There are a number of verses, particularly in the Psalms that say, “wait on the Lord.” But I believe that there are several misconceptions being taught and practiced regarding what that phrase means and I would like to address these.
Some believers hold that they must “wait” for a long time, perhaps months and years, for God to give them an answer to a question. They use this phrase when they have not received the desired answer and say, “I am waiting on the Lord.” I would like to submit that this is an excuse not to listen and stand firm on the Word, at the worst, and at the best, is a pat phrase that disguises misunderstanding regarding receiving revelation from God and getting answers to our questions. The excuse causes these very well-intentioned believers to do nothing and to never change.
My question to you is, if we are children of God and He is our Father, will He not talk with us and answer our prayers? If you have children, you can see the comparison easily. If your child comes to ask you a question, you give an answer. Perhaps sometimes we avoid answering if they are interrupting a movie or something like that. But if your child asks you a specific question like, “What’s for dinner, Mom?” do we ignore them and just pretend we never heard the question? Of course not! Even if we don’t know what we are having for dinner, we at least say something.
I believe that the Word teaches that God will always answer us when we ask. We may not always like the answer. The answer may be, “I will tell you later,” or “not now.” We may need to wait to have the solution come to pass and to get further insight on the matter, but there will ALWAYS be an answer.
There are many different words that are translated “wait” in the King James, with meanings such as, be strong, be firm, observe, hope, remain, as well as to wait in the sense of expectation. The Hebrew word in Psalm 27:14 is qavah and comes the closest to the idea of our English “to wait.” It means to remain, wait, or endure.
Psalm 27:14 (KJV)
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
One of the most wonderful things about studying Aramaic is that it is a sister language to Hebrew, and often there are words from the Old Testament that can be carried over to find out the exact parallel words in the New Testament. In this case, there is a “sister” Aramaic word used in the New Testament that helps to clarify our subject. It is qewa and is often translated abide or continue. The passage where qewa is used more than 10 times is John 15 about the vine and branches.
John 15:4 (MGI)
Remain in me and I [will remain] in you. As the branch is not able to produce fruit of itself, unless it will remain in the vine, so neither [will] you, unless you remain in me.
To wait on the Lord is to continue, to abide in Him, to discuss things with him in a vital relationship. John 15:7 sums this up: But if you abide in me and my words abide in you, whatever you want to ask, you will have. We continue in relationship with God as our Father, and He talks things over with us and tells us answers to our questions and gives us direction for our lives. And if we ask a question, He answers.
Now of course, when our children ask questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” we may answer, “because God made it that way.” God sometimes answers, especially our “why” questions, with things like, “because that is the way it is.” But more often than not, when the person questioning is earnestly seeking understanding and insight, He patiently explains the “ins and outs” of the matter. I am speaking generally here and not using a specific example, because the principle applies to every type of question.
The reason that I believe that God answers all our questions is that he wants us to “bring forth fruit.” That was referred to in John 15:4. Another verse that explains this succinctly is in James.
James 1:5 (MGI)
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask [for it] from God, who gives generously to all and does not reproach and it will be given to him.
To reproach means to scold or criticize. God gives GENEROUSLY!
There are four principles that I have seen in studying this and have been endeavoring to apply. In order to continue, abide and “wait on the Lord,” I must:
1) Keep asking and not walk away from communicating with God. He won’t talk to me unless I want to hear.
2) Stay put and be confident that God does want to answer and I must squelch any thoughts of inadequacy. He made me His child, so He wants to talk with me because of that reason only, not because I am perfect.
3) Expect answers to continue. If there is a “no,” or “not now,” there WILL be more later. Don’t think that one conversation is the end of the whole matter.
4) Continue to abide in God’s presence, keeping my spiritual ears open to His conversation, no matter what else I am doing.
The purpose of waiting on the Lord, continuing in Him, is so that I can do His will more perfectly and bear fruit that will praise His name. Don’t give up, continue asking and expect that God will answer and give you wisdom.