What is Waiting for the Lord?

It should not amaze us that scripture proves itself as relevant today as it was the thousands of years ago when it was written. Take a moment and ponder the unsettling state of the world today, and when you’re ready (or disgusted), consider the following statement from the prophet Jeremiah:

Righteous are you, O LORD,
     when I complain to you;
     yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
     Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

– Jeremiah 1:1, ESV

The wicked prospering? The treacherous thriving? Our world is awash in such realities. How, then, is the Christ-follower supposed to respond when wickedness advances unchecked and appears even to be rewarded? Do we rail against that? Protest? Get angry with God?

Perhaps. But there is another answer, and that answer may surprise you.

The wicked watches for the righteous
     and seeks to put him to death.
will not abandon him to his power
     or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

Wait for the LORD
and keep his way,
     and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
     you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
     spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
     though I sought him, he could not be found.

– Psalm 37:32-36, ESV

Acknowledging right out of the gates that the context of this is not Christian, the principles underlyng what God has said through the psalmist are sound, and they apply across the board. What appears to be the “prospering” of the wicked is truly an opportunity for the believer to “wait on the LORD.”

So, what is this waiting on the LORD? We need to look closely at this term for “wait,” in the Hebrew text.

The term קַוֵּ֤ה (qawwêh) is a term of binding. It describes the way a cord is created, how the cords are twisted and stretched into a strong rope. It is also the word that describes the water on day three of creation as it was “collected” so that dry land could appear. Qawwêh is also the term used to describe the strength of threading in a spider’s web.

Much more than merely hanging out, waiting in impatience or boredom, qawwêh is a term of alertness. Watch the activies of the LORD, be strengthened, and be ready for action of your own. Respond to God’s timing. The reality is קַוֵּ֤ה is translated “watch” or “look” as frequently as it is translated “wait.”

Consider the scene replayed in so many movie battles. The enemy races toward us. We have them in our sites. We could fire now, but our commander says, “Steady … steady … Wait for my signal.” He knows the timing he wants, and in that interest, he is telling us not only to hold fire, but to watch closely the approach of the enemy. Be prepared. Stay prepared.

Wait. Watch. Listen. Be strengthened. Be ready.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
     and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD
shall renew their strength;
     they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
     they shall walk and not faint.

– Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV

Everything positive in that promise from Isaiah comes to those who wait, watching, ready, strengthened like the cords of a God-constructed rope.

If we return to Psalm 37, quoted above, the psalm closes in a way that calls out tremendous blessings of the LORD.

Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
     for there is a future for the man of peace.
But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
     the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
     he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
helps them and delivers them;
     he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
     because they take refuge in him.

– Psalm 37:38-40, ESV

The one who promises is faithful.

Blessings upon you, my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon

Twitter – @DamonJGray
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Damon J. Gray

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