Old Testament / Pain / Patience / Wait

What It Means To Wait (Bonus 3)

(Three outliers: Chakah, Duwmiyah, Yachal)

These few words have been set aside either because they crossed multiple categories or some important facet of the word would have been lost if left in a single category.

         Chakah is found in ten Old Testament verses. First, it involves a wait which is deeply tied to hope (Ps 33:20, Is 64:4). Similar to category two, this hope involves one’s relationship to the subject of the wait. In these few examples, the wait is enacted out of honor towards the one they are waiting for (Job 32:4, Dan 12:12). But this only scratches the surface of this word’s beauty. Isa 8:17 says “And I will wait on the LORD, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him.” Here the word takes on a much more visceral definition: to be pierced together. It is no longer just a wait, or casting your hope on Him, but literally piercing your body to his – all of me depends on all of him. In waiting for God, we pierce ourselves to the one who was pierced for us. Later in Isa 30:18 the word takes a different shape and paints another picture of waiting. “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you…Blessed are all who wait for him!” The imagery is lost in translation. It says the Lord literally tarries, slows down, so that he may be gracious or turn his face towards those are slowing themselves down and turning their faces towards him. This imagery is reoccurs in Hab 2:3. Chakah involves a hope and honor that is shown through devotion and sacrifice; primarily the sacrifice of one’s own control and freedom.

      Duwmiyah is another Old Testament word. It appears three times, all three occurrences are in the Psalms. The definition implies stillness and silence, which is seen plainly in the verses. Ps 62:1 “Truly my soul silently waits for God;” 65:1 “Praise is awaiting You (or steady praise), O God, in Zion;” 130:6 “My soul waits…more than those who watch for the morning.” The word is meant to invoke depth in the wait, where silence and consistency are natural products. Also holiness comes to mind. Silence usually involves reverence. In short, Duwmiyah carries the idea of peace. You cannot be silent if you are worried or in pain, nor can you be steady in hope if you are looking for alternatives. Peace, brought about by the confidence in the subject of our wait, which is the LORD in all three cases, should dictate our manner of waiting on Him.

Yachal is easily the most difficult word to grasp. It’s usage ranges from expectation to abandonment (Mic 7:7, 2 Kin 6:33), from hope to hopeless (Is 42:4, Eze 19:5), and from painful to liberating (Job 14:14, Job 29:23). The word appears roughly a dozen times, most notably in the books of Job and Micah. It adheres most often to the third category, a painful hope. The main difference is found in the darker connotation being delivered. Yachal can refer to a hope without peace, one which leaves the waiting unfulfilled. It combines the worst case scenarios into one – not only the wait itself is painful but the outcome is devastating. It is a brutal reminder that not all waits end well and, in truth, there is little we can do to affect the outcomes.


6 thoughts on “What It Means To Wait (Bonus 3)

  1. Waiting can be so difficult at times. However, when our waiting periods are tied together by the unbreakable threads of hope, our waiting turns into glorious faith. Thanks for this post Dave!

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