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The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 06-11-00

The Apostle Paul teaches us the Importance of waiting upon God.

As we continue our study of the book of Philippians we are now on Phi 3:12, but let's look ahead to verses 13-17 as well. "Not that I have already obtained it [the resurrection life] or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead [a reference to his failure when he compromised with the legalists at Jerusalem]. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us."

In this passage we begin with the principle that the apostle Paul has learned the secret of waiting upon God. This is a great lesson that unfortunately most of us learn the hard way. The easy way of course would be to perceive, metabolize and apply Bible doctrine. The hard way is making the wrong choices in life and not being patient.

It was the will of God that during Paul's fourth missionary journey he should go to Spain, ROM 15:24,25,28. However, Paul's desire was to go to Jerusalem. He was warned three times by God the Holy Spirit not to go, Acts 21:4-9, 10-13, but he disobeyed, Acts 21:14-17. Once there, he failed by taking bad advice from the local pastors and compromising his doctrine, Acts 21:20-24. Because of this decision he spent the next four years in prison where he rebounded and wrote Philipians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon while under house arrest.

PHI 3:4-8 describes his perspective as a spiritually adult believer having recovered from his failures and mistakes. PHI 3:12-19tells us that he continued his spiritual advance. He is through with human celebrityship, with the false perspective of Judaism, and now has a new set of priorities. He learned a magnificent lesson, that when waiting upon God we have the comfort of shifting the load, from us to Him. That's what happens when we wait, we experience a shift in the load, from our shoulders, to His shoulders. When we learn to wait upon God, as Paul did, there is a shift in perspective, we begin to see things from the divine viewpoint and timing rather than our own, and we begin to focus in on the eternal instead of the temporal and we experience the unseen power of God instead of the seen weakness of man.

The Word of God provides many examples of those who learned that great lesson of waiting upon God.

There was of course, Noah: He who was told by God to build an ark and to keep the faith knowing that rain was coming, though there had never been any such thing as rain or ships ever before. He waited 120 years, and then it came.

HEB 11:7 "By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen [such as rain, a flood, a ship that could float on water], in reverence prepared an ark for the deliverance of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."

Noah lived at a time when the whole earth was filled with violence and corruption, yet Noah did not allow the evil standards of his day to rob him of fellowship with God. Sadly, to many born again believers allow the evil and the corruption of the world to cause them not to wait upon God. Noah waited on God and he stood out as the only one who "walked with God", GEN 6:9.

Another prophet who reveals to us the importance of waiting upon God to open the doors of our lives is Job: After experiencing soars from his head to his feet, the loss of family, and all the things that he called dear. He waited for an undetermined period of time, each day bringing only another day of pain.

Then there is Abraham: He left his hometown of Ur at the age of 75. He died according to the scriptures at the age of 175 and still didn't find the city that he left to find, whose builder and maker was God. HEB 11:8-10 "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God."

Then there was Joseph: His life was marked by waiting for a decade and a half in prison, unjustly treated, unjustly accused. In fact, he was released from slavery only to be put back into prison, for another 13 years before he was released and promoted to prime minister.

Then there was Moses: He was, who at the age of 40, the prime of manhood, he was the brightest star of Egypt, he was the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. He was certainly heir apparent, and at that time he made a crucial blunder. He tried to do God's will Moses' way. Moses went into the desert and there he stayed for forty years. In the prime of his manhood, highly qualified, he lost all of his investment in his education.

He lost his prestige, his reputation as a military leader, and he was, according to Josephus. He lead the sheep in that Midian desert for forty years.

He waited.

There was Samson, Samuel, there is Gideon, Jephath, the prophets, most of whom lived, never to realize their dream or their personal desires and wants.

They waited upon God to change the hearts of the people and their hearts didn't change, and there was the demise of the kingdom. But God said, "Your my servants, who are committed to waiting."

"You wait for me!"

The ministry of Jesus Christ was one of waiting. He took one step at a time, and when the Father said take the next step, He did. In fact, don't you find it interesting that in LUK 2:42, we find our Lord mentioned as being twelve years old and then we don't have anything written about Him again until LUK 3:23, where He was about thirty years of age.

It is important to remember that in a period of waiting, when the door is closed, that doesn't mean you're out of the will of God, it means you are right in the will of God. The open door is the exception; however when you get an open door, go through it. There are bursts of green lights that happen in life, and the rest is filled with red lights that flash, wait!

As Psa 62 says "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him."

In verse 5 the Psalmist writes "My soul finds rest in God alone; my hope comes from Him."

Our problem often is not our weakness, but rather our competence. Our professional expertise, our brains, we are highly capable, we don' really need Him, so we say.

We also wait in stability and confidence, PSA 62:2 "He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken."

That's how we wait, we wait silently and we wait with that sense of confidence.\

ISA 40:31 "Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up {with} wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."

This is called the exchanged life, where we exchange our weakness for God's strength.

We wait on God because He is our only deliverer, He is our salvation. He is our only security, He is our strong hold. He is our only hope.

Without Him, we don't have a deliverance, no security, no hope, we don't have any glory, and we don't have any refuge.

Waiting involves, trusting, praying, and waiting implies resting.

Our next section of the book of Philippians is found beginning in Phi 3:12 where Paul says Not that I have already obtained it [the resurrection life , or have already become perfect or reached the ultimate goal of the resurrection life or ultra-supergrace, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

I have come to a couple of initial observations, having done that study, first of all, waiting is the rule, rather than the exception.\

Isn't that a beautiful reminder?

The exception is an open door!

When you have an open door, go!

In fact, go like mad!

They don't happen very often.

The second thing I'm noting from this study is that waiting on God is resting, instead of worrying.\

Some of the very best lessons that God has to teach us, are often missed because they come in the back door of our lives.

They are sprung on us and we are not ready to take them, in the particular package in which God delivers them, and it's easy to miss them.

However, when we learn to wait upon the Lord and for His timing then we will begin to see things from the divine perspective rather than human viewpoint.

Let's take for example failure, that's one of the back door experiences of life, because we are so success oriented.

It is our interpretation that every failure represents a waste of time, or a set back.\

When in reality failure might very well be the avenue to teach us that special lesson which could never be learned without it, waiting upon God.

Remember that Paul experienced this when he prayed three times and he failed in his request.

He prayed Lord take this thorn away from me, and the scriptures tell us that he asked three times, and all three times, the answer was no!

He was wise enough to realize that failure was success in reverse, as it were, because he realized a whole new measure of grace, and God taught him that when he was weak, God could show Himself strong.\

I think that is easy for us, who are healthy this evening to nod in agreement.

es, that's great that's wonderful, true we believe it, but let a little sickness come, which creates failure or the inability to produce, and it's awfully hard to except that.

Isn't it beautiful how when you do your part, God does the part that only He can do.

And the beautiful reminder when we wait is, the follow-up.

I wait and God comes through and does the part that men can't do.\

As you learn how to wait upon God and rest in Him, you will look at things that have taken place in your life, things that you I haven't been able to turn them or change them or alter them, and suddenly they will just begin to fall aside.

Things you haven't needed.

Things you couldn't get rid of.

Even things you wanted to get rid of.

You will realize God's taking them, in quietness and waiting, God's taking that away.

Sort of like flushing out the nervous system.

So David says, "My soul waits in silence for God only."

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