Wait upon the Lord

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

Peter McArthur


Some scriptural insights about ‘holding fast’ in expectant hope

The following teaching is presented in outline only. I could have easily expanded on what the text says and given examples of everyday usage for you to reflect upon. However, I find it of more benefit if YOU do the thinking through, rather than me provide a ‘ready-made’ insight. Therefore I ask you to read through what follows, to consider it deeply, and then make you own application. This in fact is a more Biblical approach. Let’s begin.

During times of trial and testing we can find ourselves in a place of confinement and stress. When we turn to the Word to find comfort, surprisingly we’re often told to simply “Wait on God”. In order to fully appreciate what this COMMAND is about (because that’s what it really is) it will help to dig deeper into the fuller meaning of what “waiting” on God truly means.

This certainly won’t answer all the pastoral needs associated with waiting on the Lord, and how difficult it can be for some people. But I’ve always found it necessary to lay a solid foundation first before launching into the practicalities. Too many of us look for “now” answers to our problems and for a quick deliverance, when what’s needed foremost is to see things from a heavenly perspective. We tend to look for solutions now, rather than God’s purpose amid the season of trials.

I want to encourage you how to draw from the Word the riches of what the text is saying about God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. When we begin to see from His perspective and establish such foundational truths in our heart, the problems and uncertainties of life take on a different perception in our minds. The Father’s grand and overriding purpose for us is a paramount truth that should reside deep within our hearts. To truly “know in your knower” (as my wife Colleen used to say) is extraordinarily helpful in keeping a balanced mind in harmony with God’s Word.

Get the Word firmly established within, and then to seek for an appropriate answer to your problem, is the best and only truly biblical approach. Go to the Word, let it direct your path, bend to its truth, apply its principles, and then wait on Him to accomplish His work and deliverance in the way only He knows is most appropriate for your particular situation.

This is not to fob you off from seeking pastoral help and care from trusted brethren, but it is to get the priorities right. The Word has it all, but it will require us to bend to its ways and allow the Spirit to bring any necessary conviction, and for us to adjust our way of thinking resulting in righteous action. Then and only then does “waiting on the Lord” have its full impact in our lives.

Most of us have cried out to the Lord in times of dire need, and in His grace and love He so often answers. But there are times we need to “wait” which can be awfully hard and even draining to the soul. Nevertheless, that’s what the Word says is required in many circumstances. It’s not something we find easy, but the Father is about adjusting us to the ways of heaven and moulding us into the image of His beloved son Jesus (Rom 8:29 and Eph 4:13).

So the sooner we learn the lessons of spiritual maturity, the quicker we will come to where the Father wants us to be. Remember, the Israelites could’ve been in their Promised Land within a couple of weeks after leaving Egypt, but their hearts rebelled, and they had to learn some very hard lessons wandering in the desert for another forty years!

First, let’s consider this wonderful text that is so encouraging (Psalm 27:14). Wait on Yahweh and be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart: wait I say, on Yahweh.

It is this profound word “wait” that we’ll look at in some depth.

Now if we take those all amplified translations from the words “wait” and others connected to it, like “hold fast”, we get a grand overview of what waiting on the Lord is all about. So here is the expanded translation I’ve put together (the version on the right).

By patiently waiting and binding yourself together to God, by twisting yourself to Him (Psalm 27:14), and by renouncing all self-help, submitting to the will of the Lord, coming in a state of tension to wait for the inward gathering of yourself in hope, by intently directing your heart towards God, ready to offer a particular prayer (Psalm 37:7), and with no complaining at all but by simply waiting quietly in expectant silence for the delivering work of God, it will happen (Lamentations 3:26). In all God’s might there will be made a mighty strengthening according to the holding fast power of His glory (Colossians 1.11). If we keep secure and hold fast in our memory and possess the truth, we will have confidence and hope until the end (Hebrews 3:6). So by God’s strength get a grip and hold onto the truth given to you and keep holding fast to it until Jesus delivers you or comes again (Revelation 2:25).

Now that might be quite a mouthful to take in, but by putting all the shades of meaning together we get a panoramic view of what it means to actively and expectantly “wait on the Lord”. I find it very exhilarating, and it has definitely helped me many times.


All these insights tell us that “waiting” on God is not an idle thing, or being passive, or wishing that something might eventually happen. Rather it is an expectant hopeful thing something quite ACTIVE. But it’s all based on the truth that He is sovereign, and He is always faithful. So let’s hold those truths fast and secure in our thinking – even during the difficult and testing times of life.

Note these factors:

  • We are to adhere to God by “twisting” ourselves to Him like a vine around a pole;

  • by renouncing self-help we are to “gather” ourselves to God and direct our prayer expectantly to Him

  • we are to stop complaining to God and in an attitude of quiet submissive trust, present ourselves to Him waiting for Him to act;

  • from His very own power God will strengthen us to hold onto Him through any situation in life;

  • we are to keep alive in our memory and hold fast in confidence to the truths about God’s character - He is who He says He is!

  • it is vital that we get a grip on eternal truths and hold firm to them until we are delivered, or we die, or Jesus comes!

In Messiah.

Peter at The Issachar Ministry