WORD STUDY – GOD MEANT IT FOR GOO

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Genesis 50:20  “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

In Ta’anit 21a of the Talmud there is the story of a sage named Nachum.  I could not tell from translating if his hands and feet were paralyzed or had been amputated.  Needless to say he could not use his hands or his feet, so he could not work.   He was covered with boils and was blind.  Being bedridden his bed  had to have trays or pans of water  placed under them so the ants would not crawl over him since he had no use of his hands or arms to chase them away.   When he was asked why such a righteous man like he should suffer so much, he would reply: “Gam zu letovah” (everything is for good).    He became known in Jewish history as the Gam Zu Man.  Although the Talmud is written in Aramaic the phrase is given in Hebrew.  I was a little unsure if the Hebrew expression gam zu was one word (it is a kindness) or two words gam zu  (everything is), it could mean it is a kindness for good, but traditionally it  is rendered as,  everything is for good or it is bringing me in harmony with God.  Still it is possible it could be rendered as, it is a kindness to bring me into harmony with God.

Hebrew, during this time was a language spoken only by scholars, the general Jewish population spoke Aramaic and hence one of Nachum’s disciples  Rabbi Akiba spoke the Aramaic version of this declaration,  Kol man d’avid Rachmana l’tav  which means, all that the Merciful One does, He does for good or to bring man into harmony with Him. What God does is bound in Genesis 50:20, He chasav (weaves) all the tragic events in our lives.

The Talmud teaches that in Genesis 39:3 when Potiphar saw that God was with Joseph, what is it really saying in the Hebrew is that Potiphar saw that the name of God was one Joseph’s lips.  In other words, everything Joseph did he did as unto God. He was in a constant state of prayer and every act he performed was a prayer to God.   Joseph had a little twist to Nachum’s declaration gam zu letovah (everything is for good) and what he said was cheshavah letovah, (God) meant it for good or God meant it to bring me into harmony with Him.  The word cheshavah, however, has a deeper meaning than just meant, cheshavah  comes from the root word chasav which is a word for weaving.  In other words it is not so much God bringing about the tragic events that Joseph went through,  but that He was using these events to bring Joseph into harmony with Him.  Joseph did not blame God that he was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accuse of rape and thrown into prison, but he kept the name of God on his lips, everything was a prayer to Joseph and God took these tragic events and weaved them into a beautiful tapestry.

In Jeremiah 42:11 we read Jeremiah encouraging the Jewish people to not fear the king of Babylon because  God is with you.  The words with you is etekem (et – with, ekem – you).  The word for with is et which is spelled  Aleph Taw.  The Aleph is the beginning of the Hebrew alphabet and the Taw is the final letter of the Alphabet.  In other words when God says that I am with you  He is saying that He is with us from the beginning to the end.  He is taking every event in our lives and carefully weaving it into something beautiful.  Just as the impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh took all his pain and torment and transformed into color and then made something exquisitely beautiful out it, so too, God will take all our pain, suffering and heartbreak, something that the enemy meant to use to destroy us and God will just weave it into something extraordinarily beautiful.