The last letter in our acronym S.L.O.W. is “W,” which stands for “Wait on the Lord.” In a fast-paced society where red means stop, green means go, and yellow means go very fast so you beat the red, going slow, listening, observing, and waiting are not exactly character traits that come easily. In fact, in this author’s opinion, the waiting part is probably one of the most difficult disciplines to master of all. I would rather fast from food for a week than wait for a day for something that I really want done. Waiting is like going to the dentist and getting a root canal. It gives me the shivers just thinking about it. It flat out hurts and no amount of pain killers can alleviate that pain.
We are born with an innate ability and skill to go fast. Set a piece of candy on the table in front of a three-year-old and tell them that they have to wait to have it. They simply will not be able to think of anything else. Their face will contort like a monster and saliva will start dripping from their mouth. Their eyes will begin to bulge out of their sockets while their mouth opens, showing teeth in full array as they lean over the candy like a lion over its cornered prey. Not having it now is making their lives miserable and uncomfortable. They can’t take the waiting. They lunge forward, grab the candy, and run as fast as they can before mom realizes there is a thief in her house.
We “adults” are called “children” of God for a reason. Because truth be told, we are the exact same way. The Father gives us a promise or sets something before us but says it’s not time for us to have it and we simply cannot sit still long enough to see His goodness in the waiting. We lunge forward and take matters into our own hands thinking we have taken the prize when really we have just jumped off a cliff causing the death of all we hoped for.
In this article, we are going to get to the bottom of the word “wait” that we all seem to disdain so much. We are going to dive into the Hebrew to see the truth of what waiting really means. We’ll explore some amazing scriptures that will reveal to us what God really has to say about waiting, and we’ll end with the power of the Hebrew Paleo pictures. When we couple the previous disciplines into our lives, waiting may still not be fun, but you will take on a whole new attitude in the process. Let’s go!
To Wait on the Lord.
What does that really mean? And how do we actually do it? When do we know when to stop waiting and do something? And at that point, what do we do? Man! Following God is complicated! But that’s only because we’re children. Once we start learning how to follow Him, it’s just like riding a bike. Learn it once and it only gets easier from there.
In Hebrew, there is one main word for “wait”: Kawvah (pronounced Kaw-vah’). In English, when we hear the word “wait,” we normally think of twiddling our thumbs and being bored out of our minds. This is why we as American Christians can’t stand waiting. This is why theme parks make a ton of money selling Fast Passes that allow you to go straight to the front of the line, because they know Americans hate waiting! But in Hebrew, waiting is anything but boring. Its definition is mind-blowing and I hope it will revolutionize how you view it.
In Hebrew, Kawvah has several interconnected definitions. It means “to bind together by twisting, to collect or to gather something together.” Strong’s says “It is the straining of the mind in a certain direction with an expectant attitude, to look forward with assurance.” Did you hear that? Does that sound like what we Americans define as “wait”? Not in the least.
Before we unpack all of this, let’s continue to dive a bit deeper and explore Kawvah and the words that are associated with it. In Hebrew, when you find a three-letter root word, any word that contains that same three-letter root is sure to be connected and expand the meaning tremendously. After all, we are not after Webster’s definition; we’re after what Yahweh Himself was thinking when He invented the word to begin with. Kawvah is spelled Quof (pronounced Koof), Vav, Hey. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, there are three words that are associated with this word: “Line” (Qaw), Hope (Tiqvah or Miqvah), and Cord (also Tiqvah). Each of these contains the root or a version of the root. In the cases of hope and cord, it actually is the exact same word as Kawvah, except a Tav or a Mem is added to the front.
Here are two scriptures that use the exact same Hebrew word (Tiqvah) but have two different meanings:
Joshua 2:21 (talking about Rahab helping to hide Joshua and Caleb when they were spying out Jericho): “Then she said, ‘According to your words, so be it.’ And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord (tiqvah) in the window.”
Jeremiah 31:17: “There is hope (tiqvah) in your future, says the LORD, that your children shall come back to their own border.”
As you can see, “hope,” “wait,” and “cord” are intertwined like a three-stranded cord (pun intended 😉 ).
At this point, you may be asking, “What on earth do a cord, line, hope, and collecting have anything to do with ‘waiting'”? That is exactly what we are going to discover. In Hebrew, waiting is connected to hope. Do you remember what 1 Corinthians 13:13 says? “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Paul says that out of all the attributes a believer should have, hope, or waiting, is in the top three. Waiting is connected to hope and hope is the same Hebrew word as “cord.” How are those two connected? Well, what is a cord used for? It is used to bind or connect something to something else. It is designed to restrain. When we are waiting on and hoping in the Lord, we are being “bound” by Him. He is constraining us from doing something that would otherwise ruin the end result that He so desires to give. Our very hope is dependent on being bound. Take matters into your own hands and you will have lost all hope of receiving that particular blessing. And you won’t even know it.
