Pastor Alex Adegboye
TEXTS: Haggai 1:5-6, Ps 103:7
As believers, there is the need to understand the ways of God. There are people who walk but are not walking with God because they don’t understand His ways. As revealed in the Scriptures, God works slowly, surely and then suddenly; His ways are different from the ways of men.
According to Psalm 103:7, “He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.”
While Nahum 1:3 declares that, “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”We are expected to know and understand the way God works. This is contrary to the common impression that God’s way can not be known. Normally, people will say we don’t know what God might do – they consider that belief as a sign of humility but as a matter of fact, it is based on ignorance. I say to you with all assurance that the ways of God can be learnt and understood.
Jesus in Matt 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” When you learn and know the ways of God, you’ll find rest for your souls.”
There is a pattern God follows. He works slowly, surely and then suddenly. Those three words capture the essence of this message.
Why do we need to know the ways of God?
- God’s ways are different from man’s ways. 1 Sam 16:7, Is 55:8-9
- God’s ways can be understood. Micah 4:2
- God’s ways will not change to suit us.
- God’s ways which is always by faith helps us to walk with Him.
- God’s ways were shown to Moses, and it can be shown to us too. Ps 103:7
- God’s ways are practically revealed in the Bible.
- God’s ways save us from our ignorance and destruction. Hosea 4:6
It is amazing how some people claim to be Christians but they don’t take time to look at the mirror – the Bible. You must give due diligence to the study of the Scriptures in order to know. The reason we carry the Bible is to learn the ways of God and avoid the mistakes some have made. We will be wise to learn from history and not to be corrected by our own experiences. Experience is a good teacher but not the best teacher.
In reality, God can be slow. All the miracles in the Scriptures appear to have been consummated after such a long time. Abraham waited for 25 years, Israel was in captivity for 430 years in Egypt, they were under the Midianites for 7 years, they were in Babylon for 70 years: the man at the Beautiful Gate was there for 40 years, the man at the pool of Bethaisda was there for 38 years, the woman with the issue of blood had the problem for 12 years.
It is a basic principle of God’s operation to work slowly at the beginning. This is the way that we know of God. For humans in this realm of existence, ‘slow’ is a relative word. Our existence here on earth is marked by time. God lives in eternity and He controls time. The Bible tells us that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand year as a day.
2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Whatever it is you desire from God, He can do it but He will do it in His time. By the time you see the miracle, you must understand that it has been long in the making. The day that the Israelites won their freedom wasn’t the day God delivered them from slavery; it has been long in the making and planning after God had given the promise.
With God, the end doesn’t always justify the means. People believe that the means should justify the end. The end does not mean that the process was correct. God is more interested in the process that leads to the end. The older you get in the faith, the more you’ll learn that God will slow you down.
Why does the way of God look slow to us?
1. Time is required for faith to build in our hearts and it takes faith for God to come on the scene. Faith is not a magic panic button you can just press urgently. 2 Chro 16:9 explains that God is looking for faith in the hearts of men and the capacity to build faith is available to us all. Whatever God is going to do must be by faith or else it is not God.
2. Time to God is different from our own reckoning of time.
2 Pet 3:8 says, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
3. Time builds the character that God demands of us. The longer you stay as a Christian, you are expected to grow and develop spiritually. As a matter of fact, most people don’t have the character to carry some things they’re asking from God now. In the mean time, you are expected to build your character and after then you can expect your miracle.
4. Some miracles are tied to time which we do not always know. There’s time for every purpose under the sun. Sadly, the time tied to some miracles have passed while some miracles may yet be on the way. Every thing has its appointed time.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”
5. Some things that we do can actually hinder God and that is reason it appears God is slow. Some of your actions make it impossible for God to bless you even though He wants to.
Psalm 78:40-41 states that, “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”
6. Every blessing we get from God is an act of grace and grace like faith must take time to grow. Everything that we are and everything that we have is an act of grace.
2 Peter 3:18
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”