WORD STUDY: FAITHFULNES AROUND YOU (DAY 5 IN SILENCE IN THE NORTHWOODS)
Psalms 89:8: “O LORD God of hosts, who [is] a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?”
In my moments of fear
Through every pain every tear
There’s a God who’s been faithful to me
When my strength was all gone
When my heart had no song
Still in love He’s proved faithful to me.
I am now in my fifth day of Silence before God. Pastor Squirrel visits me every day with a new sermon. I tithe a handful of nuts and as he is chewing on his offering as he is preaching me a sermon. Today’s sermon was from Psalm 89:8. As I read the portion “faithfulness round about thee” I noticed Pastor Squirrel look up and around. I saw Rev. Blue Jay flying over head. He visits every do often to preach a very short sermon as he collects his offering of bread crumbs. In another direction I see a Cardinal. He doesn’t stay to visit, sort of stuck up. He is the State Bird of Illinois and is probably upset with me for choosing another State for my time of Silence. I hear the rustling of God’s living creatures in the trees and on the ground around me and I begin to think of this verse which says that God’s faithfulness is round about us.
Some translations say that God’s faithfulness surrounds Him other say that His faithfulness is all around Him. That word surrounds in Hebrew is sebibowteka. That is a mighty long word for the Hebrew. It comes from the root word sabab. In its Semitic root it has the idea of places all around, to be surrounded. It is used for a surrounding border.
I get Pastor Squirrel’s point, we are not just looking at God and seeing that He is surrounded by faithfulness, we who are in Christ are surrounded by His faithfulness. That word for surround is spelled Samek which is a letter speaking of protection. It is like a shelter with a lid on it. It is followed by two Beths. The Beth represents the heart. The sages teach that two Beths show our heart connected with God’s heart. We are sheltered in the heart of God and it is His faithfulness that shelters us.
Pastor Squirrel has finished his sermon and takes off but returns shortly to twitch his nose at me as if to say he is collecting another offering. Will I be faithful in my tithe to Him? Of course I am and then I stop to reflect on what faithfulness really means. Pastor Squirrel came back knowing I would give him more nuts. He trusted my faithfulness. It was as if he did not even question whether I had more nuts or not. He just took it for granted that if he twitched his nose I would toss him a nut.
We know God is faithful, but are we like Pastor Squirrel who never questions my faithfulness, he just knows a twitch of the nose will bring a nut. Do we really believe a simply prayer will bring God’s help? The word faithfulness in Hebrew is ‘emunah from the root word ‘amen. Amen is a steadfastness, firmness. When we end a prayer with Amen, we are declaring that we are certain there is a God who has heard us and nothing will move us away from that belief. It means we are certain there is going to be an answer.
God surrounds us with His Amen, his certainty, his firmness and steadfastness. Nothing will penetrate that wall of protection that He surrounds us with. Here in the Northwoods I see how God has balanced His creation, I am surrounded by evidence of His faithfulness.
Suddenly, everything in the woods comes alive with chirping, chatting, and croaking as if all are singing a chorus of Great is Thy Faithfulness. I join in for I am “one with all nature in manifold witness of His great faithfulness.”