WORD STUDY –TRUTH
Isaiah 39:8: “Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.”
If you want to light my boiler fire, like many people, I have certain buttons you can push. For instance is I am struggling to make an important decision, don’t ever say to me: “Well, what is God telling you to do?” My boiler fire will not be lit, it will be a blaze. I mean if I knew what God wanted me to do I would do it. In fact the whole problem is that I am not certain what God wants me to do.
One other thing that gets my boiler fire lit is when I am discussing a passage of Scripture with someone who disagrees with me. I mean I am cool with that. I have a proven record of being wrong on occasions so I am open to hear a person out. But when that person stands up, points his finger at some passage of Scripture and demands: “How can you not see this, why this is truth, you just will not accept truth.”
My first thought, as would most likely be yours, is: “How do you know it is truth? How can you be so sure?” Yet, the Bible talks about truth as if truth does exist. Hezekiah just found out that he will dodge the bullet and trouble will not come in his lifetime. Although, to digress I believe that last phrase “For there shall be peace and truth in my days” is really a conditional phrase and would be more correctly rendered: “If there shall be peace and truth in my days.” Either way, my concern here is that Hezekiah not only wanted peace, but truth as well.
Peace I can understand, we all want to live our days out in peace. But why is truth so important, what truth is he seeking? Some translations will render this word as security. Some commentators explain that he meant truth of doctrine and worship. I fail to see why truth of doctrine and worship was so important to Hezekiah. Security makes more sense but how do we get security from the word truth? Our English word truth according to Webster means conformity with fact or reality. A verified or indisputable fact, proposition or principle, actuality or actual existence.
I really fail to see how our definition of truth fits this context. When a person declares to me that he has the truth and I am not accepting the truth he is declaring that there is only one correct way to look at something and if you don’t see it that way you have not entered truth. I tend to think the Bible has a different connotation as to what truth is. In fact the Hebrew and Aramaic have different words which are rendered in English as truth.
For instance in John 4:24 Jesus said; “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” The word truth in Aramaic here is sharira which is genuineness, authentic and sincere. So we worship God in sincerity and authentically. In other words no phony yippees or whoopee’s. That’s another button to light my boiler fire is when someone feels they must shout whoopee to show they really have the Spirit but you can easily tell it is phony.
In Isaiah Hezekiah the truth he is talking about is ‘emith in the Hebrew. The word ‘emith -means faithfulness and stability. So the modern English translations which use the English word security rather than truth are relating to the word ‘emith much more accurately. There will be peace and stability as well as faithfulness from God and the assurance that when God makes a promise He will keep that promise.
You know we spend so much time arguing and fighting over who has the truth and churches split because people they feel they have the truth and of course having the truth is important. Yet, that is not what the Bible is saying when it commands us to seek truth. The Biblical idea of truth doesn’t fit our English word truth. Better we use the words faithfulness, stability, security, authenticity and sincerity before God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ and ministered by the Holy Spirit.
I am not saying doctrines and teachings are not important, I am just saying this is not what the Hebrew and Aramaic words for truth are talking about.