While reading the English Standard Version of the Bible over the last few years, I’ve been fascinated by the number of places where the word “wait” is used — in Psalms especially, but also throughout the Old Testament. Other translations may use “hope” or “trust” in the same passages, but the translators of the ESV took great care in providing a new level of literal word-for-word accuracy, so this is a significant change.
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:25-26).
But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. (Psalm 62:1)
In all these passages the term “wait” carries a strong connotation of worship, not just waiting around for God to show up. Instead of a mental picture of someone tapping their foot, looking at their watch and waiting for God get there, I see the image of a worshipper with head bowed, on bended knees, giving full reverence to Him. This is the heart of fruitful worship, of seeking God, and it can’t be done in an instant, microwave-type of format. This is the pathway to intimacy with God, and it cannot be hurried.
When we open ourselves up to God in “devoted waiting,” He comes in and fills us with Himself, giving us insight, wisdom and spiritual feeding we couldn’t get any other way. Worship is something we give to the One who is worthy, and in giving, our soul is nourished with exactly what it needs in order to be empowered for His work.
So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God. (Hosea 12:6)
Waiting, in this verse, seems to imply moving forward worshipfully, going along with the action words of holding fast to love and justice. It is accomplishing something important here, not just sitting around waiting for something to happen. It is listening intently, seeking faithfully.
…I will wait for your name, for it is good… Psalm 52:9
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame… Psalm 25:3
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
All scripture from the ESV
© 2017 Darvis McCoy