WORD STUDY – YOUR MIGHT – מאדכ
Deuteronomy 6:5: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
“Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” Robert Browning
I was listening to a talk radio show this afternoon and the host was a journalist who was a born again, evangelical Christian who made no apology for his Christian faith. He continually quoted Scripture to support many of his views. Deuteronomy 6:5 was one such verse he quoted to express his belief that we cannot negotiate with ISIS and that we must use deadly force against them. To support this view he said that even Scripture commands us to love the Lord God with all our hearts, soul and might. He explained that clearly the Bible is saying that we must us might, strength and deadly force against evil as this this is our command if we are to love God.
It is not this old boy’s politics I am questioning but his interpretation of this Scripture. It is called proof texting. That is taking a position and finding a verse to fit your position. I mean the guy is after all a journalist and not skilled in Biblical languages. But to make such a bold statement over national radio, the least he could have done was consult a commentary. But, of course, like I said, he is a journalist and even Jesus had to deal with journalist. I mean look at Mark 2:4, some young men were trying to bring a paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed and what happens they run into the media. I mean really they had reporters there from the Jerusalem Tribune, the Bethlehem Press, The Samarian Bugle all trying to get to Jesus. Seriously, read it in Mark 2:4 in your KJV “And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press…” There it is, right there in your King James Bible, the press, the media keeping these poor men from getting their friend to Jesus to be healed. Even back then the media was getting in the way.
Oh, this being Christmas and all, if you want Biblical proof of Santa Claus, well I have that for you as well. Look up Zechariah 2:6 in you KJV “Ho, ho, [come forth], and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD:” Yes, and Merry Christmas to you too. I know, I may sound like I am taking pot shots at the KJV but the truth is, I am. The KJV has led me to some very embarrassing moments. Like the time I lost complete control of a Junior High Sunday school class when I had them read out loud the ten commandments from the KJV in Exodus 20. It was going very well until we hit verse 17 and the ninth commandment. I will let you look it up read it but I suspect you know what it says in the KJV. I am still embarrassed over that oversight.
Ok, we have all poked fun at the KJV and its archaic language. There are those who still hold to the KJV as the only trust worthy translation, even though the NIV is now the best selling version of the Bible. As a teacher of Biblical languages, I have had people throw Revelation 22:19 at me “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.” As well as Matthew 5:18: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” I am told I am messing around with the Word of God, I am changing the Word of God by researching the Biblical languages. Ok, next time you teach teenagers the ten commandments from the KJV.
The general teaching of the conservative evangelicals is that the Word of God is inspired as to the original documents. The problem we run in to is that the original inspired documents have been lost. As the originals were passed around and rewritten by scribes, many scribes felt it was their duty to add a few extra words and/or delete certain words that they personally did not like. That is why since the translation of the KJV we have discovered many more manuscripts that predate the manuscripts used by the translators of the KJV and these earlier manuscripts and discoveries sometimes did not include things found in later manuscripts. Logically the earlier the manuscript, the more true it would be to the original documents as it did not pass through as many scribes who would add or delete.
Still I don’t doubt that the KJV is a reliable translation, I use it all the time myself. But one must be aware of the fact that the English language has gone through some changes over the last four hundred years. I have a Life Magazine from 1950 which had a lead article entitled: “The Gay Secretary of State.” Harriman was not gay as we understand that word today. It just meant he liked to party. So we do need to be careful with many words, such as this word in Deuteronomy 6:5, might.
Does it mean that if we love God we will use might or force against evil? Does it mean what we commonly think is that we must love God with great effort? The word might in Hebrew is simply the word mo’ed which often used as an adverb to intensify and modify a verb. The most common rendering for mo’ed is very. He is very (mo’ed) strong. When used as a noun as it is in Deuteronomy you can say strength or might as that is showing intensity. However, that can be misleading from the root meaning of the word mo’ed. Mo’ed has little to do with strength. It comes from an old Akkadian word mo’odu which means to increase to be in abundance. As it passed into the Hebrew it kept that meaning as well as carrying the idea of maturing and growing. This maturity could be in stature, strength, or even position. Thus, the idea of loving God with all your mo’ed is that you increase in the love for God in your heart and soul.
In other words, you are not only to love God with all you heart and soul but you are to let that love grow to maturity in your heart and soul. I have seen elderly couples who say they are more in love than the day they got married. They have grown to love each other so much that it is not uncommon that if one passes away, the other would pass away very shortly. I found that with my own parents. I believe one can truly die of a broken heart.
I have seen many new Christians who were so on fire with God. They loved Him so much, then after a year, they were back to their old ways hardly giving God a thought. I consider myself fortunate to have found God as a child and now as the years have gone by, my love for Him only grows deeper, richer fuller and if God were to ever leave me (which I know He will not) I am certain I would die of a broken heart in a matter of months, if not weeks.
I don’t condemn this radio host for his use of Deuteronomy 6:5, I am only saying that to not really search out the word might, he missed a wonderful and beautiful message, and that is we must let our love for God grow and mature so that the older we get in Him the deeper our love will grow. In the words of Robert Browning: “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”