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Hebrew – Love


’āhaḇ
The most often-used Hebrew word for love in the OT is ’āhaḇ (H157), which speaks generally of desire, affection, or inclination, “a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to possess or to be in the presence of the object.” ’āhaḇ has an extremely wide range of meanings, so wide, in fact, that its some 250 occurrences cover just about everything from “God’s infinite affection for his people to the carnal appetites of a lazy glutton.”
Unlike the Greek words philos (G5384, “esteem, tender affection”) and agapē (G26, “selfless, sacrificial love”), which differentiate kinds of love, Hebrew does not do this quite as clearly. While other words do show somewhat differing ideas—dôḏ (H1730), for example, speaks strongly of sexual affection (Pro_7:18; Son_1:2; Son_1:4; Son_7:12)—for the most part Hebrew words for love are general.
Like the word faith, therefore, the real crux of love (’āhaḇ) lies in its object. A man can love “pleasure” and “wine,” for example, but these will bring him to poverty (Pro_21:17). Likewise, it can refer to sexual lust, as Absalom had for his sister Tamar (2Sa_13:1). The prophets spoke of the wrong object of love when God’s people committed spiritual adultery with pagan gods (Jer_22:20; Jer_22:22; Eze_16:36; Eze_23:5; Hos_2:5-13).
On the positive side, examples of good love and affection include: a father for his son, such as Abraham had for Isaac (Gen_22:2); a husband for his wife, such as Elkanah’s love for Hannah (1Sa_1:5); and one friend for another, as was true of David and Jonathan (1Sa_20:17). Certainly one of the greatest objects of love in our lives should be wisdom: “Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee” (Pro_4:6). Another is truth coupled with peace (Zec_8:19).
Still another, and most notably, is God’s Word. ’Āhaḇ appears no less than twelve times in Psalms 119 to demonstrate the psalmist’s love for the Word (Psa_119:140). It was his “meditation all the day” (Psa_119:97) because he loved its commandments (Psa_119:47-48; Psa_119:127), law (Psa_119:97; Psa_119:113; Psa_119:163; Psa_119:165), testimonies (Psa_119:119; Psa_119:167), and precepts (Psa_119:159). We should also interject that He loved God’s name (Psa_119:132).
This should encourage us to be conscious of the objects of our love.
Scriptures for Study: What are the objects of love (positive or negative) in the following verses: Psa_4:2; Psa_11:5; Psa_26:8; Psa_40:16; Pro_22:11?

 

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HEBREW WORD – Name (2)


 

January 4

 

 

Name (2)

 

šēm

 

The word name (šēm, H8034) raises a couple of questions. “Why does God give Himself a name?” and then, further, “Why does God give Himself several names?” As for the first question, a name is important because it is personal and enables God (and us) to make contact. Without names, most all communication would be practically impossible.

 

That second question, however, takes us far deeper. Why is God called by many names? Why isn’t just one, such as God (’Elōhiym, January 7), good enough? We would submit that God’s giving Himself multiple names serves three purposes, purposes that simply could not be served by any one name:

 

First, God’s multiple names more fully reveal His person. No single name of God could come even close to expressing His full nature, character, and work. That is a major limitation of language. As we will see, each name reveals something new, something unique, something deeper that we have not seen before.

 

Second, God’s multiple names more fully demonstrate His presence. How often do we really stop and think about the implications of the truth that God is with us? 2Sa_5:10, for example, declares that “David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him,” and as Luke recounts, when Joseph was “sold . . . into Egypt . . . God was with him” (Act_7:9). Without exception, every name of God speaks of His presence with us and the staggering implications of that fact.

 

Third, God’s multiple names more fully address His people. Anthropomorphism is the ascribing of human characteristics to nonhuman things. Many of us do this with our pets. God has done this very thing, though infinitely deeper. He speaks (Gen_1:3), hears (Exo_16:12), and sees (Gen_1:4). Scripture uses figures of speech when indicating He has a face (Num_6:25), a back (Exo_33:23), arms (Exo_6:6; Isa_53:1), and hands (Isa_14:27). Why does He do this? It is for our benefit, so we, in our limited human understanding, can grasp a little more of who He is and how He reaches down to us. Again, every one of His names underscores His relationship with His people, and no single name could possibly suffice.

 

Oh, let us rejoice in how God reveals Himself through His multiple names! Without this, we could never even hope to know Him.

 

Scriptures for Study: What do verses such as Psa_34:3; Psa_69:30, and 1Ti_6:1 encourage us to do concerning God’s name (and names by implication)?

 

 

 

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Hebrew Word – Psalm


 

Psalm

 

mizmôr

 

In light of yesterday’s meditation on song (šiyr, H7892), another blessed OT word concerning music is psalm. The Hebrew is mizmôr (H4210), which appears fifty-nine times in the OT, only in the Psalms, and always in the title (e.g., 3–6; 8–9; 11–15; 18–41). It is derived from the verb zamar, “to make music primarily on stringed instruments,” and oh, what music we find in the Psalms! We discover in the Psalms the very depths of theology and spiritual truth. Mizmôr, then, is a praise song accompanied by a stringed musical instrument (as David sang a psalm while playing his lyre). This is all the more significant since in fifty psalms the words “To the chief Musician” also appear.

