Psalm 25: Wait
Ps 25:3,5, 21, “Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;… Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day… Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.”
Wait. As far as the English language is concerned it’s certainly not one of my favorite words. I cannot stand to be told to wait for anything. Wait? Are you serious? I’m part of the microwave popcorn generation. If the cooking instructions on the back of a microwave dinner say more than 2-3 minutes, I put it back in the freezer. I don’t care if it is chicken parmesan and spaghetti. I’m not waiting 3 minutes for anything to cook. And don’t even get me started about commercials. Thank You, Lord, for the person who invented the DVR. I love fast-forwarding through commercials. Just the thought of having to wait a couple of minutes before the game resumes is enough to make me want to turn off the TV. More than 2 people in line at the ATM? I’ll drive to another bank. Bottom line? I hate to wait. You just don’t know.
Fortunately, at least as far as this Psalm is concerned, the word that we translate as “wait” has a very different emphasis in the Hebrew. In our American culture we focus on the time aspect. In the Hebrew language the word emphasized strength. Literally, the word meant to bind or to twist. Imagine a rope. What is a rope? A rope is actually a number of individual fibers that have been either twisted or braided together. As a result of this connection, there is a strength present that would not be there otherwise. One strand would be useless to pull your vehicle out of the ditch. But bind it together with others to form a rope and you have all the necessary strength to do the job.
When the OT talks about waiting that is the image it uses. In our strength we are incredibly limited. We are one small strand. God gives us a promise. But as time passes we begin to wilt under the weight of time. Faith diminishes. Unbelief rises. In desperate need of just a little more patience and endurance, we falter at the threshold of confidence. We take matters into our own hands. We try to work the problem ourselves. We resort to our own strength and wisdom. The end result? It’s that single strand trying to pull the car. The tension is too great. We reach the end of our limits and we snap. We break.
David reminds us three separate times in this one Psalm of the virtue of waiting on God. Like that single thread we find strength only when we our bound together with the Lord. In truth, to wait is to literally wrap ourselves up with Christ. Tied and twisted together, no longer trying to survive in our own strength. But now we are One with Him. Joined together. Our struggle comes because we confuse the passive waiting of our modern world with the active waiting found in the Psalms. Let me explain. Think about the last time you had a doctor’s appointment. You checked in at the front desk and then you did what? You went and sat down in the lobby. And you waited. And you waited. And you waited. What did you do while you were waiting? That’s right. Absolutely nothing (I’m sorry but reading a magazine doesn’t count). You waited. That, my friend, is passive waiting. What we need to embrace is the Biblical idea of active waiting. Wait in His Word. Wait in prayer. Wait in worship. Wait in fellowship. Wait in service. Faith isn’t simply a matter of finding your promise and then going and sitting in the lobby of life until He calls your name. No! He gives His promise to us. And we join ourselves to Him as we wait. He becomes the necessary strength that sees us through until the time when the promise is fulfilled.
Take heart today. If God has given you a promise, then you need to wait. Not alone. Not in your own strength. But you need to wait joined together with Him. Let Him be your strength. Let Him guide you and even carry you through until the time of fulfillment. Stop fretting. Stop worrying. Stop stressing. Just wait. You won’t be disappointed because those who wait for Him will never be ashamed.