Recently I was reading Exodus 33. Even though I have read these verses many times, they caught my attention like it was the first time. In this passage, God is speaking to the Israelites.
20-24 “Now get yourselves ready. I’m sending my Angel ahead of you to guard you in your travels, to lead you to the place that I’ve prepared. Pay close attention to him. Obey him. Don’t go against him. He won’t put up with your rebellions because he’s acting on my authority. But if you obey him and do everything I tell you, I’ll be an enemy to your enemies, I’ll fight those who fight you. When my Angel goes ahead of you and leads you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, I’ll clear the country of them. So don’t worship or serve their gods; don’t do anything they do because I’m going to wipe them right off the face of the Earth and smash their sacred phallic pillars to bits.
25-26 “But you—you serve your God and he’ll bless your food and your water. I’ll get rid of the sickness among you; there won’t be any miscarriages nor barren women in your land. I’ll make sure you live full and complete lives.
27 “I’ll send my Terror on ahead of you and throw those peoples you’re approaching into a panic. All you’ll see of your enemies is the backs of their necks.
28-31 “And I’ll send Despair on ahead of you. It will push the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites out of your way. I won’t get rid of them all at once lest the land grow up in weeds and the wild animals take over. Little by little I’ll get them out of there while you have a chance to get your crops going and make the land your own. I will make your borders stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Wilderness to the Euphrates River. I’m turning everyone living in that land over to you; go ahead and drive them out.
32-33 “Don’t make any deals with them or their gods. They are not to stay in the same country with you lest they get you to sin by worshiping their gods. Beware. That’s a huge danger.”
Exodus 33:20-33 (The Message)
* God had a plan.
* He told his people what he was going to do and what they needed to do.
* There was a reason that God did not get rid of all of the other inhabitants all at once.
* Otherwise the wild animals and weeds would take over the desolate land.
* God knew that his people needed to little by little begin to grow crops and make the land their own before they were ready to completely take over the land.
When I pray sometimes God answers my request with yes. Sometimes the answer is no; I have something better. Other times I am to wait on him. I was fascinated that in these verses God told the Israelites what he was going to do and that there was a reason why they needed to wait on him to accomplish what he promised. He knew his people needed more time to grow accustomed to the land and begin cultivating it little by little before they would be ready to take over. If God would have cleared the land of the other people immediately, the Israelites would not have been ready to inhabit the land. Thus, the weeds and wild animals would have taken over.
During the process of adopting and applying for Mary’s citizenship, Scott and Abby are learning firsthand about waiting. Sometimes they know the reason why, but other situations don’t make much sense right now. It continues to amaze me how pieces are coming together with the help and intervention of so many people for this process to be complete. God is continuing to provide others to help and encourage during this time. They are not alone. My prayer is that those people will see and know that God is blessing through their efforts. Whether they ever know the reasons why they are waiting, may they always trust and obey the God who does know.
In hind sight, there are times when it is obvious why I have needed to wait for God’s provision in certain circumstances. Other times the answer is not so obvious yet. Even when he does not reveal the outcome or reason to me, like he did the Israelites, I am learning to trust God’s timing. I am realizing more and more that God is continually in the process of working in people and circumstances that may involve me as well. When the time is right, I don’t want to miss out because I am not ready. Because the Israelites trusted and obeyed, God blessed. Lord, please help me to do the same whether I understand the reason or not.