“…When he heard, therefore that he (Lazarus) was SICK, he abode two…[more]… days in the same place where he was…” (John 11:6 KJV).
Delay can turn seconds into minutes; minutes into hours; hours into days; days into weeks; weeks into months; and months into years. Delay is the BIGGEST killer of HOPE. “…When he heard, therefore that he (Lazarus) was SICK, he abode two…[more]… days in the same place where he was…” (John 11:6 KJV).
Jesus delayed his time of arrival to Martha and Mary’s situation and decided to tarry where he was instead of coming immediately. “…My Lord delayeth his coming…” (Luke 12:45 KJV).
Lazarus’ sickness was obviously an emergency. Martha and Mary may have been desperate for Jesus’ presence, but he chose to delay his coming. “…he (Lazarus) was SICK, [but Jesus]… abode two…[more]… days in the same place where he was…” (John 11:6 KJV).
The problem with delay comes when someone is waiting for your arrival and they are late or don’t show up when expected. Delay can cause disappointment, on the part, of the people or person waiting for the one who is delayed, especially if it seems to be a matter of life or death. “…My Lord delayeth his coming…” (Luke 12:45 KJV). Jesus was delayed on purpose. He said, “…I am glad for your sakes (Mary, Martha, and his disciples) that I was not there (when Lazarus died), to the intent, you may BELIEVE….” (John 11:15 KJV).
Delay requires waiting. Martha and Mary, most likely, waited for Jesus to show up during Lazarus’ sickness, his physical death, burial preparations, the funeral service itself, the burial, and the repast. “… They that WAIT UPON the LORD shall renew [their] strength…” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV). “…WAIT ON the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: WAIT, I say, on the LORD…” (Psalms 27:14 KJV). “…The LORD [is] good unto them that WAIT FOR HIM…” (Lamentations 3:25 KJV). “…THOUGH IT TARRY, WAIT FOR IT….” (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV). “…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….” (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV).
The HEART CRIES OUT DURING GOD’S periods of DELAY. “…How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” (Psalms 13:1 NASB.“…Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God… (Psalms 40:17 NASB). “…I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God…” (Psalms 69:3 KJV).
A delay forces you to go through and endure unexpected events and experiences. “...though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (Job 13:15 KJV). Hope is challenged to hold out through days, weeks, months, and years BEFORE you SEE the actual manifestation of God’s glory (THE PRESENCE OF HIS GOODNESS). “…And in the PROCESS of time IT CAME TO PASS…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV).
It took 13 years before Joseph SAW God’s promise to make him ruler come to pass. “…Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren … Now Joseph had a dream …There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.” And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” ……. Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Genesis 37: 2, 5-14, 41:37-46). Joseph hoped and endured 13 years of being a slave and a prisoner BEFORE he became RULER as God's WORD said he would. “…[But]… in the PROCESS of time … [what God promised]… CAME TO PASS…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV).
No matter what you go through it can NOT STOP the PROMISES of God upon your life. “...God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!” (Numbers 23:20 NLT). “…As many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes …also … Amen …” (2 Corinthians 1:2 NASB).
“…Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" (John 11:40 KJV). Martha and Mary EXPERIENCED and endured Lazarus’ sickness and death. “… [Lazarus] … whom thou lovest is sick…” (John 11:3 KJV). “…Lazarus is dead…” (John 11:14 KJV).
Likewise, Job experienced and endured the loss of family, wealth, and health. “One day when Job’s ….donkeys were grazing nearby …the Sabeans attacked and made off with them.…another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and …another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and …yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” (Job 1:13-20 NIV). . “…Satan….smote Job with boils from the sole of his feet unto his crown…” (Job 2:7 KJV).
Joseph experienced and endured mistreatment from his brothers, such as being thrown into an empty, dark pit, being sold as a slave, and being a prisoner for years. “…And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit ... And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it … Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt…” (Genesis 37).
The Hebrew Boys experienced and endured controversy for standing up for their faith and being thrown into a fiery furnace. “…Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. … Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace…” (DANIEL 3).
Jesus experienced and endured mistreatment, physical abuse, and crucifixion. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe. And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands….Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away…” (John 19:1-16 KJV).
However, after an established DELAY, they ALL SAW the manifestation of the Glory of God. “…After …[they] … suffered … [or were delayed for]… a little while, [God promised to]… restore, support, and strengthen [them], and … place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT). “…After …. [they] … have suffered ... [or had been delayed for]… a little while…” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT).
