So Grateful for God

Are you grateful for God? In today’s sermon I take a look at being grateful for the Lord’s patience and all the opportunities we are afforded.

Introduction

The other night, I laid in bed, I took a deep breath, chuckled in thought and said, “Lord, I am so grateful for you.”  I was reflecting over some things that happened this year, and since 2016, and I had to thank God.  I also thought about what my cousin said a couple of weeks ago how we don’t take time to be thankful for what God has done for us.  Truthfully, we should be thanking God every minute of every day, but there are many of us who don’t bother to take a second to thank God.  That often makes me wonder why aren’t we grateful for God?

This time of year is when we start planning our Thanksgiving feasts.  If the menu has not already been made, you better believe there’s a lot of thinking going on about it!  The “real” intent for this time of year is for people to show gratitude.  Some folks get on me because I start to listen to Christmas music as soon as November 1st; they feel I skip Thanksgiving – that’s not true!

I have to tell you today that I am always very grateful for God!  It is always thanksgiving to me, minus all of the food.  I would hope that many of you would be able to say the same thing as well.  If you feel that you’re unable to say you are grateful because maybe 2019 has not gone as you felt it should, I want to share a message with you today.  I want to give you both hope and show you why you should certainly feel grateful for the Lord.

He’s a patient God

There are many people who are ungrateful to God because they honestly can’t see what God has done for them.  I believe this happens because of a lack of understanding in how the Lord works.  For example: it truly is a blessing for us to be able to go to sleep at night and not hurt ourselves while we dream.  In that same train of thought, it is also a blessing that we are able to wake up from putting our bodies into that deep sleep.  Yet, sleeping and being able to wake up from sleep is not thought of as a blessing but many people.

Opportunity is a blessing.  We take opportunity too lightly.  We get an opportunity to set out to live our dreams and our hearts desires everyday we wake up.  We get an opportunity to choose to make new decisions to be a better person than we were yesterday.  To me, the opportunity to be able to pick myself up from where I may have fallen down yesterday is an incredible blessing.  Do you consider opportunity to be a blessing?  

These opportunities, we fail to recognize, are all due to the Lord’s patience with us.  If there is one thing that we should understand about the Lord is that the Lord is a patient God!  God gives us a new chance and opportunity to get things right and for this, we should be very grateful for the Lord’s patience.  For those that do not understand how the Lord’s patience plays a role at our opportunities in life, let’s take a look at His patience.

The example of the Lord’s patience through Israel

Scripture show us the Lord’s patience time and again.  For example, in the passage of scripture that we will look at for today (Is. 30:8-18), we will see just how patient the Lord is with us through His handling of the Israelites.

In our Sunday school lessons for this quarter, we have studied about the Israelites during their time of bondage in Egypt.  In this bondage, the children of Israel were completely submissive to their oppressors. Scripture does not record any events where they rebelled against their oppressor.

I mention this because I want to show you that they were a lowly (meek) people.  While lowly in this world, they still had favor in the Lord’s eyes.  God sent them Moses and they were led out of bondage towards the Promised Land.  Along the way, their faith was put to the test and while they failed at times, they proved to be a nation that could be faithful to the Lord.

Israel falls into a rebellious nature

Generations came and went, and with the passage of time, Israel began to no longer be that faithful nation.  The kingdom was formed, then divided, put back together back David and eventually torn apart into two kingdoms after Solomon.  

The northern kingdom was completely lost in its apostasy and the southern kingdom wasn’t that much better.  I say these things to now point out to you that the Israelites had become a very sinful nation of people. They had gotten so bad that God commanded them to stop sending up their futile sacrifices to Him (Is. 1:13).  Imagine how bad you have to be for God to tell you to stop praying to Him.

Pay very close attention to how the Lord describes the children of Israel.  God says of the children of Israel (Is. 30:9), “this is a rebellious people.”  Again, they were rebellious in the fact that they were going against the way of the Lord; they were being disobedient.  God then says that the children of Israel were “lying children” who would not hear the Law of the Lord (Is. 30:9).