Let’s look at one scripture where we are told to bind something to us. It is the famous Shema of Deuteronomy 6. In verse 8 it says, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” In this scripture, we are told that what constrains us is His very Word. It is His Word that is given to slow us down, help us track Him, and bind us from doing what would otherwise be detrimental to our future and our blessings. Following His Word puts us at His pace. If we are tracking Him, that means we are behind Him. Waiting and being patient with the Lord means that we have taken His commandments and His Word and have bound them on our hands. When our hands are bound by His Word, we are utterly dependent on His hands in whatever situation that befalls us.
Let’s take a look at several powerful examples of waiting in scripture to really see the power behind this concept from Yahweh’s perspective.
Psalm 25:21: “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.” This tells us that we need to make sure that we maintain our integrity and uprightness while we are waiting and letting the Spirit sculpt our circumstances to His desired outcome. I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes when we have to wait upon the Lord to deliver us, our minds can wander and begin to think bad thoughts about those that are involved and we start acting out of our flesh. Right there lies the trap. In the scriptures, what we think in our minds is the same as actually doing it (Mathew 5:28), which is not being upright. We are told to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5) for this very reason. The next scripture really drives the concept of keeping our integrity while waiting.
Job 4:6: “Is not your reverence your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” Having Yahweh work on our behalf like a defense attorney is completely dependent on us keeping our end of the deal and walking in integrity and in His ways during the waiting period. As we continue to pass the test of waiting, He moves forward on our behalf to right all wrongs.
Psalm 27:14: “Wait on the LORD. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD!” What a great scripture! He knows our heart begins to weaken when we really want to act to try to fix our situation but we know we should really wait on Him to come through. It can sometimes be very difficult to really trust Him and let Him do it. But this is a PROMISE that if we do wait, He WILL strengthen our heart.
Psalm 37:34: “Wait on the LORD and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.” Here, Yahweh gives us instructions. While we are waiting, we are to “keep His way,” which means that we are to keep His holy Torah (instructions) and follow His Word. He tells us that if we truly back off and let Him handle the situation, He PROMISES that we will inherit what we have coming to us and that we will see our enemies fall.
Psalm 40:1-2: “I waited patiently for Yahweh and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my steps.” Are you in a pit? Cry out to Him and continue to press in and praise Him while you wait. In due time, you will be standing on the rock of Christ with nothing but clear, safe and successful steps in front of you.
Hosea 12:6: “So you, by the help of your God, return. Observe mercy and justice and wait on your God continually.” You are about to take matters into your own hands and your flesh will feel vindicated for the moment, but you will lose everything in the process. When you judge the matter unrighteously and without His permission, the Father (who was about to judge the very person you judged) is now forced to judge you using the same measure (Mathew 7:1) because you have taken His place unlawfully. Instead, He says “return” to your post and tie yourself up with the “cords” of His Word and watch HIM judge. The Father promises to use perfect mercy and justice. And I can promise you that He is much better at playing “chess” than we are.
Isaiah 26:8 “Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Yahweh, we have waited for You. The desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.” This is probably THE MOST important verse to help us have the right heart motive while waiting. While we are pressing into the Spirit and waiting on His mighty right hand, our motivation cannot be so that our enemies are destroyed, our spouse gets a royal beating by God Himself, or any other fleshly reason. Our only motive can be that we are waiting so that HIS NAME can be glorified and when it is all said and done, all anyone will remember about the situation is HIM. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own pain and hurt that we forget that it is not about us. It’s about Him and His great Name. When we get to the place where all we care about is Him and His Kingdom, “all these things shall be added unto [us].”
Psalm 25:9: “And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God. We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is Yahweh. We have waited for Him. We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.'” This is the grand finale of waiting. You have been under siege and surrounded by the enemy. You have been waiting patiently on the Spirit to sculpt your circumstances and make Himself known in the situation. Then, out of what seems like nowhere, He shows up. The enemy’s eyes get big as he shrinks to the ground in fear and you finally come out of your prayer closet and shout from your rooftop “That’s MY God! I waited for Him and He is here to save me! THIS is what I have been praying for. THIS is Yahweh! I have waited for Him and I will be glad and rejoice for my salvation is here!” There can be little that compares with the sweet victory of the day He shows up to defend you. It may not seem like He’s paying attention friend, but I can assure you that He is working behind the scenes to get every single thing in line before He reveals Himself. He is a stealth fighter and doesn’t want to reveal His position until the last second when the enemy can’t retaliate.
Before we move on to the finale of the pictures behind the Paleo, do you remember in the beginning where the original definition of “wait” was to “collect” or “gather”? This is a powerful concept that I want to make sure registers with you. When you go into the bank and hand the teller a check that you want to cash, and she walks away for a minute, do you have any doubt that she will come back with your money? Of course not. There is absolutely no problem in waiting because you know for a fact what the end of the waiting looks like. You are completely confident in the teller to do her job.