There will be “a little while” or a delay AND there will be an “after.” Delays, no matter how severe or LONG, are temporary and the bible says, “…the suffering …[or delays]… of this present time ARE NOT worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…” (Romans 8:18 KJV). “…For our light affliction …[or delays], …which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV).
PROOF OF GOD’S GLORY: “….Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth…” (John 11:42-43 KJV).
PROOF OF GOD’S GLORY: “…The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: … So Job died, being old, and FULL of days...” (Job 42:12-17 KJV).
PROOF OF GOD’S GLORY: “Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. …“ You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”…So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” … Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt…” (Genesis 41 NIV).
PROOF OF GOD’S GLORY: “…Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon” (Daniel 3 KJV)
.PROOF OF GOD’S GLORY: Jesus is “highly exalted” with a “name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). In addition,“…at .the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11 KJV).
However, Job, Joseph, Jesus, the Hebrew Boys, and Martha and Mary ALL had to actually live through and experience extremely challenging DELAYS. “…After [THEY had]… suffered … [or been delayed for]… a little while…” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT). What should you know about DELAYS?
Delays have a purpose. Delays are about God’s love for you and NOT some kind of punishment. Delays are NOT about God’s denial, rejection, unconcern, or deprivation of you or your HOPES, DREAMS, or PRAYERS. Delays can be God-approved. Delays are meant to be a holy and intimately dependent experience with God. Delays are NOT about your will or purpose, but God’s will and purpose. If God allows the delay there is GOOD in it and a HUGE BLESSING!! “…My Lord delayeth his coming…” (Luke 12:45 KJV).
Jesus delays his visual arrival on purpose. “…I am glad for your sakes (his disciples) that I was not there (when Lazarus died), to the intent, you may BELIEVE….” (John 11:15 KJV). “….To the intent, you may BELIEVE….” (John 11:15 KJV). God was speaking to his disciples; those who already had a level of faith.
Yet, raising Lazarus from the dead was intended to propel them into a HIGHER level of faith or dependency upon God’s word by witnessing a first-hand MIRACLE. “..This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him…” (John 2:11 KJV). Jesus CAME to earth that MAN would believe.
It is the manifestation of his POWER that encourages BELIEF!“…[Jesus]…came for a witness…that ALL men through HIM might BELIEVE…” (John 1:7 KJV). “…Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto these, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt SEE greater things than these…” (John 1:50 KJV).
One ACT of God’s power CAN built, empower, and prepare one for the NEXT level of BELIEF. “….and many more BELIEVED “because” of his own words…we BELIEVE, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and KNOW that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world…” (John 4:41-42). “…I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me…” (John 11:41-42 KJV).
Martha and Mary believed that their brother would rise again in the resurrection on the last day, but Jesus intended to enable them to exercise a GREATER measure of faith or dependency upon his WORD. “….To the intent, you may BELIEVE….” (John 11:15 KJV). “…These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may BELIEVE on (depend on) the name of the Son of God (THE WORD)...” (1 John 5:13 KJV).
The disciples, no doubt, already BELEIVED Jesus could prevent Lazarus’ death, or simply heal his sickness, or restore him to health, or raise him up on the last too. “…The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, … he hath anointed me (Jesus) to PREACH the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to PREACH deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To PREACH the acceptable year of the Lord…” (John 4:16-21 KJV).
God had another MIRACLE in mind, for Martha and Mary, to ELEVATE their faith or dependency upon his Word to an even HIGHER and STRONGER degree. “….To the intent, you may BELIEVE….” (John 11:15 KJV). It was important that Lazarus died a physical death.”…I am glad for your sakes that I was not there…” (John 11:14 KJV).
Martha and Mary’s spiritual growth in FAITH depended on it. “…that you “may” believe…” (John 11:14 KJV). The FAITH of God’s people is PRECIOUS to him! “….the proof of your faith(or dependency upon God), being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7 ASV). “[God] knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried me (empowered me to depend upon him through his indwelling holy spirit), I shall come forth as gold…” (Job 23:10 KJV).
“…Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God…” (2 Corinthians 3:5 KJV). “…you will abound in HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 15:13 NASB). “…I pray that God, the source of HOPE, will fill you completely.... Then you will overflow with confident HOPE through the power of the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 15:13 NLT). “...I shall come forth as gold…” (Job 23:10 KJV).
