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Waiting On & Seeking The Lord

A Lost Art In The Church


By Bart Nelson



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First examples:

Abraham waited 25 years for God’s promise

Jacob’s wrestling, I won’t let you go until you bless me.

First mention:

Gen. 49:18 I have waited for your salvation, O LORD.


For wait: hope, expect, look eagerly for, linger for, bind together, tremble, travail, dance, calve, shake, to twist, fear, be in anguish, whirl about, to writhe (in travail with), bear, bring forth, to wait anxiously, longingly, to be distressed, silence, still, rest, cease, forbear, peace, quieted, tarry, be or grow dumb, to be struck dumb, to inspect, examine, long for, repose, watchman, watch, regard, save, guard, observe, give heed, retain, treasure up (in memory), take heed, take care.

Seek: require, request, seek (out, to find, to secure, the face, with care, in prayer and worship, with application, early, diligently, earnestly, in order to find, for, [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to inquire into, after) ask, sought for, begging, desire, get, inquisition, procure, exact, request, demand, to require, search, to resort to, frequent (a place), (tread a place), to consult, to investigate, to practice, study, follow, consult, look early or diligently for, aim at, strive after, to crave, scrutinize

How to wait and seek?

1 Chr. 16:10 Glory in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. 11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. 12 Remember his marvelous works that he has done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; {Seek His strength, His face, do it on a continual basis, remembering what He has done and said.}

2 Chr. 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. {Seeking God requires preparation in the heart.}


2 Chr. 15:12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13 That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. {It takes all we have, our total commitment.}

2 Chr. 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered. {Seeking the Lord doesn't just happen, it has to be purposed. Fasting is often a part of seeking the Lord. Many times seeking happens corporately. The word is often involved in seeking Him.}

Ps. 9:10 And they that know your name will put their trust in you: for you, LORD, have not forsaken them that seek you. {Trusting is equated with seeking.}

 Ps. 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. {Seeking God requires that He be in all our thoughts.}

Ps. 25:5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me: for you art the God of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day. {We are to wait on God all the day.}

Ps. 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. 8 When you said, Seek my face; my heart said unto you, Your face, LORD, will I seek. {What is the one thing I seek? Am I trying to seek for more than one thing? That is impossible!}

Ps. 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him {Rest is equated with waiting patiently. don’t be in a rush.}

Ps. 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. {We have to quiet ourselves…. As a friend of mine paraphrased this verse, "Sit down, shut up. I'm God and you're not."}

Ps. 63:1 O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; {The quantity and quality of my desire for God plays a big part. Will I stay up late or get up early to seek Him?}

Ps. 69:3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. {With tears if necessary.}

Ps. 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. {Wait expectantly.}

Ps. 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us. {They look for provision, direction, protection, etc. Me, too.}

Song 3:2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loves: I sought him, but I found him not. {Seek the Lord as one lover would seek after their lover -- passionately!}

Is. 26:8 Yea, in the way of your judgments, O LORD, have we waited for you; the desire of our soul is to your name, and to the remembrance of you. 9 With my soul have I desired you in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek you early: for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. {Desire to praise God’s name and to remember all He is and has done for us.}

Is. 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! (Go to God for help, not everyone and everything else.)

Is. 51:1 Hearken to me, you that follow after righteousness, you that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence you are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you are dug.

Is. 55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. {When is God more near than other times? We need to seek Him then!}

Is. 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and my delight to know ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. {What do I delight in?}

Jer. 29:13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

Lam. 3:26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. {Two keys here: hope is intimately related to waiting, so is quietness.}

Dan. 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (I.e., with intensity.)

Hos. 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. {Lord, show us how to have soft soil (i.e. heart) toward you!}

Hos. 12:6 Therefore turn to your God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on your God continually.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. (The verbs in the Greek are continuous, e.g. keep on asking, knocking, seeking, implying that the action is to be continued until the answer comes. The growing intensity of the verbs is key as well.)

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me. 44 How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?

Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: {God is not far from any one, but the question begs to be asked, how far are we from Him?}

Phil. 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. {Seek what God wants, not my will.}

Col. 3:1 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. {Seeking, then, is as much the realization of what already is, as it is attaining to what we desire. Where is the focus of our seeking to be?}

Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

For me, personally, I try to get in a quiet place -- both externally and internally. I actively believe that God will manifest his presence in a powerful, loving, and moving way. Often I say things like: "Come, Holy Spirit", "More, Lord." "Pour out your spirit, Lord." and/or "Reveal yourself, Lord." Also, this takes practice. Quieting yourself is not natural. We often have all sorts of noise going on, within and without. Sometimes the reason for this is that we don’t like what we hear in the quiet.

Why, wait and seek? What are the results?

1 Chr. 28:8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that you may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. 9 And you, Solomon my son, know you the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.

2 Chr. 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. {Revival and awakening are the result of seeking God.}

Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. 23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.

Ps. 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live forever.

Ps. 25:3 Yea, let none that wait on you be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. 5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me: for you art the God of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on you.

Ps. 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Ps. 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.

Ps. 34:10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

Ps. 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt you to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Ps. 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in you.

