â€œI have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.â€ (Genesis 49:18)
This heartfelt cry of the dying patriarch, Israel, expressed his lifelong, but still unfulfilled, yearning for the coming of Godâ€™s promised Savior. This is the first occurrence in the Bible of the word â€œsalvationâ€ (essentially the same in the Hebrew as â€œJesusâ€). It is also the first occurrence of â€œwaited for,â€ meaning, essentially, â€œlooked for,â€ or â€œwaited patiently and expectantly for.â€ This attitude of Jacob (Israel) has been shared by the people of God down even to the present day.
Significantly, the first occurrence of the equivalent Greek word in the New Testament expresses the same concern on the part of no less a man than John the Baptist when he inquired expectantly of Jesus: â€œArt thou he that should come, or do we look for another?â€ (Matthew 11:3).
Even though He has indeed come, bringing salvation, we still must wait patiently for the complete fulfillment of His promises when He comes again. It was the prayer of Paul that the Lord would â€œdirect your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christâ€ (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
It is not only believers who are â€œwaiting for . . . the redemption of our body.â€ Because of sin, â€œthe whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until nowâ€ and â€œthe earnest expectation of the [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God,â€ when it â€œshall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of Godâ€ (Romans 8:23, 22, 19, 21).
Finally, it is significant that the last reference in the Bible to waiting for something once again deals with the same promise. â€œKeep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal lifeâ€ (Jude 21).
It may seem long, but the promise is sure: â€œUnto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvationâ€ (Hebrews 9:28). HMM