Waiting for God to Answer

  • July 24, 2015
Friday 24

Psalms 17:1-6

Yesterday we learned several reasons why a prayer may seem to go unanswered. Let’s consider more possibilities.

One is unconfessed sin. God promises to forgive us once we admit our action is wrong and turn away from it (1 John 1:9). But if our confession is mere lip service or we persist in ungodly ways, petitions won’t be granted. An unrepentant heart always hinders our prayer life.

What about those times when our heart is right and what we ask is in line with God’s will, but He remains silent? Sometimes He waits because our longing for Him is in danger of being replaced by our desire for something else. Certain petitions—such as a request for a spouse, a baby, or a loved one’s healing—generate strong emotions in us. Unless we are careful, these desires could divert our attention from God. He will not share first place with anyone or anything. So sometimes He patiently waits for our focus to return to Him before He answers.

At other times, God uses delays to prepare us for future service or greater blessing. He could be protecting us from consequences we fail to see, or He may want to strengthen our trust. Strong faith means believing Him even in trials, persevering while awaiting an answer, and being confident that He always keeps His promises.

Prayer is the communication link between us and our loving Father. Instead of letting “static” block His message to us, we must confess and turn from all known sin. Then we’ll be able to hear God’s voice and obediently carry out whatever He asks.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 8-10 

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1 Hear a just cause, O LORD, give heed to my cry; Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.

2 Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; Let Your eyes look with equity.

3 You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.

4 As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent.

5 My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped.

6 I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Then the LORD said to me, Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it in ordinary letters: Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.

2 And I will take to Myself faithful witnesses for testimony, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah."

3 So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the LORD said to me, Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz;

4 for before the boy knows how to cry out `My father' or `My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria."

5 Again the LORD spoke to me further, saying,

6 Inasmuch as these people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah And rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah;

7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates, Even the king of Assyria and all his glory; And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks.

8 Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, It will reach even to the neck; And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.

9 Be broken, O peoples, and be shattered; And give ear, all remote places of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be shattered.

10 Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; State a proposal, but it will not stand, For God is with us."

11 For thus the LORD spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying,

12 You are not to say, ` It is a conspiracy!' In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.

13 It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.

14 Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 Many will stumble over them, Then they will fall and be broken; They will even be snared and caught."

16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

17 And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him.

18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

19 When they say to you, Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

21 They will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward.

22 Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness.

1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

2 The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.

3 You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.

5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

8 The Lord sends a message against Jacob, And it falls on Israel.

9 And all the people know it, That is, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, Asserting in pride and in arrogance of heart:

10 The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with smooth stones; The sycamores have been cut down, But we will replace them with cedars."

11 Therefore the LORD raises against them adversaries from Rezin And spurs their enemies on,

12 The Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west; And they devour Israel with gaping jaws. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.

13 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, Nor do they seek the LORD of hosts.

14 So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, Both palm branch and bulrush in a single day.

15 The head is the elder and honorable man, And the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail.

16 For those who guide this people are leading them astray; And those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.

17 Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, Nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; For every one of them is godless and an evildoer, And every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.

18 For wickedness burns like a fire; It consumes briars and thorns; It even sets the thickets of the forest aflame And they roll upward in a column of smoke.

19 By the fury of the LORD of hosts the land is burned up, And the people are like fuel for the fire; No man spares his brother.

20 They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, And they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; Each of them eats the flesh of his own arm.

21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, And together they are against Judah. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.

1 Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,

2 So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans.

3 Now what will you do in the day of punishment, And in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth?

4 Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives Or fall among the slain. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.

5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,

6 I send it against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets.

7 Yet it does not so intend, Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy And to cut off many nations.

8 For it says, Are not my princes all kings?

9 Is not Calno like Carchemish, Or Hamath like Arpad, Or Samaria like Damascus?

10 As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, Whose graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,

11 Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images Just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?"

12 So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness."

13 For he has said, By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this, For I have understanding; And I removed the boundaries of the peoples And plundered their treasures, And like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants,

14 And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest, And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth; And there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped."

15 Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.

16 Therefore the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors; And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.

17 And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.

18 And He will destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body, And it will be as when a sick man wastes away.

19 And the rest of the trees of his forest will be so small in number That a child could write them down.

20 Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.

22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them will return; A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.

23 For a complete destruction, one that is decreed, the Lord GOD of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land.

24 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, O My people who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian who strikes you with the rod and lifts up his staff against you, the way Egypt did.

25 For in a very little while My indignation against you will be spent and My anger will be directed to their destruction."

26 The LORD of hosts will arouse a scourge against him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and His staff will be over the sea and He will lift it up the way He did in Egypt.

27 So it will be in that day, that his burden will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of fatness.

28 He has come against Aiath, He has passed through Migron; At Michmash he deposited his baggage.

29 They have gone through the pass, saying, Geba will be our lodging place." Ramah is terrified, and Gibeah of Saul has fled away.

30 Cry aloud with your voice, O daughter of Gallim! Pay attention, Laishah and wretched Anathoth!

31 Madmenah has fled. The inhabitants of Gebim have sought refuge.

32 Yet today he will halt at Nob; He shakes his fist at the mountain of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.

33 Behold, the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will lop off the boughs with a terrible crash; Those also who are tall in stature will be cut down And those who are lofty will be abased.

34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an iron axe, And Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.

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Publish Date June 26, 2017
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