This is exactly how we are supposed to treat our situations. When we give it to God to take care of, He goes into stealth mode in the back room and starts working on “cashing your check.” We are then supposed to just sit there and wait with a smile on our faces because we know He is coming back with His promise in His hand. It is simply not possible for Him to not come back. He WILL cash your prayer for the benefit of His name and He will personally hand you your blessing.
Unfortunately, most of us plop our check down, wait for a little while, then get tired of waiting and storm out of His bank trying to find “money” some other way. Right when we walk out of the door is normally when He comes out of the back room with far more than we ever expected. But we missed the blessing and the power of God and those who make that mistake will never even know what they missed.
That check is your faith and it is the evidence of the promise in the “back room” that you can’t see. This should make Hebrews 11:1 make a whole lot more sense: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Put your faith out there in front of Him and wait. I can assure you, that you will not be disappointed. Why stress over trying to change this person, that situation, fixing this, or saving yourself from that when you have a Daddy that can do all of that and more?
Lastly, I want to bring in the power of a picture. Revelation is like the icing on the cake. Without it, it’s just not quite the same. So let’s take a look at the Paleo Hebrew and watch all of this come alive.
Kawvah is spelled Quof (pronounced Koof), Vav, Hey. In the original pictograph, where every letter had a picture and its own meaning, Quof had something to do with the “back.” It was like the “back of the head, to be behind, or to encircle.” The letter Vav was a picture of a nail and had the meaning of “connecting, bridging, or binding something together.” Hey was a picture of a man with his hands raised and meant “to behold, reveal, or revelation.” So when we put all that together, the Hebrew word for “wait” means, “Staying back or behind (God) connects you to revelation!” When we truly slow down and press in through prayer, take our time to be observant enough to track Him, and wait patiently for His mighty hand, we will by default find ourselves and our destiny bound for revelation. And the word for revelation is the same as the word for vision, Chazown, which we have covered before. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Where there IS a vision (revelation), the people LIVE!
Now let’s move to the word “cord” and “hope” which is the exact same word as “wait” except there is a Tav on the front of it. Tav is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet and was the picture of an “X,” like X marks the spot for a buried treasure. It means “the mark, or covenant.” So by adding Tav to the Paleo meaning of “wait” we get “Being in real covenant with God is staying back behind Him and letting Him connect you to His vision and revelation!”
THIS is real hope!
To finish off this section, let’s take a quick look at the second word for “hope” which is “miqvah.” Again, it’s the same word as “qawvah” (wait), it just has the letter Mem in front of it. Mem was the picture of “water,” specifically “strong cleansing waters” like the flood of Noah. So again, putting it all together, we have “The strong cleansing waters (of the Word) encircle us and keep us behind Him so that He can connect us to revelation.” There is simply no way around it. Hope is allowing His Word to surround us so that we can realize the promise of Him moving on our behalf.
In conclusion, we have discovered from one single word, kawvah, that a real covenant is waiting on God to move on our behalf. It’s being patient for Him to do what He has promised to do. When we do not wait for Him to judge the situation, and we step in to do His job for Him, we are NOT in covenant with Him. And that is a scary place to be. Our only real option is to “play God” and be judged by Him or “play dead” and be resurrected, blessed, and promoted by Him. It’s just that simple. Either we wait at the red light until it turns green, or we go through it, violate the law, and get into a head-on collision that is far worse than your original situation was.
In closing out this section on S.L.O.W., please let your entire soul comprehend that the real power of God that He desires to give you is COMPLETELY dependent on how we live out this acronym. When we Slow Down, Listen, Observe, and Wait on Him to fight our battles for us, only then will we truly begin to see miracles and the Red Sea open right before our eyes. It is THE formula for success in our lives and relationship with God, plain and simple. Unfortunately, it is anything but simple the first few times around. If you are anything like me, taking matters into your own hands is as easy as breathing and waiting on God is like taking a bite of the most delicious chocolate cake you’ve ever eaten and then being asked to spit it out without swallowing it. But I can attest to the power of God that when we “trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean NOT on our own understanding, acknowledge Him in all of our ways, He WILL direct your path.”
Not sure which way to go? WAIT FOR IT! The sign, the vision, the dream, the word, however, He chooses to speak to you will come. He WILL direct your path. If He has to destroy all the other paths to show it to you, He will do it. So the next time you feel like responding in your flesh, acting out of fear, or defending yourself, remember one small word that carries a big stick…Kawvah. WAIT!
Jim’s life’s desire is to help believers everywhere draw closer to the Father by understanding the truth of the scriptures from their original cultural context (a Hebraic perspective) and to apply them in faith for today.