Saturday, November 5, 2011

Birthday Verbage

I have always loved words. And I have started loving them even more since I started following Dad around and learning about the roots and the meanings and the core and heart of words.

This past Tuesday Dad finished up the benediction from the book in the Old Testament called Numbers and chapter 6. (He started a couple of weeks ago, and here is where we discussed what he said last week.)

Here's the whole benediction again:

And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying
Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying
In this way you shall bless the children of Israel
saying unto them:

The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious unto you

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you
and give you peace

"The Lord lift up His countenance upon you" - the word countenance here is the same word as face in the verse above this one. It speaks to us of grace in fellowship. The book of Deuteronomy chapter 34 and verse 10 tells us that God knew Moses face to face - He could converse with him as a friend.

Psalm 42 verses 5 and 11 talk of two countenances. Verse 5 talks about the "help of His countenance" and verse 11 speaks of "the health of my countenance" (another version uses the word presence instead of countenance).

We realize the help of His countenance - which, of course, has a direct bearing on the health of our countenances - when we focus on God. The well-known verse in Isaiah 26 promises us, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee."

"... and give you peace" - these words reveal to us God's grace in quietness. "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength," we are reassured.

This peace encompasses these thoughts:
  • tranquility, the still waters of the twenty-third Psalm, where the Shepherd will lead us
  • safety, often included in the word peace. Isaiah 57 verse 2, which is the text that Dad spoke from at Mum's funeral, says, "He shall enter into peace" ... He (she) is safe now.
  • completeness; a Hebrew concordance Dad reads even has the thought of peace being complete as a secondary meaning for peace.
  • harmony. When sin entered the world, disharmony ensued for the first time. And it wasn't just disharmony with God, horrible enough as that is on its own; it led to disharmony between Adam and Eve, in nature, with other people, and in our own hearts. 

Allan, Dad and me
Today is my brother's birthday. He is a man who seeks to know God and so I would like to write the last part of our study out with him particularly in mind.

At the very end of our hour together on Tuesday, Dad got us to look at the verbs in this benediction that I have quoted above. He told us something fascinating about the tenses of the verbs.

Saying (line 4). This is in the infinitive in the original, telling us that the blessing Aaron and his sons were to bestow on the people of Israel was not restricted by time. It was a blessing that could be spoken on any occasion ...

Bless (line 5); make His face shine (line 6); and lift up His countenance (line 8). These are all written in a continuing verb tense.

Keep (line 5);  be gracious (line 7); and give you peace (line 9). These are all written in the verb tense called 'VAU' and it is a permanent tense.

So God seeks to bless, make His face shine and lift up His countenance toward us on an ongoing basis.

And He wants to keep us, be gracious to us and give us peace permanently. This is a peace that cannot be taken away from us, no matter how rough the sea upon which our little ship teeters its way.

Happy birthday, my little brother! May you know the countenance of God being lifted toward you on an ongoing basis this year.

May you be kept in the palm of His hand.

And may you experience even more deeply than you do now the peace of God, which passes all understanding.

I love you.

1 comment:

  1. I hope all is well with you, Karen. I wish the Tea House was in Minnesota!


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