One of the things that has often amazed me is the respect that God has for the free will of His children on earth. The King of the universe makes His actions in many ways dependent upon our decisions. The reason lies in the fact that a forced relationship is no relationship at all. Isaiah chapter 30 speaks of a time in Israel’s history when they are in trouble and deciding who their allies will be against their enemies. God longs to restore them, He longs to deliver them, but His children want nothing to do with Him. “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin” (Isaiah 30:1). What is the sin of God’s children? Living their lives as if He did not exist. All the while, God is longing to pour out His blessings on them but they are seeking answers everywhere else. They look for human crutches rather than divine deliverance. God warns them that there is no help from Him in this course of action, warning instead that their own strength will fail them in the face of their enemies “Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, At the threat of five you shall flee,” (Isaiah 30:16–17). We have the choice to make our own plans independently of Him but He will not bless them. Instead our decisions cause God to resort to a new course of action, “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 30:18).
We live in a world that encourages independence and self-reliance, make your own way, build your own dreams, drive your own car, follow your own rules. God, while nice to claim belief in, is not worthy to tell us how we live our lives, we know better. Go to church occasionally, maybe even on the right day, but that is as far as it goes,"after all, this is the real world.” Even as the children of Israel, many are discovering that there is no blessing of God in living our lives independently of Him. Instead we find that we are enslaved to the forces around us, addictions haunt our lives, families are destroyed, jobs dominate our existence, the pursuit of our dreams results in nightmares. What is the loving God who died to save us doing? Waiting. Not waiting with indifference but waiting as the Father of the prodigal son, with eyes looking towards the horizon, if perchance today His sons and daughters will come home. Longing to be gracious to us, to restore our birthright, to throw a party, to have us finally home! How many months or years must we live in the pigsty before we finally come to our senses? How long did the prodigal linger at the slops before he finally swallowed his pride and went to his Father? This question is never answered because the answer lies with the prodigal “the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you.” Oh, how much better to abandon our foolish pride early rather than late! How many wounds, bruises, sorrows, and damage could be avoided if only we seek the Lord who waits? Where are you today? Are you among “those who wait for Him”? Or are you in a far country seeking to make a life apart from Him? Today, will you not join me in coming to the God who waits to be gracious?