Today I began reading Psalm 25, and I was stopped dead in my tracks by verse 3: “Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed.” I thought of how “waiting” is characteristic of God’s people, and I was drawn to Hebrews 11, particularly the bookends of the chapter, verses 1 and 39-40. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen . . . And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.”
I think of those throughout Scripture who waited, and those who did not. Noah waited for the rain. Abraham did not wait, but tried to fulfill God’s promises himself through Hagar, and created turmoil that persists to this day. After God’s correction, he and Sarah did indeed wait upon the Lord. Virtually all of Israel’s history and practice was centered around waiting for God’s deliverance and the fulfillment of His promises. This waiting was fueled largely by remembering. At Jericho, Israel waited, marching day after day in what, by human reasoning, looked like foolishness.
“Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed.” Psalm 25:3
By contrast, Cain did not wait. David, the great man of faith, did not wait when he took Bathsheba. Peter did not wait when he lopped off the servant’s ear in the garden. So much pain, suffering, and experiencing less than God’s best is due to not waiting.
Those who waited, according to Hebrews, saw the promises in the distance, and welcomed them as present realities. (11:13) They desired something better, so they did not settle for an “easy fix.” (11:14,16) They looked forward to the resurrection (11:35), and they did not receive it. Not yet – “that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” (11:40)
The patriarchs saw things generationally. They saw the “long-view.” They passed the baton of faith to each successive generation – the baton of waiting, fully assured of God’s promises. Each one blessed his sons, reminding them of what they were waiting for, and charging them to hold fast.
Psalm 25:3 applies to individuals, to be sure. But it also applies to God’s people as a whole. We could rightly be known as “those who wait.” We wait, we keep the faith, we hope in the promises of God for resurrection and the restoration of all things. Our waiting, like Israel’s, id fueled by remembrance. Our waiting will not be in vain! We will not wait forever! Hallelujah!