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Waiting on the Dead

[by Rev. Wm. Graham, pastor. from the August 1944 issue of Songs in the Night, the newsletter of the Village Church of Western Springs, Illinois, transcribed from “Songs in the Night” broadcast, July 30, 1944. ]


Judges 5:28: “The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why, tarry the wheels of his chariot.”

Have you ever had an appointment with someone and waited for him, but he never came? This is the very sad picture that we have before us in this text. Sisera’s mother is waiting, wearily watching at the window for the coming of one who is already lying cold in death in the tent of Heber’s wife. She was waiting for one who would never come. Vain waiting . . . waiting on the dead. The cause of her vain waiting is the cause for the still vain waiting of so many—a want of a knowledge of the truth.

Thousands and thousands today are waiting expectantly and hopefully for the return of their Johnny Doughboy. Many will be disappointed, for many of the boys that stormed the beaches of Normandy and fought through the battle of Guam will never return. Anxious mothers, hopeful sweethearts, kindly fathers and friends waiting for the return of one who will never come.

You are waiting, on the dead if you are waiting to get peace with God without the blood of Jesus Christ. The word of God is very plain and clear — “And having made peace through the blood of His cross by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself. (Colossians 1:20.) And then again we read in the Word of God that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission” of sins. There is absolutely no way to have peace with God except by the blood of Jesus Christ as it is applied to the individual heart by faith. There is a glorious verse in I John that says, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Are you waiting on the dead in this respect.

You are waiting on the dead if you are waiting for salvation without believing on the Son. The Bible says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on Him.” (John 3:36.)

Two men were in a dark, cold dungeon in Philippi. It was midnight. They were preachers of the Gospel, having been thrown in this prison for preaching on the streets. they began to sing and to praise God in the darkness of their cell. While they were praying and praising God, an earthquake came and the prison walls began to fall. Their chains fell off their hands and feet. They were set free!

The jailer, seeing that his prisoners were able to escape, was about to fall on his sword and kill himself, knowing that the higher authorities would hold him responsible. Paul turned to the jailer and said, “Do thyself no harm. We are still here.” And the jailer, having heard the song, the testimonies, the prayers, fell on his knees before Paul and Silas and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They gave him one concise, tremendous answer. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. and thou shalt be saved.” There is only one way of salvation, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. Are you waiting on the dead?

You are waiting on the dead if you are waiting to feel saved before you come to Christ. Jesus had been teaching and healing all day. The crowds were pressing close upon Him. The road was dusty. A woman who had been sick for years pressed near Him in her anxiety to be healed of her disease. She reached out and touched the hem of His garment. In a moment she was completely healed. But first she had to touch Him by faith—and so it is with you. You will have to come by faith first, and then your feelings will come. But then after you come, do not rest on your feelings, because they change continually. Rest on the Word of God. The Bible says very clearly that you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are going to heaven when you die. “These things are written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that ye might know that ye have eternal life.” (I John 5:13.) Are you waiting on the dead?

You are waiting on the dead if you are waiting for power without receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit. God very plainly says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the dynamo, the electro-motive in every Christian. A Christian will never have power and, victory over sin until the Holy Spirit comes in to the heart in all His fullness. “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Do you want real victory in your life? Do you want power to win and influence others for Christ? Then confess any known sin in your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to come in. Are you waiting on the dead?

You are waiting on the dead if you are waiting for promotion without being faithful in the place you are. So many people are unstable these days. So many are wanting big things, but many times God calls us to a small place, and wants us to be faithful in the place we are—large or small—before He can promote us to a greater sphere. David had to be faithful on the mountainside with the sheep before God could allow him to lead Israel to the greatest heights in her history. Are you waiting on the dead?

You are waiting on the dead if you are waiting for the conversion of the world, or world peace before the coming of the kingdom. There can never be a kingdom without a king. Neither can there be peace without the Prince of Peace. All the planning at the peace tables will never bring about a great world peace, for the most essential person to peace is being left out - that person is Jesus Christ. Are you waiting on the dead?

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