“Behold, the eye of Yahweh is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His righteousness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for Yahweh; He is our help and our shield.”
Competing hospitals in our area have electronic billboards which indicate the current waiting times in their emergency rooms – we don’t like to wait. Retail stores now not only have express lanes for those with just a few items, they also have self-service checkouts designed to reduce our waiting time (and their labor expense) - we don’t like to wait. Toll roads have express lanes where tolls are paid electronically, Amazon has next-day delivery, at Wal-Mart you can order online and pick your item up at a local store, churches design services to get attendees in and out on time – we don’t want to wait on anything, anytime, anywhere.
When we send an email or leave a voice mail we want a response right away, if our computer takes 30 seconds longer to boot-up than we think it should we get impatient – we don’t want to wait, we don’t like to wait, and all too often waiting unnerves us.
The psalmist writes, “Our soul waits for Yahweh.” There is much about waiting on God in the Bible, in fact, the Bible is replete with the point – counterpoint of waiting and fulfillment, waiting and fulfillment, waiting and fulfillment. God promises, we wait, God fulfills His promises.
As Jesus ascends to the Father He commands His followers, “Wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.” He has just told them to “go into all the world and teach” and in the next breath He tells them, “Wait. I want you to go into the entire world, but oh, by the way, before you go you need to wait.” I’m not sure that plays out well for us today, this business of waiting on God, surely God must have an express check-out lane.
A popular chorus used to be Isaiah 40:31, “They that wait upon the LORD will renew their strength, they will mount up on wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint. Teach me LORD, teach me LORD, to wait.” I haven’t heard that sung in years, we must have better things to do than wait on God.
Waiting on God weans our soul from other things, from feeding on outside stimuli, outside thinking; it also weans us from inside thinking, from self-centeredness. Waiting on God weans us from the noise of life, and we have an awful lot of noise in our lives – we’re addicted to it – not just auditory noise, but communication noise like emails and text messages and social media.
The waiting that Psalm 33 talks about begins with worship, “Sing for joy in Yahweh, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright,” Psalm 33:1. We are alive to worship, alive to love God with all we are and all we have, alive to live in intimate relationship with Him; as we worship Him we wait for Him - for deep worship is not just offering praise and adoration to the Father, it is waiting for His response, listening for His voice, waiting for the promise of the Father.
Waiting on our Father acknowledges that, “The king is not saved by a mighty army, a warrior is not delivered by great strength, a horse is a false hope for victory, nor does it deliver anyone by its strength,” verses 16 – 17. In other words, waiting on God acknowledges that in God alone do we find the answers, in Christ alone we find strength and wisdom, and that “unless the LORD builds the house they labor in vain who build it”, Psalm 127:1.
We don’t want to wait, we don’t like to wait, and we do everything we can not to wait; not to wait on others and not to wait on God. We may not be so rude as to sit in our cars and honk our horns waiting for God to get in and let us take Him where we want to go – we simply drive off without Him.
Whether we will wait for God, He will wait for us, at least to a certain point, a point that only He knows. What a shame to arrive at the end of life, to appear before God, and to hear, “I kept coming to you, day after day, night after night; I came to you at home, I came to you at work, I came to you in your deepest pain, and I came to you in your most wonderful moments…but everytime I got to where you were you were gone…your mind, your heart, your soul, your attention…you were gone seeking other things…I came and you were gone because you wouldn’t wait for me. How I wanted to share life with you.”