How Long Will You Wait?
"Now when the people saw that
Moses delayed coming down from the mountain,
the people gathered together to Aaron and said to him
'Come make us gods that shall go before us,
for this Moses, the man who
brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has become of him.'”
This passage brings to mind a similar passage from the New Testament:
"...knowing this first, that scoffers will come in the last days,
walking according to their own lusts,
and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming...? '"
2 Peter 3:3-4
After Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt where they had been enslaved, God called him up to Mount Sinai. Moses stayed quite awhile on the mountain because God was giving him in-depth instructions concerning the covenant he was making with Israel.
But ...the children of Israel waited a long time, a very long time, and then they got fed up with waiting. They waited some more, but no sign of Moses. Finally, they concluded that they had no idea what became of Moses and decided to forget about him and go about their lives their own way. They asked Aaron to make gods of gold for them which they would follow.
Many believers have lived a very long time waiting for the Lord to come back. For many, it's been years. Especially when the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) arrives, the people have stretched their necks hoping to see some sign of his coming, but the date goes by and they're disappointed again. For many, myself included, this picture has been repeated over and over and over again, as we've waiting for the Lord to come back.
How does scoffing begin, what causes it?
The long wait.
The long wait brings many to become scoffers. When the hope has been aroused to fever pitch and then nothing happens, many get tired of this and quit. Each time this disappointment happens, more and more fall away from the "blessed hope."
It's easy to do. When I read the Bible, I try to put myself in the shoes of the persons in the story I'm reading. I try to get into what they must have been feeling. Today I stood with the people who were waiting for Moses who brought them out into the wilderness and then disappeared up a mountain.
Now let's set the story right: These are people who had witnessed first hand the mighty deeds done to the people of Egypt under Moses when he turned the water into blood, brought an overwhelming storm of frogs and lice and flies, locusts and darkness to cover the land and the death of every firstborn of Egypt. These are the people who saw him part the Red Sea as the Egyptians followed hard after them as they escaped, and they saw the Sea part so they could walk across on DRY land, only to see the waters go back upon the Egyptians, drowning them all. In short, these are people who saw miracles, one after another after another.
But the passage of time became a problem. They'd been sitting now in the desert for quite awhile waiting for Moses to return, but time went by and no Moses. Finally, they gave up on him and turned to follow their own lusts. An image of gold became the god they would follow. Not only that, but they even offered sacrifices and peace offerings to this image of gold. In other words, they continued doing religious things. They occupied themselves with following their lusts and justified themselves by doing religious things.
"And Aaron made a proclamation and said,
‘Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.’
Then they rose early on the next day,
offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings;
and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."
What a picture of today. Back when I came to the Lord the subject of his return was being taught everywhere. There was a hype, an excited expectancy, a joyful watching. And it WAS joyful. What could be more joyful than the Bible's prophecy that the dead would be raised out of their graves and that we would be snatched up with them in the clouds to meet our Lord Jesus Christ in the air and be taken to heaven to be with him? (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Every Bible study, every Sunday sermon, was set in this joyful anticipation.
But the Lord was gone too long. He had ascended up the mountain, he had ascended to heaven promising to return for us, and we waited, and waited and waited ...in vain. YEARS. Until today, hardly a church, hardly a Bible study, hardly anyone even mentions it anymore ...because too much time has gone by and the fever pitch has died down in great disappointment.
There have been signs in the heavens so incredibly and accurately portraying the Rapture that the hope of believers was again awakened and the fever pitch renewed ...until the expected time came and went. And now many of those who believed have let go of that hope and have actually become scoffers. The disappointment in the face of something that seemed so sure ...was too much for many. He's been up in the mountain too long. Many believers have let go of the blessed hope and become the very scoffers the Bible warns about. The point is that all faith will be tested. Many fail.
When Moses finally did come - what did he find? He found that the "believers" had turned away from him. They had turned their attention to their lusts and had built this gold image to put their trust in. Moses was so angry that he threw the tablets of the ten commandments and broke them in his wrath.
"So it was, as soon as he came near the camp,
that he saw the calf and the dancing.
So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets
out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.
Then he took the calf which they had made,
burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder;
and he scattered it on the water
and made the children of Israel drink it."
Waiting can be the demise of many a person when that which is expected seems delayed. The willingness to wait is one of the most difficult things in one's walk with the Lord. Abraham waited many years before Isaac, the son of promise was born. During that time of waiting he got so discouraged that he actually thought to help God by bringing a son into the world through his wife's handmaid - and we are suffering the consequences of that to this day.
God's ways are as far above ours as the heavens are above the earth (Isaiah 55:9) and to God, our willingness to let go of our human desire and wait as long as it takes - is one of the most valuable virtues in the Christian walk. It's hard. It can be VERY hard. But that's what separates the seasoned believer who has been tried and proved from the carnal believer who only wants what he can get from God.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus is coming for us. We had hoped he would have been here by now, but in his wisdom he has seemed to delay his coming. Let us not lose hope and turn away from him to living for our lusts and going our own ways. Let not the wait turn us into scoffers.
“For yet a little while,
and he who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith;
but if anyone draws back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”