Waiting On God

Before Moses and Joshua hiked up Mt. Sinai to receive God’s commandments, Moses said to the Israelites, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”1  And so the Israelites waited😕 . . . and waited 🤔. . . and waited. 😠 Until they could wait no more. Moses was taking too long.  After 40 days, they concluded that Moses was never coming back and told Aaron, “We do not know what has become of him.”2  They were lost without Moses.  

At that point, Aaron was supposed to tell them to be patient. That Moses would be back soon. That Yahweh had not abandoned them. That, in fact, the Lord had “heard their cry” long ago and had chosen Moses to “deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”3 Aaron was supposed to tell the Israelites that everything was okay. The plan was still the plan!—that they need not worry.

But he didn’t. He panicked. Why? Perhaps because he, too, did not know why Moses was taking so long. Aaron, like the Israelites, had grown tired of waiting. And when they complained to Aaron “We do not know what has become of him,” what they were really saying is We do not know what has become of God! In other words, Where is God? 😦

Which often is our question, isn’t it? When things do not happen quickly enough. It is our worst attribute—waiting. According to Dr. Seuss, waiting is “a most useless place.”*  But that is only true if the one we are waiting for does not love us. And so, we must confess that when we are impatient with God, what we are really saying is God must not care for us! Which is soooo not true! God loves us!

The fact is—waiting is our great opportunity for growing our faith. It is actually the only time our faith will grow. We love God because of what he has done for us. We thank God for giving us things and we thank him when things go according to our plans. But we cannot really say we have faith in God (not that he exists, but that he loves us with unfailing love) until we are forced to wait on him to act—in other words, to truly trust him. 🤔 That is when we discover what faith really is: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen!”4  Faith is trusting God when he seems absent.

So what we do with our waiting time is crucial. What did the Israelites do? They probably were fine without Moses for a few days, but after a couple of weeks, some began to grumble, and around week three, others started fretting, and at week four, many doubted Moses was returning, and when week five came, most had given up on waiting. It was not a sudden change of heart. It was a drifting. And on day 41, they decided God did not care for them anymore, that waiting was “a most useless place,” a waste of their time. And they asked Aaron to choose another god for them. And he did! 😧

It’s a really sad story. What they should have done as they waited was to celebrate what God had already done for them—things like parting the Red Sea and providing bread from heaven and water from the rock and defeating the Amalekites—little things like that! Plus, they had made a promise to God: “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”5 But instead of trusting God to do what he said he would do (never leave them), they drifted away. Oh, and by the way. Guess what day Moses descended from the mountain? Day 41. 🙄

So . . . how’s your waiting time going? 😬

1Exodus 24:14   2Exodus 32:1    3Exodus 3:7-8   4Hebrews 11:1   5Exodus 19:8   *Seuss, Dr. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Random House, 1990.





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