Tag: Thoughts

image_pdfimage_print

WORD STUDY – KNOWING GOD’S THOUGHTS

Psalms 139:17 “How precious also are your thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them.”

 

Today I was researching my book A Hebrew Teachers Explores God’s Heart in the Marriage Relationship.Listening to a story of a relationship where one’s love was betrayed, I could not help but think that no matter how close we may be to someone, a parent or a spouse, we can never really know for certain what their thoughts really are. Divorce courts are full of people who wish they could have known the real thoughts of their spouses or ex-spouses.

 

Yet, here we have David speaking of God and saying: how precious also are your thoughts unto me. Did David really know the thoughts of God? Can we really be certain of God’s thoughts for us? Is it possible we can know the thoughts of God when we cannot even be certain of the thoughts of someone that is very close to us? Perhaps this word in the Hebrew rendered as thoughts suggest something else, maybe something even more profound? The word for thoughts that is used here in the Hebrew is a strange word to be used in this context. It is the wordra’ah. This ra’ah is spelled Resh Ayin Hei. There is another ra’ah which means to see which is spelled Resh Aleph Hei. That ra’ah would make more sense than this ra’ah. At least I can stretch that ra’ah with the Aleph to suggest that thoughts are seeing of the mind or something like that.  But this ra’ah is a common word for evil.Obviously David was not referring to an evil nature of God that was precious to him. This word ra’ah is rendered as an evil in the sense that you have a consuming passion for something that causes you to forget everything else such as family, friends, job etc.  In the application to God in this passage what David is saying is that he is the object of God’s all consuming passion. I don’t see much evil in that.

 

You know I learned from my research today that if you really love someone and share your heart with them, they do not need to read your thoughts, you will tell them your thoughts.  If God has a consuming passion for us then we do not need to read the thoughts of God, He will share them with us, if we listen close enough and listen with your heart.

 

If we are a consuming passion for God it stands to reason that He not only shares his thoughts with us but Hewants to share His thoughts with us, He longs to let us know what is in His heart and to keep us out of trouble. The only thing blocking us from hearing His thoughts is that He has given us a free will. God delivered Israel from the Egyptians, He provided for them, parted the Red Sea for them and just a few days later when their water ran out they began to complain talking like God did not care. We say this murmuring made God angry, yet if we really look at from the standpoint of this consuming passion, I would say they broke God’s heart. Once you trust someone enough to share your heart and that person betrays your trust, you are not too anxious to share your thoughts with that person again.

 

David is saying that this consuming passion of God is precious him. The word in Hebrew for precious is yakar which means priceless. There is an old saying: “Every man has his price.” If you had your choice of winning a billion dollar lottery and becoming a billionaire or being the object of God’s consuming passion, which would you take? I am sure for a Christian the answer is obvious, yet we live as if we do not possess something more than the sum of all the treasuries of this world.

 

There is something even more important than the fact that we have a Heavenly Father who will share His heart or thoughts with us. It is that He wants and longs to share His heart with us. The next time we face a Red Sea on one side and the Egyptians bearing down on us on the other side, rather than sit and complain, fret or worry perhaps we should consider God’s heart and say: “God, you long to watch over me to share your heart with me so now here’s your chance.”

 

That last phrase, how great is the sum of them, is literally translated as how strong are the heads of them. That could mean many things. However, in context of my rendering of  thoughts as passions I would suggest what David is saying is that God has numerous desires or passions for us. His desires or passions for us are so numerous, it is like the sand of the sea but for him the chief passion is the strongest or greatest.  The following verses suggest that the greatest passion of God is to share His thoughts with us, thoughts meant to protect us and save us from our enemies, so He can have us all to Himself. Of course the greatest enemy is Satan. It cost Jesus his life to protect us from that enemy, and his primary thought of protection should be quite obvious to any of us who has accepted Him into our lives and have grown to love Him.

WORD STUDY – GOD DECLARES HIS THOUGHTS

Amos 4:13,  “For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what [is] his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, [is] his name.”

 

A wounded deer leaps the highest.  Emily Dickerson

 

This is one of those verses that you read a grocery list and pass right over the chocolate ice cream without batting an eye.  God forms the mountains, creates the wind, declares to man his thoughts, makes the morning darkness… woooo, wait a minute, back up, declares to man his thoughts?  When was the last time God declared His thoughts to you?   Apparently this is just as real and certain as a mountain, the wind and the sun rising in the morning.  What are God’s thoughts?   What is a thought?  I tell you with the way things have been going lately I would sure like to know God’s thoughts.  Fifty years from now God and I are going to sit on some street corner in heaven and He is going to explain a few things to me.  Want to join me, maybe we can sort of like gang up on Him and He will have to share some insight into what He was thinking when we got that doctor’s report, that layoff notice,  that foreclosure or the million and one other things that just doesn’t make sense.