 

It is instructive to compare mizmôr with šiyr. While mizmôr appears only in the Psalms and only in a title, šiyr “is not confined to the Psalter and within the Psalter itself is used both as a title and in the psalm proper.” Perhaps even more significantly, while šiyr can also refer to a secular song (e.g., Isa_23:16), mizmôr always refers to a religious song, which we could define as “a sacred, inspired poem of praise.” It is also significant that both words occur together in Psa_30:1; Psa_65:1 (literally, “A Psalm-Song”), emphasizing both the voices (šiyr) and the accompanying musical instruments (mizmôr).

 

Music is truly a wonderful gift. For millennia, music has fascinated and captivated mankind, who have invented an enormous number of instruments, from the complex to the simple. Far more important, however, are “songs,” because they are composed of words.

 

We would do well to remind ourselves that the book of Psalms (Sēper Tehillim, “Book of Praises”) was the hymnbook of Israel, a book of sacred, sound, and solemn poems of theological depth. Oh, that we would desire such depth in our churches! Let us abandon the trite and trivial and embrace what is true and tasteful.

 

Scriptures for Study: Read Psalms 30, meditating on both ideas of psalm and song.

 

 

 

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Hebrew Words


 

River

 

nāhār

 

A river invokes images among the most serene in nature. Humans are irresistibly drawn to rivers, a source of refreshment and even life itself.

 

The Hebrew nāhār (H5104), which is found in several Semitic languages, appears about 120 times in the OT. The first is when “a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Gen_2:10). Think of it! Flowing through the perfection of Eden was a river, undoubtedly a quite large one, for it fed four others. That river probably made the “Mighty Mississippi” look like a creek.

 

Several other great rivers are mentioned in Scripture, including the Euphrates (Gen_15:18; Gen_31:21), the Nile (Gen_15:18, “river of Egypt”), and the Tigris (Dan_10:4, “Hiddekel”). Nāhār also refers to ocean currents, as Jonah was tossed about by the “floods . . . billows . . . and . . . waves” (Jon_2:3).

 

At least one major reason rivers were so significant in Jewish thinking was because there were so few of them in their territory. Unlike the rich, fertile lands of Egypt and Mesopotamia, which existed solely because of their rivers, Israel was “a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: A land which the LORD thy God careth for” (Deu_11:11-12).

 

Psalms 46 is a case in point. Why is God “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psa_46:1)? Because in the midst of raging, cataclysmic chaos (Psa_46:2-3), “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” (Psa_46:4). While Jerusalem, of course, has no river (cf. October 22), God Himself is the river and brings it many blessings. This verse looks forward to the millennial Jerusalem and was obviously in John’s mind as he penned the book of Revelation (Psa_22:1-2; cf. Zec_14:8-11).

 

We defer to Spurgeon in closing today: “Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilizing, full, and never-failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. . . . It is no boisterous ocean, but a placid stream, it is not stayed in its course by earthquakes or crumbling mountains, it follows its serene course without disturbance. Happy are they who know from their own experience that there is such a river of God.”

 

Scriptures for Study: Psalms 46 (January 14) is one of thanksgiving and trust. Read it through prayerfully, noting that God is our refuge (Psa_46:1-3), our resources (Psa_46:4-7), and our ruler (Psa_46:8-11).

 

 

 

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Revival


To many contemporary preachers and pastors, the word revival is anathama. Their mis-understanding of the word has caused them to revile the practice of old time Landmark Missionary Baptists and dis-continue the practice of having revivals. Bro. W.A. Dillard has nobly and exquisitely considered the the scriptures relating to, and the meaning of the word “revive.”

There is a true need for revival in this nation. It will come by prayer, passionate preaching, and repentance. The following is the article written so ably by Brother W.A. Dillard.

 

THINKING OF REVIVAL

Psalm 85:6: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
Isaiah 57:15: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
Hosea 14:7: “They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.”
Habakkuk 3:2: “O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

Please notice and ponder the word “revive” as it appears in the context of the several verses above. The English word “revive” is a composite of “re” plus “vive” literally meaning “again to live.” It does not convey a loss of life then acquiring it all over again, but the stirring of that which one already possesses to produce such joy, peace, and appreciation of it as to make it the number one priority of one’s days.
The one Hebrew word translated “revive” in each of the verses above is “Chayah.” It means to possess life in all its awareness and attendant activities; to know life in zeal, and a high level of awareness, especially in spiritual things. This is the same root word that God used in the Hebrew language to reveal his name to Moses which is translated “I am.” Exo. 3:14. He is the source of life; and where there is life, there is activity.
The churches of the Lord Jesus Christ stand in need of a revival of proper activity! They do not need a revival of socialism or of bigger, more comfortable facilities, but a revival of joy, hope, and peace that flows from the Holy Word. I do not mean an acquiescence to the Word, rather a personal acquaintance with it, and agreement with its contents. From this flows all things right and holy in human life; hence, in the churches.
So, what shall we say of “revival” meetings? They are not just an intensification of formal worship services, but a dedication of life to the will of God, and to the working of the Holy Spirit within. That dedication is absolutely individual. It does not come from the will or decisions of the pastor; nor of the will or the majority vote of the congregation. It must be within the heart of each of us. It is true repentance toward God, and from the indifference of a backslidden condition. It is to allow ourselves to be enveloped without reservation in the teachings and work God has given to us that will produce the type of person He wants here on earth now as well as to rule with Him in the age that is about to happen. God, please give us unreserved submission to you that we may indeed know revival!!!

 

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