My Lent Words 18: A Place of Rest

The same word manoah, and another closely related word can mean both ‘rest’ or ‘home’. The two ideas are often closely related as in:

‘May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.’ (Ruth 1:9] ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?’’ (Isaiah 66:1)

God wants to be ‘at home’ with us and, since the intimacy Jesus won back for us, we can be ‘at home’ with him.

My Lent Words 17: Still ….

The concepts of resting and quietness are a part of waiting. When, as I am frequently, I am restless, fidgety, noisy or impatient I’m not waiting properly.

‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’ (Isaiah 30:15)

Modern writers have been taught that unless repetition makes a literary point it is best to find synonyms rather than repeat a word. This can lead to imprecise translation. There are many Hebrew words conveying the idea of silence, inaction or rest and many occasions when God encourages his people thus.

The Hebrew word hares means ‘awed silence’ as in the following:

‘The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.’ (Exodus 14:14)

The Hebrew word saqat means ‘remain quiet’:

‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’ (Isaiah 30:15)

These two passages convey the same sense – sometimes you must leave everything to God. Nothing else is required. Just leave it to God.

My Lent Words 16: Still waiting for Jesus

Try to get the feel of qawa or haka in the following verses from the King James Version:

‘And I will wait (haka) upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look (qawa) for him. (Isaiah 8:17)

‘And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited (qawa) for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited (qawa) for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’ (Isaiah 25:9)

‘And therefore will the LORD wait (qawa), that he may be gracious unto you,’ (Isaiah 30:18)

‘O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited (qawa) for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.’ (Isaiah 33:2)

‘Thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait (qawa) for me.’ (Isaiah 49:23)

‘Surely the isles shall wait (qawa) with for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far,’ (Isaiah 60:9)

‘Trust’, ‘hope’ and ‘expect’ can be substituted to get a different feel..

My Lent Words 15: Waiting for Jesus

Hope, wait, trust and patient resting have a huge overlap in Hebrew. We sing, ‘I’m trusting in the cross.’ How about ‘I’m waiting in the cross’. To ‘wait’ is one of the most common commands in the Old Testament. There are two Hebrew words meaning the same thing, qawa and haka. They both mean rest, trust, wait or hope.

‘…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.’ (Isaiah 40:31a)

Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.’ (Isaiah 5:2b, also in vv4 and 7)

There are huge swathes of time in Israel’s and Christian history when the only thing worth doing is waiting. Waiting for Jesus is not like waiting for a bus.

My Lent Words 14: The fragility of the flesh

The Hebrew word basar normally means flesh, soft tissue or meat.

‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;’ (Genesis 2:23)

‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread.’ (Exodus 11:12)

The meat provided to the wandering Israelites went off if kept too long. Often in Psalms or Isaiah the word basar is translated as ‘men’ or ‘mankind’ and something seems to be lost in translation:

‘…the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out.’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry? All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.’ (Isaiah 40:5,6)

This makes the following verse from the New Testament remarkable:

‘The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…’ (John 1:14a)

Jesus became flesh, meat, like Adam, Eve and us, mortal and capable of perishing.

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