“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew[their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Now this is a very famous scripture, and we commonly know it as if we wait on the Lord, he will renew our strength. Yes He will, and the verse still indicates that, but actually much more than that! Why don’t we look more closely at a few words…

Now the first word we will look at is “wait.”

Strong’s Concordance 6960 קָוָה qavah

qavah: wait

Original Word: קָוָה
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: qavah
Phonetic Spelling: (kaw-vaw’)
Short Definition: wait

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

gather together, look, patiently, tarry, wait for, on, upon
A primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. Collect; (figuratively) to expect — gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).

So while it simply means to wait, as you can see, Strong’s adds to the meaning by adding words such as patience, looking, collecting, to expect… and what’s this “binding together, perhaps by twisting” mean? When people made rope, they would bind cords together and twist them, such as a three stranded rope. It would take some time I’d say. That is only my guess of that meaning, that it would be something like that. But basically what we can say, is that the term waiting means to wait expecting for the thing you’re waiting for to come, and being patient about it!

OK…next word: “renew.”

Strong’s Concordance 2498  חָלַף chalaph
chalaph: to pass on or away, pass through

Original Wordחָלַף
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: chalaph
Phonetic Spelling: (khaw-laf’)
Short Definition: changed

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin – a prim. root
Definition – to pass on or away, pass through

NASB Translation
change (2), changed (5), gain new (2), go (1), move past (1), over (1), passed (1), passes (1), pierce (1), pierced (1), renewed (1), replace (2), slip (1), sprout (1), sprouts anew (2), sweep (2), sweep through (1), vanish (1), violated (1).

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

abolish, alter, change, cut off, go on forward, grow up, be over, pass away,
A primitive root; properly, to slide by, i.e. (by implication) to hasten away, pass on, spring up, pierce or change — abolish, alter, change, cut off, go on forward, grow up, be over, pass (away, on, through), renew, sprout, strike through.

HANG ON a minute! Let’s look at what the dictionary says “renew” means…

  1.   to make or become new, fresh, or strong again – We renewed our friendship.

  2.   to make, do, or begin again – We renewed our efforts.

  3.   to put in a fresh supply of – Renew the water in the tank.

  4.   to continue in force for a new period – We renewed our lease.

So this Hebrew word Chalaph actually means “change.” In a way that is renew, but as you can see the english word does not do this justice at all.

The NAS exhaustive concordance even says “to pass on or away, pass through.” What?  Then Strong’s exhaustive concordance says “abolish, alter, change, cut off, go on forward…” etc, you can read it there. When I read the word renew, I don’t think of complete change. I think of renew as in “we will renew our lease,” to continue something.

So I thought this translation was very eye opening…now look at the next word!

“Strength.”

Strong’s Concordance 3581 כֹּ֫חַ Koach

koach: ability

Original Wordכֹּ֫חַ
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: koach
Phonetic Spelling: (ko’-akh)
Short Definition: ability

Brown-Driver-Briggs

I. כֹּחַ  noun [masculine] a small reptile, probably a kind of lizard, in list of unclean creeping things Leviticus 11:30ᵐ5 ᵑ9 AV chameleon; on various opinions see Di.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

ability, able, chameleon, force, fruits, might, powerful, strength,
Or (Dan. 11:6) kowach {ko’-akh}; from an unused root meaning to be firm; vigor, literally (force, in a good or a bad sense) or figuratively (capacity, means, produce); also (from its hardiness) a large lizard — ability, able, chameleon, force, fruits, might, power(-ful), strength, substance, wealth.

OK…strength is ability. I wasn’t really expecting the word “ability,” to be honest. But that’s what the hebrew says it means. And it does mean strength, as the Strong’s exhaustive concordance says, it uses the words might, powerful, force, vigor. But it also means ability, but also substance and wealth, fruits, capacity. Isn’t it good looking up these words and finding out what the original language actually meant?
But now, did you notice where it says Chameleon? A kind of lizard? Not just in the “Brown-Driver Briggs” section, but also in the Strong’s.
What is a Chameleon best know for? For its ability to change colour! Notice those words…ABILITY TO CHANGE
So let’s put this together:
Wait means wait for someone/thing expectantly, being patient for.
Renew means change
Strength means ability. And it likens it to a Chameleon that has the ability to change colour…
Thus, when we wait expectantly on the Lord, being patient in our waiting, He CHANGES us and gives us the ABILITY to actually change, just as God has given the Chameleon the ability to change it’s colours! And no, not in our own strength, it’s the ability that comes from waiting on Him alone. Then we will mount up on wings of eagles and run and not be weary, walk and not faint!
Ever heard of the saying, “now we have seen his true colours?” It usually refers to someone who has been found out to be a bad person, “now we know his true colours, what he’s really like!” Well, that may have once been the case, but as you wait upon the Lord, God can change your colours and make them His colours!
We are not the same as we wait for God in prayer and behold Him! He changes us, gives us ability to change, and also gives us new abilities- new gifts. I remember waiting on God years ago, and I felt to ask for a word of knowledge. When I did, He touched me on my right knee, and someone in church the next Sunday had a problem with their right knee! Ever since, He has done that quite a number of times, and touched me on certain parts of the body, even without me asking for it, showing me there is someone with that issue He wants me to pray for.
Can you imagine what else He can do in our lives if we would simply have the patience to wait on Him? He will change us, strengthen us and give us abilities He desires for us to do His will.
In my next study, on 2 Cor 3:18, it’s all about beholding Him, and allowing Him to transform us into His image! This is just going to get better!
Hope you got something out of this today, and God bless…