“Slowing down does not prevent getting to the goal. It just makes the circumnavigation much more pleasant.”- Skip Moen
These words are worth taking in…as are the larger body of words that gave these last parting ones more poignancy…
Fish and Snakes – Rewind
by Skip Moen, D. Phil.
I waited, waited for YHWH; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. Psalm 40:2 (Hebrew Text)
Inclined – Natah. Nun-Tet-Hey. That’s how you spell this Hebrew verb. The picture? What is revealed (what comes) from life surrounded. Actually, the pictures are fish darting through water (life activity) and a snake coiled around something (surround). OK? So, consider this imagery and ask yourself, “Does God surround my life?” If He doesn’t, do you think He will incline toward you?
The verb means more than incline. It means to stretch forth, to bend toward, to pay attention to, to establish, to turn toward, to show hesed toward someone. As God stretches forth the heavens, we live under His sheltering sky. He is our Father. He bends toward His children. When our lives are surrounded by His hesed, we are cared for. He puts His arms around us and listens to us. The doubled verb (to wait) indicates an attitude of patience on behalf of the psalmist. While God has all the time necessary to accomplish His purposes, we tend to expect His purposes to be completed within our temporal frame. The psalmist reminds us that a double portion of waiting is needed if we are to enjoy God’s attention. God is never in a hurry. The state of haste in our lives often runs right past His plans. He pays attention to those who exercise the spiritual discipline of expectant hopefulness since this discipline demonstrates trust in His word.
We all want God to bend toward us. We all want His undivided attention. In fact, we often press Him to respond. We are like those people in an elevator who keep pushing the button when the door doesn’t close fast enough. Yeshua reminds us that our frenzy for answers displays an attitude of anxiety inconsistent with the hesed of the Lord. Seeking the Kingdom is a corollary of rowing with hope.
If we wait patiently for YHWH and row with the expectation of His fatherly attention, then no decision we make can be a mistake. When we row in alignment, we follow His exhibition of trustworthiness. When we row off course, He guides us back with gentle corrections or chastisement. Either way, we can’t miss the final goal. The trick is simply to wait until He turns toward us.
Patience is more than a virtue. It is a necessary component of living the biblical worldview. A man without patience is a man without a word from the Lord. Such a man has accelerated past the next turn in life, moving too fast to see the road signs of warning. Rush hour is a symptom of self-importance. Natah surrounds. Its direction is a circle. Slowing down does not prevent getting to the goal. It just makes the circumnavigation much more pleasant.
Topical Index: natah, incline, pay attention, turn toward, Psalm 40:2