 

You know there are some people who have this mistaken idea that I am a pretty smart guy, that I can figure things out.  Well, I am here to tell you that there are some things you can never figure out, there are just things I cannot figure out and I sure would like to know just what God was thinking when He pulled off a few of His stunts in my life.  Then you’ve got this barefoot, peasant prophet telling me that God declares His thoughts to me and he apparently made this declaration under the inspiration of God.  Well, I am ready God, tell me what you are thinking because I sure can’t figure it out.

 

Ok enough ranting, back to the Hebrew lesson.  The Hebrew word for thought that is used here is sechu. God is declaring or telling man his sechu.  The word telling or declaring must be interpreted before I tell you the what sechu means and the origins of sechu (thoughts).  The word declaring or telling is magid which comes from the Semitic root word MG and the Persian word magi where we get out modern word magic.  The Hebrew root is magad  which is a loan word from the Arabic meaning what is most precious. To be fair, Davidson in his lexicon claims this is in a Hiphal form and hence the root word is nagad  which is an Akkadian word which means to make a declaration that is clear, straight forward, or as we would say, looking into your eyes and saying it.  I believe the prophet was making a play on words and the intent of the Persian, Arabic, and Akkadian roots were all intended to play into this expression.  In other words when God magads He is in some supernatural way  looking us  directly into our eyes, before our faces  and declares his sechu (thoughts).

 

He makes His sechu (thoughts) as plain as that scratch on our nose from our last fall. Sechu also comes from a Semitic root SK which is where we get the Hebrew word sacha which means to worship.  I found SK used in a Ugaritic text which tells the story of the goddess Anat  who fell in love with a mortal man entered into an intimacy with him. The word used for that intimacy, that expression of total love, was SK.  The Masoretes made the first letter a Sine rather than Shin which would make the root word shayach which means to meditate or make a complaint. This difference between the Sine which would make the word sacha (to be intimate) and the Shin which would  make the word shayach (to meditate on a complaint) is done with  the placing of a dot on the right side rather than the left side of the Shin. With just one dot the Masoretic text  changed intimacy to complaining. That dot was not in the original inspired text, it was placed there by man and although Christians hold the Masoretic text up as being almost inspired, the Jews don’t and are not afraid to disagree with the Masoretes.  I too disagree and I believe God does not look into man’s eyes and share his sechu (thoughts) or his complaints or even meditates on His complaints about man.  I believe God looks into man’s eyes and declares his deep intimate love for Him.

 

Yesterday, as I was waiting in my bus for one of my wheel chair clients a flock of seagulls landed in the parking lot.  Seagulls are migrating at this time and pass over Lake Michigan and often come inland to find food.  So as I was sharing my Egg McMuffin with one of the seagulls he walked up to me, opened his mouth and said, “Yik.”  He was just giving his regards to a friend of mine that I was e-mailing at the time. However, I just paused to watch this seagull as he began to dance around and fluff up his feathers for me. His feathers were pure white, almost like fur, with little areas of pure black.  The contrast was so beautiful, he was so beautiful.  He and his friends just danced around my bus showing themselves off. If someone walked by they would just politely move away, totally unflustered and then return for more Egg McMuffin.  I could not help but think that only a God of pure love could have created such beauty.  But why create such a beautiful creature. Maybe because the pure heart of that creature made me begin to feel the loving presence the sechu of God. Even as the birds took off to continue their migration, I continued to bask in the warm glowing intimacy of God.  With that little piece of His creation  God looked me in the eye and  in a supernatural way declared to me that I was the most precious thing to him. That is the meaning of magid (declare).  And in this magid I found sechu (loving intimacy) realizing that He was the most precious thing to me.  Suddenly all my problems no longer matter.  Emily Dickerson once said that the wounded deer leaps the highest.  All my problems all my wounds only caused me to leap higher into the arms of Jesus. It only causes me to opens my heart further so I am able to hear the words that my feathered friends, God’s created messengers, were trying to speak to me.

 

WORD STUDY – GOD’S THOUGHTS

Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

 

The word for thought here is not sh’ar as it is in Proverbs 23:7:  Here the word is chashav.  Sh’ar has the idea of thinking to make a decision; this thinking is to invent or create or to lay out a plan.  In the context of Isaiah 55:8 it would be to lay out directions.  Hence your directions or maps are not God’s maps.  Your ways are not God ways.  The word way is derek.  Derek has the idea of following a path that leads to God’s purpose.