Israel’s refusal to listen

God specifically points out the actions that they were taking.  To those that had visions (dreams), the people said (Is. 30:10), “do not see!”  They were so deep into their rebelling that they didn’t want the seers telling them of the visions that came from God.

To those that prophesied, the people said (Is. 30:10), “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.”  They did not want to hear from those that was going to tell them right from wrong!  The people did not want to hear what the Lord had to say to them!  So, they said (Is. 30:11), “Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us.”

I want you to understand that this was a people that knew exactly what they were doing.  They knew that they were going against the Lord’s law, but they just did not care!  Do you want to know what this reminds me of?

This reminds me of all the times folks would see my dad coming, knowing he was a preacher, and they would try to hide their frowns or walk away.  They would do this because my dad, nine times out of ten, was going to mention scripture at some point. You see, many people don’t like to be told when they are doing something right or wrong according to the Lord’s way.

There are many of us, mankind, who are living and know that we are living in sin.  Yet, we don’t want to hear about it or do anything about it.  Why? Because we love the sin that we are now living in. We see the church on the hill, we see the bible verses our friends and family share – and we look the other way.  We see pastor posting his sermons online every Sunday, and his bible study on Wednesday, but we look the other way. It’s amazing how history has constantly repeated itself when it comes to hearing and following God.

God patiently stood by

With the children of Israel living in rebellion against God, some of us might believe that God would permanently turn from them.  I believe we would think this way because that’s exactly what we do to those who do wrong by us – we put them down. Yet, in our key verse, we see that it says (Is. 30:18), “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you.”

18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

isaiah 30:18 nkjv

So, God says that He was going to wait for the children of Israel while they were living in their rebellious ways against Him.  Somebody may ask, “what was God waiting for them to do?” The answer is rather simple! The Lord speaks of the children returning to Him (meaning repenting) and giving them rest.  The Lord was going to give this nation – the children of Israel – an opportunity to still join Him in fellowship!

After all of that, God was not going to destroy these people, but give them a chance at redemption!  Again, I think about all of us who are still living and breathing today. God could have wiped out mankind well before you and I had a chance to take our first breath, yet we are still living and breathing.  The opportunity to be picked up by God when we have fallen is something we ought to be grateful for today! 

Our patience with Him

The Lord’s patience with our disobedience also plays a role in how the Lord gives.  What the Lord has for many of us requires both work and time.  Yet, many of us get overly depressed because things are going the way we envisioned.  We begin to believe that God is not working at our pace.

In truth, the Lord definitely does not work at our pace.  The fact that God is not working on your clock, does not mean that God is not working at all.  The truth is that God is both a diligent and patient worker. This certainly may annoy a lot of us because we have grown use to a society where we can get what we want in a moment.  For example, my printer runs out of ink, I can quickly go out to the store and get some ink to replace it.

God is not going to rush His work for you, and I believe this is something we should be grateful for as well.  The Lord is going to be patient in what He has for you because He is delivering the best blessing that is meant especially for you.  What this means for us is that we must learn to be patient with the Lord.

Blessed are those that wait on Him

Our key verse ends with, “Blessed are all those who wait for Him.”  Blessed, I feel I must remind you, means to be happy, especially spiritually.  One thing I have been mentioning lately is how the joy that comes from the Lord is the greatest type of joy that any of us can experience in this world.

Happy are those who learn how to be patient in waiting for God to complete His work for us.  Yes, our patience requires us to endure as we go through some things. If I am willing to go through some things to receive some sort of worldly reward (a paycheck for example), why can’t I be willing to go through some things to receive an even greater reward from God?   

If I am willing to wait on God, He says that I will be happy.  I can tell you that I have waited on the Lord and He has already blessed me.  I may not be where I dreamed I would be, but for where I am, I tell you that I am grateful.  You may not be where you want to be, but understand this, God is still not finished with His work for you!  We must be grateful for where we are, and at the same time, let us be grateful for where the Lord is taking us.

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About Pastor Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II was licensed to preach August 12, 2012, and ordained April 28, 2013. Currently pastors at Christian Unity in Douglasville, GA and online through New Found Faith.

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