“SEEING” with your “OWN” eyes, the ACTS of GOD’s GLORY are the building blocks for MORE faith, GREATER faith, and STRONGER faith or dependency upon God’s WORD. “…HOW MUCH MORE DO I NEED TO SAY? It would take too long to recount THE STORIES OF the FAITH (people who depended upon God’s Word) ... Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets… [Through]… FAITH (dependency upon God) these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death….” (Hebrews 11:1-35 NLT).
Jesus DELAYED his coming, in Mary and Martha’s story, for the INTENT purpose of raising Lazarus from the DEAD. Raising Lazarus, from the dead, was also to BUILD a STRONGER faith or dependency upon God’s word, for Martha, Mary and his disciples by witnessing first-hand “the POWER of HIS HOLY SPIRIT. “…that ye may BELIEVE on (depend upon) the name of the Son of God (HIS WORD)...” (1 John 5:13 KJV).
While DELAY makes people focus on what is happening on the OUTSIDE, God is focusing on empowering a HEART of FAITH or dependency upon HIS WORD on the INSIDE. “…The LORD looks at the heart…”(1 Samuel 16:7 NASB).
God took Israel through the wilderness (trials or tribulations) for forty years. One reason he did it was so they would “….know ( or to reveal to THEM) what was in [their own]…heart…” (Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV). Many believers claim to be God’s people, yet struggle, in their heart, with faith or true dependency upon HIM. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief (not having faith or true dependency upon his word), in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12 KJV).
“... Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (as Israel)…” (Hebrews 4:10-11 KJV). “…I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV). “…WALK BY FAITH...” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV). “…live by faith, not by sight….” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV). “...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart…”(1 Samuel 16:7 NASB).
God is looking at the “…hidden man of the heart…” (1 Peter 3:4 KJV). “… From within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts…these … come from within, and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23 KJV). God KNOWS the heart “…is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…who can know it [except God?]…” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV).
It’s a DELAY not a DENIAL or DEATH. It’s a DELAY with the intent to help God’s people BELIEVE or DEPEND UPON him in a GREATER way. “…[That]…ye MAY BELIEVE (that they may depend upon his powerful word)…” (John 11:14 KJV).
HOPE was not meant to be weakened, but to grow STRONGER. Jesus TOOK Martha and Mary BACK to the PLACE where they BURIED their hope. “…the PLACE “WHERE” the DEAD was laid…” (John 11:39-41 KJV).
“…Jesus said…I am the resurrection and I am the LIFE…..” (John 11:25 KJV). DEAD HOPE can be brought out of the BURIAL CHAMBERs, of the heart, with a pray of faith. A prayer of faith that God HEARs. “…Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” (John 11:41-42 NLT). “…And the prayer of faith SHALL save the sick (even the sin sick soul), and the Lord SHALL raise him up…” (James 5:15 KJV).
DEAD HOPE can be totally revived or returned to LIFE by the COMMAND of the GOSPEL (which is JESUS, the LIVING Word). “…Lazarus COME FORTH…he that was dead came forth…” (John 11:43-43 KJV).
DEAD “HOPE” can be brought BACK to absolute spiritual health and the GRAVE CLOTHES removed. “…He that was DEAD came forth, bound, head and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’” (John 11:44 KJV).
Grave clothes represent EVERYTHING that your HOPE was bound or wrapped in such as: doubt, disappointment, what you saw, what you heard, what you lived through, what didn’t happen, what did happen, the enemies lies, the weapons the enemy formed against you, and weariness.
It is easy to see how HOPE DIES, especially with long-term DELAYS. God intends for you to make it to the FINISH LINE by redeeming your HOPE, your DREAMS, and your PRAYERS. “…He will keep you strong to the end…” (1 Corinthians 1:8 NLT).
“…My Lord delayeth his coming…” (Luke 12:45 KJV). “…I am glad for your sakes (his disciples) that I was not there (when Lazarus died), to the intent, you may BELIEVE….” (John 11:15 KJV).
Therefore, “Let us NOT become weary in doing good, for at the PROPER TIME WE WILL REAP A HARVEST if we do not give up”…” (Galatians 6:9 NIV). “…If God is for [you], who …[or what can be]…against [you]? …” (Romans 8:31-39 NASB). “…. And he (your hopes, dreams, or prayers) that was dead came forth (was restored to life!!)…” (John 11:42-43 KJV).
GO AND GET BACK YOUR HOPES, YOUR DREAMS AND YOUR ANSWERED PRAYERS; GOD PLANS TO SHOW YOU HIS GLORY OR PRESENCE IN YOUR SITUATION AND YOU WILL SEE IT WITH YOUR VERY "OWN" EYES!!!