I am a patient person. It’s clearly a gift from God, because patience in humans is about as natural as the ability to fly. But God is never satisfied to leave us where he has found us. I’ve grown accustomed to long waits: for education, for situations to change, for people. As patience develops in me more and more, I see God making use of these new skills. He knows I am comfortable with a few days, so he will extend whatever it is to a few weeks. Weeks become months and months into years.
At the heart of waiting is trust. God asks, do you trust me enough to be satisfied in me alone – now, for a little while, and in the age to come, forever. The study on wait takes a look at six categories a ‘wait’ can fall into. Together they uncover the elaborate emotional, physical and spiritual trial it is to endure. I hope you are encouraged in two ways. First, that the Bible has so much to say on the subject. Second, that you may know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that to wait on God is worth it.
Wait as – intentionally seeking to cause harm
(Tsadah, Tsediyah, Arab, Ereb, Aqeb, Ma’arab, Shuwr, Oreb, Enedreuo, Epiboule, Enedra, Methodeia)
This first category appears in verses such as Job 38:39-40 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket?” Many of these words and verses carry the implication of an ambush (Judg 9:35, Jer 9:8, Lk 11:54, Acts 23:21, etc). Of the six categories studied, this was clearly the largest. This connotation of wait is found more frequently in the Old Testament than in the New. This can easily be explained by the types of literature and stories found in the OT (histories, war), compared to those in the New, which primarily concern themselves with the fulfillment of prophecy and the duty of the church.
Now, one should ask, does the negative undertone suggested by wait’s usage affect our understanding of it? Yes and no. Yes, I find that it must because of how wide-spread its use in this manner appears. And no for precisely the opposite reason, it is only one definition among many. There is a medley of definitions available for the term wait, and so our mind has options apart from this negative connotation. This discussion does highlight one important fact about the use of wait – its meaning and attitude are intricately tied to its subject. By knowing who is doing the waiting, one can with near certainty infer what sort of wait they are enduring. In the case of category one the subjects are rather easy to identify: “anyone with malice” (Num 35:20), “the wicked” (Jer 5:26), “soldiers” (Josh 8:13).
As we continue keep in mind the following two points: in order to properly understand how wait is being used we must recognize first the setting and situation; second, the subject who is enduring the wait. These will clarify the purpose of the wait.