December 9, 2015

Advent is a season of waiting, of longing for what is to come.

Waiting comes hard for some of us. We are so looking forward to the things to come—perhaps especially in this season of the year. Advent is all about waiting, longing for the coming of the promised Christ.

The lives of so many of the Old Testament saints are examples of waiting on the Lord ; many provide a sort of preview of this Advent kind of waiting. Perhaps one of the clearest examples of this sort of Advent-waiting—longing for a savior—is in the life of Moses. The stories about Moses are a character study in what it means to wait expectantly.


Moses, born into slavery, one of the Israelites waiting for rescue from a life of servitude.

Moses, afloat on the Nile as a baby in a basket, waiting to be drawn out by Pharaoh’s daughter.

Moses, growing up in Pharaoh’s household, waiting to be reunited with his fellow Israelites.

Moses, fleeing for his life after killing an Egyptian, running to Midian as an exile, waiting on a call from the Lord that would change his life.

Moses, proclaiming the word of the Lord in Pharaoh’s court, performing miraculous signs, waiting for a softening of Pharaoh’s heart to release God’s people.

Moses, waiting with the rest of God’s people for the Angel of Death to pass over the land, finally bringing them freedom.

Moses, on the shore of the Red Sea with all of the Israelites, with the Egyptian chariots closing in, waiting for the Lord to make a way for them to salvation.

Moses, climbing Mount Sinai, waiting for the Lord to write His law on stone tablets to bring to the people.

Moses, sending out the spies into the Promised Land, waiting for their return and their report.

Moses, interceding for a people too afraid to trust the Lord’s word that He would be with them and fight for them, waiting for the Lord’s judgment on them.

Moses, stuck with those stubborn grumblers wandering in the desert for 40 years, waiting for this generation of faithless Israelites to pass on before they would enter the Promised Land.

Moses, finally reaching the edge of the Promised Land with the next generation of Israelites, camping out on the far side of the Jordan River, recounting the law to this new generation…and waiting for the word from the Lord to send them across.

Moses, not allowed to enter the Promised Land himself, but able to see it from the top of Mount Nebo, waiting for the Lord to finally take him home.

Moses’s whole life seems to be one season of waiting after another—waiting, and trusting that God will act in His own way and in His own time. I sometimes wonder if Moses grew tired of waiting? Perhaps he began to understand that God’s timetable is a bit different than that of human beings. Perhaps it’s no wonder that he wrote in Psalm 90 :

A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Would that this would be our prayer too, even as we wait for the coming of the Christ !

About the Author
  • Dave Mulder serves as Professor of Education at Dordt University, where he teaches pre-service teachers in the undergrad program and works with practicing teachers in the Master of Education program. His interests in education are varied, but include educational technology, online learning, STEM education, faith formation, and teaching Christianly. 

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