I never cease to be fascinated by themes throughout the Bible (look for posts on this in the future!) One predominant theme that seems to shout at me lately is waiting on the Lord.
I was having one of those days yesterday where I was moving about smartly and all was well for the moment when… crash! I hit another catastrophe. Another obstacle! Another spot where I was forced to mark time.
Have you ever had one of those days?
I took a few minutes to find a solitary place and think. I opened to the Psalm that has been my meditation and prayer lately: Psalm 25. I kept reading all the way through Psalm 27. In Psalm 27, this idea of waiting is repeated at the end of the chapter:
Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
~Psalm 27.11-14, NKJV
“Wait on the Lord.”
“Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart.”
Are you despairing today? Have you lost heart? Are you afraid? Take time to meditate on this passage.
In verse 11 of the above passage it says, “teach me your way, O Lord.” This is also expressed in Psalm 25:4-5: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths; Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”
When God teaches us His way, He has to draw us out of the world. We have to walk the path of faith. That path looks scary and uncertain at times, doesn’t it? He calls us to step out on a stormy ocean, disregarding the obvious threat of gravity and powerful waves. Who created the waves and gravity? Who has charge of our future?
God wants to teach us His way: TRUST.
He wants us to trust Him in good times and bad. He wants us to trust Him above all other supports. The moment we lose all our helpers is the moment our faith is tested to the uttermost. Will we wait on Him in trust?
“I would have lost heart…”
I initially read this passage from the New King James Version. The words “I would have lost heart” were italicized in my Bible. Whenever the NKJV italicizes something it means that it was not in every manuscript or added to enhance understanding. I often do not count on those italicized phrases to establish any sort of point because it was not in the original.
I did a comparison between three translations (NASB, ESV & NKJV) to see how that particular spot was translated. You can see the full context comparison here.
In the footnotes of the ESV, it says, “other Hebrew manuscripts Oh! Had I not believed.” My conclusion is that those italicized words were added by the translators to enhance meaning. They don’t detract from the passage, but I think those italicize words clarify why it was important for the psalmist to believe that He would look on the goodness of the Lord in the context of the passage. He believes that God will deliver Him and so He does not go out and commit suicide in His despair. He trusts. He does not lose heart.
Waiting on the Lord can be a challenge. Many kings and people committed great errors because they did not wait on God’s timing or seek His counsel before acting [Think Abraham and Hagar].
Let the Lord teach you His way. He wants us to wait on Him in faith. He’s teaching me that lesson even now and the Bible is showing me that I need to seek His counsel and wait. It’s hard to wait in our busy world, but we need to learn to slow down and seek God.
While you are waiting, think of the times when the Lord has provided for you or delivered you from trouble:
- Write it down (or type it and print it)
- Post it somewhere you regularly look (maybe you could make a little graphic for your phone so when you hit the home button, it’s the first thing you see!)
- Give thanks to God in prayer for those times.
- Ask Him to help you again.
Are you being taught to wait?
Are you seeking God’s way or your own?