Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Psalm 34:18

One of the ways I like to study the Bible is to take a passage or verse and try to dig in and pull it apart. I love it when preachers/teachers go back to the original Hebrew and Greek words because there is such depth and significance there that is sometimes lost in translation. I try to do that on my own as much as I'm able - which isn't a whole lot since I'm illiterate in both languages. Still, I do find some rewarding things by at least trying to dig deep. I like to go through a passage word by word with a word study book and dictionary to look up the definitions for each word and the grammatical construct of each word. Then, I like to re-write the passage in my own words based on what I've learned. Sometimes it ends up basically the same - but sometimes I discover "hidden treasures". The following verse is one I found some "hidden treasures" in.

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

My paraphrase from my word study -
The Lord (the covenant keeping God) is near to those whose hearts are (continued action) breaking, bursting, and shattered; and He keeps saving and delivering those who are crushed and crumbled in spirit.

Some treasures I found -
"Lord" in English is pretty generic - at least in my mind. But in Hebrew (Yahweh, Jehovah) it refers to the covenant keeping character of God. That's such a beautiful promise and assurance to start this verse with.
Brokenhearted is a great description, but I found the other definitions for this word to be really meaningful as well. In particular, I keep coming back to the word "shattered". It seems to indicate a kind of violent bursting of something into hundreds of tiny pieces - much like dropping glass on a tile floor. As I've learned first hand - glass doesn't just break - it shatters! And it's tiny pieces go far and wide over the floor. also the "crushed" can be defined as a crumbled substance or something that has been crushed into a powder. That's a pretty significant and destructive crushing! Not what I generally associate with crushing. I was reminded of grinding something in a mortar and pestle.
I also loved the fact that the actions in the verse were continuous. God's not just near to us when we are broken and shattered *one* time, but every time. God doesn't just deliver and save us *one* time, but He keeps doing it every time we are feeling crushed and ground down. What a beautiful assurance!

*Disclaimer - I am not a student of Hebrew and Greek. Nor have I been taught how to exegete Scripture. As such, the above may not be entirely accurate or true though I certainly don't intend to say anything unbiblical or false. I simply am trying to do the best that I can with the resources and understanding that I have.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stand Firm

In a day where compromise and "tolerance" reign - where absolutes and "only ways" are despised - where humanism is the way to go and man's opinions and preferences are "god" - we need to stand firm on truth and the authority of God's Word in all things and in all areas of life.

Second, a high view of Scripture must accept the accuracy and inerrancy of the Bible. After all, if the Bible is God’s inspired Word in every part (meaning that He is the author), then it must also be truthful in every part (including passages regarding science and history) because He is a God of truth (cf.Titus 1:2; Heb 6:17-18). Thus, the Scriptures can be wholly trusted because they come from a God who can be wholly trusted. This means that Genesis should be believed when it states that the world was created in seven days. It means that Adam should be accepted as a real human being, that the Flood was a global event, that Sodom and Gomorrah were literally destroyed by fire from heaven, and that Jonah was, in fact, in the belly of a fish for three days. Even Christ and the apostles reflect this same attitude toward the Old Testament when they refer to Adam (Rom 5:14), Noah (Matt 24:37-38), the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt 10:15), and Jonah (Matt 12:40) as historical figures. It is not enough to accept the Scriptures as true in matters of faith and practice but deny its truthfulness in matters of history and science. If the God of truth has spoken (no matter the subject), then He has spoken truthfully. Too often Christians accept false teachings because they trust the latest scientific or literary theories over the very Word of God. In doing so, believers relinquish their ability to discern truth from error. Why? The reason is simple: It’s because they have let go of the truth, without which they have no standard for deciphering what’s wrong from what’s right.” – Dan Dumas (from the chapter “Hills to Die on: A Doctrinal Framework for Developing Discernment” from the book “Fool’s Gold”)