By Kaaren Craig
Michael Card’s Song, “Let Me Know You in the Now,” perfectly sums up the cries of our hearts as we try to navigate through our Upside-Down World. To say we live in challenging times is an understatement. Problems are personal, regional, national, and global. And the older one is, the more changes we have experienced.
For example: 50 years ago, media was trusted; now we are all familiar with fake news, sensationalism, censorship, and the impact of social media, twitter, and Facebook. Language has also shifted from discussion of ideas to censorship, name calling and crudity. One is either pro or anti and the latest cause and middle ground is not allowed. Technology impacts education, economics, media, and family life. Even the definitions of marriage and gender have changed. How does one navigate through these inversions in our daily lives? The above problems are easy to recognize and impossible to fix with simple solutions or answers. But there is a solution!
To navigate these events, our understanding about upside-down daily events and technological influences must change so we can navigate with God’s perspective. Unfortunately, emotions, attitudes, fear, and anger are daily pumped into the atmosphere. We may be so busy, we have no time for God’s perspective, or we are so constrained with lock down that we have no drive for much of anything, and some of us are vacillating between the two extremes.
Psalm 27 is applicable for us today. Wars, armies, enemies, false witnesses, and violence are a few issues that David addresses. The line that I want to focus on is 27:14.
Wait on the LORD.
Be of good courage
and He shall strengthen your heart.
Wait on the LORD. (NAS)
The center of this chiasm tells us how to “wait on the Lord”. If we are of good courage, God will strengthen our heart.
Now consider the Hebrew word for wait, which is qavah (Koof, vav, hey). If patience does not come naturally, waiting is not a word that we can eagerly receive. Waiting puts the emphasis on what we are supposed to do, and the perspective or action is from our own viewpoint.
Unless we read and understand Hebrew, we must depend on translations. So, the word “waiting” is abstract and appropriate, but there is more. The Schottenstein edition of the Book of Psalms, which is an interlinear translation, gives a different perspective of the word qavah. Place your hope in YHWH, strengthen yourself and He will instill courage in your heart and place your hope in YHWH. Did you hear the translation that changed “wait” to “hope”? “Hope” puts our focus and action on God, who He is and what He has promised to do, not on what we are supposed to do by waiting.
The Hebrew script originally used pictorial letters, so the definition of “wait” could go from abstract to concrete as explained in Hebrew Word Pictures, p. 143. Kuf is a picture of the back of the head, which signifies what follows. Vav is a picture of a tent peg that holds something in place. Hay is a picture with an opening that conveys “to behold”. So, qavah means what comes after the tent peg. That is, what are you holding on to? What are you waiting and hoping for?
Of two resources on defining words, one is Strong’s definition, which is to bind together by twisting, to expect, gather together, look patiently, tarry, wait for. The second resource is from Hebrew Honey by Al Novak, p. 133. This perspective is from God’s viewpoint: “Qavah is to be strong-i.e God is my strength and as is His strength, so is my hope.” A scriptural reference points to Jeremiah 3:17. At that time they shall call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD’, and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord… Novak concludes, “Since it is the Lord that binds His people to Him, shall they ever be unbound? This is the ground for hope.”
So, how does one survive in this upside-down world? It is all about perspective. Just like a top spins on only one point, so we get to choose the point of perspective. Is our perspective waiting with bated breath, because we do not know the outcomes of current affairs? Or, is it with the solid understanding that we are bound together by twisting like a cord to YHWH and His promise?
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Kaaren Craig is a BibleInteract board member and loves exploring the depth of Scripture.