Ps. 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. {God hears our prayers} 16 Let all those that seek you rejoice and be glad in you: let such as love your salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

Ps. 62:1 Truly my soul waits upon God: from him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. 5 My soul, wait you only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

Ps. 104:27 These wait all upon you; that you may give them their meat in due season. {Provision of whatever we have need of}

Ps. 105:4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Ps. 106:13 They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Ps. 107:30 Then are they glad because they were quiet; so he brought them unto their desired haven.

Ps. 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek your precepts.

Prov. 27:18 Whosoever keeps the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waits on his master shall be honored. {God will honor us!}

Prov. 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

Is. 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. {Salvation (healing, deliverance, peace, victory, forgiveness, etc.) and joy}

Is. 30:15 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and you would not 8 And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. {Blessing (happiness)}

Is. 33:2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for you: be their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. {God’s strong arm on our behalf}

Is. 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. {Look at an eagle some time. They love the strong winds of adversity. While all the other birds are hiding, the eagles soar to the heights on the strong winds. When we wait on the Lord, we become like an eagle!}

Is. 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside you, what he has prepared for him that waits for him.

Jer. 14:22 Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are not you he, O LORD our God? Therefore we will wait upon you: for you have made all these things. {In an agrarian society with no irrigation, rain and showers are essential, and nothing man can do in himself can cause it. What in our lives needs God's intervention and hence our waiting on and seeking Him?}

Lam. 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

Hos. 5:14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. 15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

Hos. 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Hab. 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Amos 5:4 For thus says the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek you me, and you shall live:

Zeph. 2:3 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.

Mt. 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. {Like Solomon asking for wisdom and getting long life and riches to boot.}

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, says he, you have heard of me. {Empowering of the Holy Spirit.}

Recently, the Lord spoke a word through me that brought all this into focus for me. God created night and day, 7 days in a week, cycles of the moon, etc. so that WE could track time. HE lives, works and functions totally outside of time, in the eternal realm. We don't have this time thing down perfectly -- hence we have leap years, daylight and standard time, India is 1/2 hour out of synch with the other time zones (or the world is out of synch with India?), etc. As we wait on the Lord, we synch up with His timing. Have you ever noticed how it seems that God's timing isn't ours, He is never late, but rarely early or when we would like Him to show up to provide, deliver, heal, etc.? By waiting on Him, seeking Him with our whole heart, we get in synch with the Eternal One. We are so focused on time, down to milli-seconds sometimes. And, trust me, that can be a good thing, because we need to respect others' time and not be late. But, how much more should we respect Him.

I heard 3 illustrations of waiting that will help sum up this teaching:

  1. A minister was in an exclusive restaurant in India at the insistence of his host. There was a waiter assigned to him to make sure his every wish was fulfilled. This waiter didn’t do the serving himself. His job was to know the minister's every wish so well, that he could fulfill them without a word. He knew how the minister liked his iced tea, whether or not he had butter, margarine or nothing on his bread, etc. Then when he was close to completing an item, it reappeared without any interruption. The Lord revealed to him that this waiter was showing him what it meant to wait on the Lord. The waiter soon knew exactly how he wanted everything and was consumed with taking care of it all.
  2. The minister has had the privilege of ministering to kings in some of the countries he has ministered in. We also get a glimpse of how kings are to be treated in the book of Esther. When you are granted permission to come before a king, you don't just come and go as you please. Once you are allowed to enter the king's presence, you don't just state your business and leave. You leave just as you were allowed in, by the king's permission only.
  3. Bob Sorge, in "The Secrets of the Secret Place" says God has turned around the saying, "Don't just stand there, do something" to "Don't just do something, stand there"! God has called him to wait in His presence.

Waiting and seeking are something we HATE to do in this society. We tap our fingers as our frozen entrée is heating in the microwave. We grumble that the instant pudding takes so long to be firm. We make good use of our time, as we have to wait for someone in front of us in the drive thru for picking up our fast food. We use the Internet to find things in an instant. And, Lord forbid, that the connection is slow. I know, I live there, too. God is not on our timetable, however. We need to enter in and spend as much time as HE deems necessary to receive what He has for us. This requires training on our part. But as we have read above, it is well worth our effort. Besides, don't we all long to please our King?

More recently, I have felt an emptiness in my life in general, my Christian life specifically. I couldn't figure it out. I was in the word, praying and interceding, praising and worshipping, still the emptiness persisted. I was really struggling with some issues as well. My prayers for myself seemed to bounce off the ceiling. I realize we aren't supposed to rely on feelings, but regular sense of the presence of the Lord been gone so long, I'd almost forgotten what it was like. I had momentary glimpses, but so rare and spread out...well let's just say I was in a drought.

Almost against my will, I accepted an invitation to go to a church service in Auburn. I didn't know the speaker, but thought I was going for the fellowship. God met me there! The speaker talked about this very subject, although in different terms. That night, I sensed God's presence for most of an hour, hallelujah! Most importantly, I'd found the key I'd lost to the essence of my walk with God. Don't get me wrong. Word, prayer, worship are all necessary parts. But without waiting, resting, seeking His face, something was missing from my life, and will be from yours if you're not doing it.