 

This is clearly Hebrew poetry using the discipline of parallelism. I once knew a guy who had a PhD in Poetry.  The University where he taught had published a book of his poetry.  Some would read his poetry and question whether it was really poetry as some of his poems did not rhyme or have a certain meter.  But to say that because a particular work was not poetry because it did not rhyme would be like saying a painting of a house is not art because it does not look like a house.  This poet told me that rhyme and meter were disciplines of poetry, but not poetry itself.  The poetry laid in his choice of words, the hidden meanings, and the ability of his words to say many things to many people.

 

Hebrew poetry is just like poetry in English except it has different disciplines.  Poetry is still embedded with hidden and mysterious meanings and interpretations. Poetry is universal in its ability to paint a picture with words.

 

In this verse we have a picture of person taking a journey.  This could be a journey of life; it could be a journey in a relationship, a journey in a job, or a journey in a ministry, or even a sermon.  When you take a journey you start out with directions.  When I check my GPS I find I have certain options.  I can choose directions that will involve the use of the Toll Road or highways.  I can take the shortest route or the longest route.  There are a number of roads that will lead me to my destination. This is the picture painted with poetic words here. There are various options to reach God’s purpose, there are various roads that lead to God’s purpose.

 

I drive a bus for the disabled. Yesterday I had to drive to La Grange for a pick up.  When I received the call I was a least a half hour to forty five minutes away.  I needed to pick the route that would get me there the quickest, so I chose the quickest route.  However, the quickest route took me past a school just letting out and then railroad tracks where I had to wait for a long freight train to pass.  The shortest route, the route I thought best ended up taking me longer to reach my destination than had I chosen the longer route.  I took the way which seemed right unto me but the end thereof was a way which made me late for my next pick up.

 

Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  Again we have the word derek for ways. As derek represents a path to God, the derek of death would be a way of spiritual death.

 

History is littered with the dry, sun baked bones of Christians who convinced themselves

that their thoughts were God’s thoughts and ended in on a path that was not God’s path.  Many times we reach God’s purpose but because we chose the path which seemed right unto us and was not God’s path we ended up going over some very rough road.  Many end up getting discouraged before reaching God’s purpose and just give up and end up spiritual dead.

 

We often say that God is testing us, or putting us through trials to strengthen us. Perhaps so, but far too often the reason we are going through such struggles is that we have chosen our own route to God’s purpose and not sought and took the time and effort  to know the thoughts of God.

 

So how do we know the thoughts of God, how can we know what is the right path to take. I believe Paul answers that in I Corinthians 2:16: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”   The word for known in the Greek is egno which comes from the word ginosko.  This is the same word that Mary used when told she would have a child and ask how that was possible since she knew (ginosko) no man.  Ginosko is an intimate knowing.  No one can be intimate with God enough to know or be intimate with His thoughts except Jesus Christ and Paul is saying that as believers we have the mind of Christ.  It is through Jesus Christ that we can ginosko or be intimate with the mind of God when we enter an intimacy with Jesus Christ. Though Jesus Christ we can know God’s thoughts and His ways. It is through Jesus Christ who through His death and resurrection has made it possible to be intimate with Him and thus to be intimate with God and to know the thoughts of God.

 

My parents were married for 67 years. I used to listen in amazement as they spoke to each other.  “You think we should visit…”  “Yes, I would love to see them, how about…”  “This evening would be fine.”  They had spent so much time together and grew together in such intimacy, that they could anticipate what the other was thinking.  So too in knowing the thoughts of God.  The more time you spend with Him, the more intimate you become, the more you can anticipate His thoughts.

 

Years ago when I was a Junior High School teacher I used to tell my students, “You have a mind, use it.”   Well, as believers we have the mind of Christ, so use it.  The problem with many Christians is that they are like my students, it was a lot easier for someone else to tell them the answers rather than spend time doing their homework and studying to discover the answers.  They would rather someone else tell them the answers rather than use their own minds.  So too with many believers, they would rather someone else tell them the mind of God rather than use the mind of Christ within them and spend time in fasting, prayer and studying the Word of God growing intimate with Him so that they will know the thoughts of God and discover His answers or directions themselves.

{ The Colors Of Our Life }

“For I know the plans (cashab) that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

The word “plans” in Hebrew (cashab) has its origins in the idea of a weaver of fabric.

Here we have a picture of Jesus thoughtfully and lovingly choosing each strand of fabric which represents a season, a day, and a moment in our life. Some red, some more blue, but in the end they all compliment each other beautifully. Harmonizing into a one of a kind design…for a one of a kind you!

Laura