Tag Archives: Wait

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 33

33. Remain & Abide

sitting at Jesus feet

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”  (Matthew 26:36-38)

Jesus has laid it all on the line, has given His all, and all He asks from His friends is to keep watch with Him.

The Greek word for remain here is also translated as abide.  Note the use of abide in John 15:4-10

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

John continues this thinking in his first letter:

As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. ( 1 John 2:24-29)

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:17-18)

By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (1 John 4:13)

Abiding refers to a particular place; a particular time; and the condition of staying put. So it’s not merely an action (or lack of), it is also an attitude. Other translations are to remain, tarry, and various forms of stay. Some other insightful uses of the Greek are: to stay at home; and speaking to soldiers, to stay and stand fast, also to wait for. Within this word is a sense of contentment—and expectation.

Do you see what a wondrous word this is as it describes the multifaceted fellowship that we have with our Great God? Is not Christ our home? Are we not in a battle; called to remain fast? Are we not supremely content to abide in Him, and wait for His return? And is there not a holy expectation for us to know Him more? Better? Deeper?

This is a fresh teaching which only precedes the Cross by a few hours. I think the disciples got this. He needed them to be there with Him. Unfortunately abiding can be like the old hound dog lying asleep at the feet of his master. And this was the role the disciples slipped into, too easily. I’d like to think that you and I could do better, waiting along side the Lord, and not falling asleep. But probably not. We’d be texting, tweeting, talking, or playing Angry Birds. It’s tough to wait. It’s hard to be still. And yet, that is what God asks us to do even now. Psalm 46:10 says: Be still and know that I am God. What an awesome privilege we have to be still and know… Him.

Singing with the King (81) – Missed the Point

He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. (Psalm 121:3-4)

Sit Alone2I picked this passage because it kind of deals with the song, and that’s what I want to talk about. Music is powerful, and it is a gift from God. But like all gifts, we have the ability to twist, contort, and misuse. Now I’m not talking about rappers or shock rock, or worse. I’m talking about bands that play in Sunday morning in Church.

I was at a conference a couple years back, and the “praise” band was singing Everlasting God. You know it. The opening of the song goes like this:

Strength will arise as we wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord.

 I need go no farther. Unless you are deaf and blind, you can see (and hear) the song focuses on us WAITING ON THE LORD. But what did this so-called praise band do? The sang Strength will arise… Strength will arise… Strength will arise… Strength will arise, over and over and over, and over and… well, you get the idea.

 They missed the entire POINT of the whole first verse. It’s NOT about strength, it’s about waiting. And that’s painfully obvious. But their performance was not about worship—or Biblical and lyrical faithfulness. No, they were whipping the congregation up into a frenzy.

 The song is based upon Isaiah 40:29-31 – He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 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. Even here you can see it’s not about the strength, it’s about the waiting.

 Of course when you wait, you could very well end up with a whole lot more than strength. You could be overwhelmed by His Presence, by His mercy, by His grace, by His holiness, and by His love—to name a few.

The band, the congregation, they missed the point. And that’s a tragedy. Music is a gift. It is something to be cherished.  Leave the frenzy for the conventions.

 When you see your song leader/worship pastor this weekend, thank him or her. And the singers and the band. And thank the song writer if you have one in your midst.

May they remain faithful to the Message, and may they focus on Him. Allow the LORD to approach you and anoint you as He chooses. You may discover that He’s always watching over you, that He never slumbers nor sleeps. And you may experience something unexpected and utterly wondrous.