Psalm 70: Haste

I have to admit I prefer the hare to the turtle. I struggle with patience; I don’t like waiting and things that go slow seem to quickly get on my nerves. I’m not a movie guy, mostly because they take too long and I can often be heard, while driving, telling someone in front of me to get out of the “fast lane”. It’s not so much that I like speed, but I dislike slowness and what I deem as unnecessary delays. I share this today not with a shrug of the shoulders as if this is who I am, but with a desire to be different and a willingness to let God work in me slowly so that I can be more like Him and much less like me.

In Psalm 70 David asked God, three different times to “make haste” or to “hasten”. David was in trouble, he needed help that could only come from God, so He asked God to hurry. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has joined with David and asked for God to hurry. “Come quickly!” “Do it today!” Sometimes, even when I say “Please”, it’s with a tone and sense of speed tied to it. I’m also sure that I’m not the only one that has found that God is always at work, but He works according to His purpose, not my schedule.

In large part, God’s timing has been a mystery to us. One of our most asked questions is “When?” It’s almost as if we don’t believe in God’s promises unless we have a time for the fulfillment to hold onto. What I’ve discovered is that the “when” gets in the way. We are so time bound that we assume our bondage onto God. Abraham and Sarah waited for years before they decided to help God along with the promise of becoming a great nation. Saul waited for Samuel for the prescribed 7 days before he took matters into his own hands and offered the sacrifice that Samuel hadn’t been on time for. Even the apostles, when Jesus was about to ascend to heaven asked, “will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” We seem to always have one eye on the clock or the calendar, but God’s eyes are always on one thing, our hearts.

The timing of God is not about hours, days, months or years, it is about two things, the condition of our hearts and the strength of our faith. II Peter 3:9 begins, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness . . .” The question that has to rise out of that passage is, how do we count slowness? We tend to see slowness as discourteous, uncaring, selfishness, even laziness. Which of those words can we attribute to God’s character? None of them. The Scriptures and our own experience have shown God to be kind, caring, humble and diligent. Peter did not say that God is not slow, but that God is not slow as we count slowness. That means there will indeed be times in our lives when the work of God seems slow, when it is slower than we want it to be, when it does not match our desire or meet our demands, but there will always be a good and loving purpose behind the slowness.

God has already told us what He looks at and even what He is looking for. When Samuel was sent to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king of Israel, he was impressed with the stature and good looks of the oldest sons. God rejected each of them and then told the prophet, “the LORD looks on the heart.” This was not simply the recounting of an event; it was a revelation of God’s character. What He looked on then is what He looks on now. God is not looking at the watch or the calendar, He’s not looking at our bodies or our expectations, He’s looking at our hearts. He’s always doing what our hearts need, when He moves fast and when He moves slow.

If God is looking at our hearts, what is He looking for? II Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless before him.” A blameless heart is not one that is perfect, without flaw or untouched by sin, it is a heart that is surrendered, submitted, yielded, a heart that is willing to trust Him and ready to follow.

So, what do we do? We ask God to hurry and then we trust Him to come right on time. We break free from our bondage of time by trusting, not in His timing, but in His character, in His heart, in the reason behind His slowness, and His commitment to our hearts. Just today a dear friend and I were talking about this topic and he said, “Perhaps we are supposed to surrender time, as we do all things, to He Who made time, and try to see it as yet another blessing, not as something that is to be boxed and categorized and forced, but as a gift to be laid at His feet.” Surrender time. When it comes to God’s work, God’s will, God’s promises, take off our watches, put away our calendars and trust what we know to be true about His heart. We don’t know “when” and we don’t know “how”, but because we know “Who” we can confidently believe that He will.

Could it be that this is what it means to “redeem the time”? That it is not making the most of every moment and every day, but rather, it is putting our time in God’s hands. That’s how our souls are redeemed, when we confess our sin, repent and confess Jesus’ lordship over our lives. How could redeeming the time be any different? For those of us that are always in a hurry, we need to do more than slow down, we need to give up. For those that despise the slow places in life, it is not our job to speed them along, but to entrust our pace to God. For those who the wait has become too much, I can’t say that the waiting will ever be easy, but I can say that the waiting is not a sign of God’s displeasure but a gift from His care, He is not tapping His foot, He is speaking His love, He is not waiting on you, He is coming close to you. Like David, we all want God to hurry, but thank God, He is more faithful to His love than He is to our schedule. He may not make haste, but He will be good. 


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