Wait Upon the Lord
28 November 2016
We are now entering the season of Advent. Today is the first Sunday of the Advent season. Advent is the 4-week period prior to Christmas. People began to keep Advent from AD.7. The word 'Advent' originated from the word 'Adventus' which means an arrival of a loved person. Advent is the season of waiting. What are we supposed to do during this season? We need to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. We also need to learn how to wait on Jesus, who comes into our hearts and lives as the word and the Spirit.
This morning, I want to talk about waiting. Our life is a series of waiting. Our daily life is waiting itself. We wait until our rice cooker finishes cooking our rice. We wait at a crosswalk for the light to change. In a restaurant, we wait for our ordered food to come out. In a market, we wait in a line at a cashier's table to pay for our groceries. We wait to pick up our children at their schools. We wait for the bus at a bus stop. Our whole life is filled with a lot of waiting. A farmer waits for a day to harvest his crops. Parents wait until their children grow up. Young people wait until they meet their future spouses.
The most important time of waiting in our life is that we wait for Jesus who comes to comfort and bless us. In today's text, we find two people who waited patiently for the Messiah. One day, Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus to the temple of God. Two persons named Simeon and Anna met the baby Jesus there. Verse 25 describes Simeon as a man who was righteous and devout and who was waiting for the consolation of Israel. This verse says that he had strong faith in God and was waiting for the Messiah who would console the people.
Verse 37 says that Anna was 84 years old and became a widow 7 years after she had married her husband. People must have pitied her because she had been living alone for many years as a widow. Not only did they pity her but they probably thought that her life was boring because she spent most of her life in the temple of God.
In our church, we have a group named S.O.S (survivors of spouses). It is a group for people who lost their spouses and live alone. The members of this group comfort and encourage each other. Even though they don't express their sad feelings or emotions, I think sometimes, they go through deep loneliness. We all need to comfort and encourage them with a caring heart.
People pitied Anna since she had been living alone for many years. But the Scripture doesn't say that she lived a hard and unhappy life. It says that she lived her whole life in the temple of God to wait and see the Messiah. I believe that her heart must have been always filled with expectation and hope to see the Messiah. I think that she probably sang the song of Psalm 130:5; "I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word, I put my hope." She also probably sang the Psalm 40:1; "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry." Anna waited patiently for the Messiah in the temple of God. God heard her prayers. He blessed her to see the baby Jesus and embrace him in her arms.
Even though you live a good Christian life, sometimes, you face a difficulty in your life. Then don't be discouraged. Don't give up on your faith in God.
These days, many people commit suicide. They kill themselves for many reasons. It is so sad to hear of the news of their suicides. They should have been more patient and waited until their situations would turn around for the better. My beloved members, even though you face a difficulty in your life, you must constantly trust in the Lord and wait for his grace. Have faith in God that he will hear your prayers and answer your heart desire.
King David lived a good life before God but he faced a difficulty. He had to run away from the people who didn't like him. When he was running away, some people made fun of him by saying "Where is your God? Why does he not help you?" He wrote these words in Psalm 42. When he heard these words from the people, he was so discouraged. But he chose to constantly trust in the Lord and put his hope in Him. He said these words to himself. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." He believed that if he was patient and wait upon the Lord, God would eventually rescue him from his enemy's hands and restore his life. God heard his prayers. He rescued him from the people and restored all things that he had lost.
When you wait patiently, something good will happen to you. About 10 years ago, a couple of days before Thanksgiving Day, one of my friends told me about Black Friday Sale on a laptop computer at the Best Buy. He said that if we went to the store early and waited in a line until the store opened, we would be able to buy that laptop computer for 300 dollars. The actual price was 800 dollars. He suggested me to go there and buy that computer with him. I needed that kind of computer. But I thought many people would go to the store and we would not be able to buy the computer. Frankly I didn't want to go there because I didn't want to wait in a line outside the store for a long time in the cold weather. I didn't go but my friend went there alone and waited for about 6 hours. He finally got that computer. When I heard that he had bought that laptop, I envied him. I regretted that I had not gone with him
Sometimes, we see some visitors who come to our church at 9am to attend our Sunday's worship service. Whenever I found those visitors, I told them that our worship service would begin at 10 am. Most of them waited for one hour and attended our worship service. I thought that they were willingly waiting for one hour because their hearts must have been filled with hope and expectation to receive God's grace through the worship service of that Sunday.
Simeon and Anna waited for the Messiah for many years with hope and expectation. God answered their prayers. The Scripture says that the person who believe in God's word and wait for him, is blessed. When you wait patiently, God will bless you and you will experience his amazing work in your life.
Have you ever waited for a doctor who operated on your beloved one to come to you after surgery? Have you ever waited to hear some words like "The surgery went well" from that doctor? Mrs. Carolyn's daughter, Lani received breast cancer surgery this May. After the surgery, Carolyn wrote me an email that the pathology report would be coming out 7 days later and she asked me to constantly pray for her daughter. I wondered how she had been waiting for those days. I believed that she must have waited with hope. God answered our prayers. Now Lani is doing well.
Isaiah 40:31 says "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." The words "those who hope in the Lord" were written as "those who wait upon the Lord" in the King James Version. People who translated the scripture thought that the words waiting and hope had the same meaning. So here we come to know that waiting is not a boring thing but hope. When we wait upon the Lord with hope, he will answer our prayers.
When Jesus was taken up to heaven, he promised his disciples to send the Holy Spirit to them. He told them to wait until they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Even though the disciples were afraid of the Roman soldiers, they didn't leave Jerusalem but waited in there. One day, 40 days after Jesus had been taken up, the Holy Spirit came upon them. My beloved members, you need to wait for the Holy Spirit who will come upon you. Jesus who was taken up to heaven 2,000 years ago, now comes to us through the Holy Spirit. Wait upon the Holy Spirit who will help your Christian life and strengthen you.
We are now entering the season of Advent. During this season, prepare your heart to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus and wait upon Jesus who comes to you. Wait for him with hope and faith. I bless you in the name of Jesus so that your life will be filled with God's grace and blessings as you wait upon the Lord with hope and faith.
Rev. Dr. David Choi
Last modified 4 March 2017.