We live in a world that is full of hardship and trials. If you are not now facing a trial that will require courage on your part, chances are good that you soon will be. How can you prepare for these obstacles and are there any answers to be found in the Scriptures that will help you to overcome them?
Psalm 27 was written by David who as a young man was on the way to becoming King of Israel. He recounts for us in this psalm that he was besieged by enemies who slandered him and sought to see him put to death.
Instead of languishing in despair, David displays an inner confidence in his God. In Verse 1 he begins with this:
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
But just how did David come to this point of resolute trust and confidence in the LORD? What advice can he relay to us that would help us to display that same faith in the LORD? David concludes Psalm 27 with verse 14 where he gives a prescription for us to follow:
"Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:
wait, I say, on the LORD."
There are two key Hebrew words in this council by David for us that we need to understand. The first, which is translated wait, is the word Kavvah. The root word for Kavvah is also found in the Hebrew word for hope, so Kavvah can mean to look for with anticipation or to hope.
The first part of David’s advice shows us that to wait on the LORD is to place your hope or Kavvah in the LORD. Remember, the ancient Hebrew letters are pictograms that are content driven. There is information in the pictures. What can these pictograms reveal that will help us gain a deeper understanding of this act of faith? Kavvah is spelled Qoof Vav Hey.
Qoof is the picture of the back of the head and means behind, the least, or the last.
Vav is the picture of the wooden hook or the metal nail and means to fasten two things together that are separated from one another.
Hey is the picture of the man with outstretched hands to the heavens and means to behold, to reveal, or to pay attention to what follows.
Here we can see that:
"Those in need, the least, will be connected to the LORD as they
lift their arms to Him and behold Him."
David reminds us, as he continues verse 14, that we must be resolute in this; we must be of good courage. Don’t quit too soon, and don’t give up. The English words good courage come from the Hebrew word Chazak which means to bind fast, to make firm or strong, to support, or to display strength. Chazak is spelled Chet Zayin Qoof.
Chet is the picture of the fence and means private, separated, and protected like a sanctuary or an inner room.
Zayin s the picture of the pruning tool and means to cut, pierce, or harvest.
Qoof, as we just saw, means behind, the least, or the last.
What can the information imbedded in the ancient pictograms detail for us? Chazak contains this idea:
"The person that is feeling weak, that is behind or last will be cut off
or separated from that and surrounded and fenced into a place
that is a sanctuary, a place of protection."
Each of these Hebrew letters are also numbers. Based upon the ways those numbers are used throughout the scriptures they also contain information that we can use.
Chet which is the number 8 stands for a new beginning.
Zayin which is the number 7 stands for spiritual perfection.
Qoof which is the number 100 means election or the children of promise.
Now you can see that this person of good courage is going to experience a new beginning that is part of God’s plan of spiritual perfection that is ultimately only offered to the children of promise.
In this passage David demonstrates the principle that when we place our anticipation or hope in the LORD, Kavvah, and we continue resolutely, Chazak, He will come alongside and strengthen our hearts. Amazingly, the LORD will produce courage in your heart in response to your unwavering hope in Him.
It is no accident that Psalm 27 is one of the favorites in the public religious readings of the Jews. Ashkenazic Jews, those primarily from the dispersion in eastern Europe, recite it morning and evening for fifty days during their fall feast cycle every year.
Is it an accident that these Jews read Psalm 27 one hundred times each year? I think not even if the significance is lost on them. Interestingly, the 100 readings are a reminder that these Jews are God’s elect.
As well, it is customary for the congregation in each synagogue at the end of the reading of the last verse in each book to stand and recite together Chazak, Chazak, ve-nit Chazak. This means:
"Be strong, be strong, and be strengthened."
Why do you suppose that this has become their custom?
Perhaps it’s because the LORD doesn’t always respond as soon as we might wish, but the message here is to not give up. Why is that?
Because as David states: those who wait and continue to hope in the LORD of all creation will have their hearts filled with courage by Him.