us and die on the cross. It is now waiting expectantly for the time when God meets with us and we arrive into a heavenly home with Him.

Your eye has not seen and you cannot even begin to fathom the future God has for you, but you must wait for it; it won't happen on this earth. It will happen when Jesus comes for us again.

1. How can you read these scriptures and understand they speak of heavenly things?
2. How can you live expectantly of future heavenly things?
3. How can you ensure you are a child of God, thereby receiving those future things from Him?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Is 64, 1 Cor 2:8-9, John 14:23-25

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