Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Wait on the Lord

Photo Credit: Roger Jones, Flickr Creative Commons

 “for you I wait all the day long” 
(Psalm 25:5)
wait for the Lord” 
(Psalm 27:14)
“to wait for His Son”
(1 Thessalonians 1:10)

I was thinking a little lately on how we “wait on the Lord.” How is that word “wait” to be understood? Well we could do an in depth word study into the Hebrew and Greek words, which I did not do this time. But if we did do that, what we would find is that the word pretty much means what we’ve come to understand it to mean. The way the Bible translators have typically translated this word, most of us would never think twice about. No surprises there.

The word “wait” as we have it in our Bibles means to expect, or to expect eagerly. It means to look for with a view to a favorable reception from God. It carries the idea of abiding in Him. It also sometimes refers to awaiting a specific event, such as the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:4. To wait often suggests a continuous and steadfast action, such as being ready to board a boat in Mark 3:9. These are the common renderings of the word “wait,” and all of them are correct. This is what the biblical writers had in mind when God directed them to pen those words.

I would like to suggest another way that we could also use the word wait in “wait on the Lord.” No, I’m not proposing throwing out the commonly accepted interpretations of the word “wait,” and what I’m going to suggest is not used in this way in the Bible, at least I’ve not yet discovered it. Theologically, though, I believe it would also be correct. What am I getting at?

Suppose we started using “wait” in the context of what a waiter or waitress does. Suppose when we speak of “waiting on the Lord” we mean it more as serving our Lord, as if He were seated at a fancy dining room table and we were the waiter, waiting to bring Him whatever He desired, or doing for Him whatever He desired.

Certainly God doesn’t “need” anything, but He does desire something. What is it that God desires? The Ten Commandments come to mind (Exodus 20:1-17 & Deuteronomy 5:6-21), as does 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Likewise, one of my favorites, Micah 6:8, “and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” Jesus’ Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) also comes to mind.  Does God “need” anything? No, He already owns everything (Psalm 50:10).  As His “waiters,” all he desires “are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17). To “wait upon the Lord” is to be a servant and to DO that which pleases Him.

I want to be a waiter. How about you?

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