Last week I shared from Psalm 119 (which is arranged in an acrostic style) with a verse that starts with the letter Aleph (א) and this week I’m going to continue with the letter Bet(ב).
Psalm 119:10 With all my heart I have sought Thee; Do not let me wander from Thy commandments
What’s interesting about this first word with all (בכל) is that though it means complete, whole, and an expressive totality, it also means bride, bridal state : espousal. Describing the way in which God is being sought after with wholehearted, passionate love.
The word sought (דרשׁ) is an inseparable pronoun form and has the idea of consulting an oracle, and inquiring of the Lord. Inseparable shows that the author was seeking God Himself. If it had been in a separable form, then he would be seeking something from God.
The word wander “shagah” (שׁגה) means stray, to be hindered, sin or err out of ignorance. The word not (אלל) is also the word for terebinth, an oak tree. Here it expresses the desire to be firmly rooted and grounded in the Lords commandments.
So what does the word commandments really speak of? “Tsavah” (צוה) means, to appoint, decree, commission. All the different usages for this word have a military aspect, as in going forth to war or a service in the military. It is also used for trial, struggle, or affliction.
For me, what this verse is expressing is epitomized by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Since I don’t (yet) know Aramaic I asked Chaim to look up some words for me from Matthew 26:39,42. We discovered that there was indeed a direct correlation between Psalm 119:10 and the verses from Matthew.
In Matthew 26:39 Jesus is speaking Aramaic and literally says “Not as I want, but as You”. The word “want” that is translated into English as “will“, is the Aramaic word צבא and is the equivalent to the Hebrew word for command (צוה) from Ps.119:10 . This Aramaic word צבא gives us an even greater understanding of what Jesus was expressing because not only does it mean: go forth to war, to serve in the temple, warriors, soldiers, and commander in chief, but also purpose, to will, pleasure and choose, denoting “Divine design”.
Matthew 26:42 Jesus literally says: “if it is not possible for this cup to pass over except I drink it, your desire will be done” . The word for desire in Aramaic is again צבא ,which is equivalent to the Hebrew word for command (צוה).
I can’t count all the times I’ve heard someone ask the question “how do I know I’m being led by God?”. Let your heart be your compass, with Jesus as the example. When we yield our hearts to God and seek Him wholeheartedly, His desires become ours. Our steps are in sync with His and we are positioned to receive our “marching orders”. However, If we give ourselves the role of “Commander in Chief” over our lives and simply ask God to bless what we are doing , even if it’s good and Godly, we cannot know for sure that it is His specific design. It’s simply a matter of the will.
Also, Chaim has done a word study on the Hebrew word Kavas “cup” which is equivalent to the Aramaic word for “cup” that Jesus used saying “…if it is not possible for this cup to pass over…”The word “cup” in Hebrew is “kavas,” which has a double meaning, both a cup and a pelican or stork. Here’s an excerp from his study which was previously posted:
“To the ancient world a pelican and a stork were considered the same bird and both were noted for the tender care of their young. They would even care for the young that was not their own. Hence, you have the legend of a stork delivering a baby. There was also the belief that when food was not available for its young, the pelican would feed its young on its own blood. There was also the ancient belief that if one of its young died, the mother pelican would resurrect it with her own blood.”
When Jesus was arrested He said: “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Matt.26:53
We see in this verse that Jesus had a choice, yet because He was a “prisoner of love” His only option was to do the will ( צבא) of His Father. The cross was the only way because love is designed to be sacrificial. Will we love the same way?
Matt. 10:39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Lastly, another meaning for the Hebrew word commandments (צוה) can mean monument or pillar and can have the idea of a sign post. The entire time Chaim and I were discussing these Aramaic words it was raining outside. The moment we finished and left the coffee shop the sun came out and there was a big, beautiful rainbow in the sky. Sure you can say it was just a coincidence, but for me it was a nod from God, a sign post telling me that my study today was His desire (צבא)
P.S. Chaim is going to do a devotional on this idea for “cup”. It’s going to be very interesting, so keep an eye open for it!