WORD STUDY – WAIT ALL THE DAY
Psalms 25:5b “For thou [art] the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”
As Christians our first instincts when we read the God of our salvation we automatically think of our soul salvation through Jesus Christ. Indeed He is the God of our salvation in that context. However this passage of Scripture has a different context for the word salvation.
The word salvation here is yesha. It is the Hebrew form of the name for Jesus and Joshua. It means to deliver, rescue and bring victory. It also has the idea of safety, welfare and prosperity. The Psalmist in this context sees God as the one who rescues him from daily trials and tribulations.
He expresses this as “For thou art the God.” There were many gods in those days as there are today. All these gods were worship in the hope of receiving some supernatural help to deliver them from their troubles. The Psalmist is saying that Jehovah God is the God that he is depending upon for his deliverance.
But then he adds something a little odd. “On thee do I wait.” I find that a little discomforting that I would have to wait for my deliverance, I mean it is like we have to sweat it out while waiting for God to come along.
The English word wait today carries a broader meaning than it did a few centuries ago. Today when we think of waiting we think of sitting back, watching a clock tick away as we anticipate something. That has been the dominate meaning of the English word wait. We have waiting rooms like in a doctor’s office while we are waiting for our appointment. There are flashing signs which tell us wait when entering or leaving a car wash. It means to pause and not hit the accelerator until the washing cycle is finished.
There is also an entirely different meaning for wait as it is used in the terms of service such as a waitress, waiter or waitstaff. These are people who serve you a meal in a restaurant. Thus we need to examine just what the Psalmist meant when he said he would wait all day for God to rescue him. Does it mean he will just sit back and watch the clock in anticipation of God showing up or does it mean he will spend the day serving God.
The word in Hebrew for wait is qarah which is a word that is used for making rope. Rope is made by taking hundreds of strands of fabric, each strand which is easily broken and binding them tightly together. Although just one strand could easily be cut or broken, when you have hundreds of strands of fabric bound together you have a single rope that cannot be broken.
So when the Psalmist is saying that he is waiting all day for God he is saying that God has already come. He is there already and will deliver him in His own time, but in the meantime he will be binding himself tightly to God so he will become stronger in his faith.
Sometimes we get the idea that if we stay up all night praying over a matter that those hours of prayer will somehow bribe God into action. The longer we pray the more apt God is to show up to answer that prayer. Churches used to have what they called tarrying services where they would pray and pray until they felt the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit was already present and living in the hearts of those praying. God was already in that room the moment they began praying. He lives inside of us. What is really taking place in that tarrying service are people confessing sins, surrendering themselves to God, giving up their free will to God, releasing themselves to God. In a word, they are binding themselves to God. Sometimes that takes praying all night, even struggling in prayer to reach that point of surrender. Truly the more time you spend praying the more you will bind yourself to God and witness the power of God.
Some people will say; “Well, I prayed about it and that’s it, it is in God’s hands.” True, but that does not mean you do not continue to pray. The word in Hebrew for prayer is palal which has a Semitic root meaning a tent peg. A tent peg is what fastens the tent to the ground so it does not blow away. Prayer is your means of fastening yourself to God or binding yourself to God.
So in a real sense when the Psalmist says he will wait or qarah for God all the day he is saying that he will be praying all the day. As prayer is fastening yourself to God that would mean studying His Word, sharing His Word with others and yes, even serving God. All these things fasten ourselves or bind ourselves to God. It is like any relationship, the more time you spend together, more you are binding yourself to each other. The more time you spend with God in prayer, Bible study, sharing His Word, testifying and just keeping your mind stayed on Him through meditating on Him, you are binding yourself to God.
So when the Psalmist says: “For thou [art] the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” He is not expressing two separate thoughts but just one thought and that is telling us how God becomes His salvation or deliverance. That comes by keeping his mind and life stayed on Him and by binding himself to God.