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Wait on the Lord (Ps 27:14) — Mondays with Mounce 222
Let’s have a little fun in the LXX. I have been especially interested lately in what it means to wait on the Lord. Sometimes I call out to him, “Show me where I am going.” His answer is always, “Do you know where to take the next step?” “Yes,“ I respond. “Good, then that is all you need to know,” he answers.
Waiting is not passive. It is a very active experience, often harder than “doing” something. It involves work and trust.
Psalm 27:14 reads, ὑπόμεινον τὸν κύριον· ἀνδρίζου, καὶ κραταιούσθω ἡ καρδία σου, καὶ ὑπόμεινον τὸν κύριον.
“Wait” (ὑπόμεινον) is an imperative. This is not a suggestion or even a good idea. We are told to “wait.” BDAG’s second definition for ὑπομένω is “stand one’s ground, hold out, endure.” The third is, “to wait for with persistence, wait for.”
ἀνδρίζου is a great word for discussion of translation philosophy. Etymologically it means, “be a man.” It occurs in the NT only at 1 Cor 16:13 where you can see the translations struggle the maleness of the word. “Be courageous” (NIV, NRSV,NLT). “Show courage” (NET). “Act like men” (NASB, ESV). “Act like a man” (HCSB). But the point I want to make is that it is active. It is something we all do, both brothers and sisters. It’s not passively sitting around waiting for the Lord to do something.
κραταιόω occurs in the NT at 1 Cor 16:13, Luke 1:80 (John the Baptist) and 2:40 where Jesus “grew and became strong” (ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο), and Eph 3:16. It is a passive (κραταιούσθω), not deponent. It is the idea that we are strengthened by someone or something else. You see this in the passive in Eph 3:16. δυνάμει κραταιωθῆναι διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος αὐτοῦ; “be strengthened with power through his Spirit.”
This demonstrates a great balance of active and passive. Waiting on the Lord requires the very active activity of “being courageous.” At the same time, the strength to do so comes from the Lord. And with this balance we aggressively wait, expectantly, for the Lord.
I am not good at waiting. It’s hard work.
William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics at Koinonia. He is the author of numerous works including the recent Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures and the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek. He is the general editor of Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words. He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version Bible translation, and is currently on the Committee for Bible Translation for the NIV.
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