Shalom

Shalom

How blessed are those who make peace! For they will be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9 CJB

I am a middle child. I have three older sisters and two younger ones. My oldest sister, Cindy, is nine years older than me, while my youngest sister, Melanie, is nine years younger.

The term most often applied to middle children is peacemakers. That was my role as a child in our loud and sometimes chaotic family. I hated conflict and strove to make peace.

What is a peacemaker?

Google defines it as: “A person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries.” But, the Hebrew language doesn’t use the word peacemaker, but the phrase “those who make peace.”

In English, the word peace means, “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.”

Perhaps the best-known Hebrew word for most Christians is shalom. Although people use it as a greeting, most people will say shalom means “peace.” But, if you know me, or have read my blog for any amount of time, you might predict I will tell you there is more to the meaning of the word shalom than just peace. 🙂

Shalom means more than “freedom from disturbance” or absence of strife. Strong’s Concordance, as well as the Hebrew, defines shalom as:

Completeness, soundness, welfare, peace

https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7965.htm

Completeness means, Having no deficiency; perfect. Finished; ended; concluded; as the edifice is complete.https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/complete.html

Soundness is, “The ability to withstand force or stress without being distorted, dislodged, or damaged.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/soundness

The Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6 tells us Jesus is the Prince of Shalom or Peace. However, Jesus never promised us a world without disturbance or strife. Actually, quite the opposite.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 ESV

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

John 12:53 ESV

But, Jesus did promise to make us complete. He promised to give us a sound mind and told us He would never leave us or forsake us.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV

Jesus said, “O the Blessedness of those who make peace…” So, how do we carry out completeness and soundness?

How can we bring people to a place of completion while helping them withstand the battles around them? Prayer, discipleship, helping them discover their identity in Christ, and simply walking this Christian life beside them.

Again, taking in all the Beatitudes we have covered up until now, we find it begins with our heart, humility, and compassion.

In Exodus 34, God describes Himself to Moses:

“YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; 

Exodus 34:6 CJB

God described Himself as merciful first. Jesus used this exact Hebrew word in the Beatitude: How blessed are those who show mercy! For they will be shown mercy.

Throughout these Beatitudes, Jesus tells us to be like Him and the Father.

This brings us to the promise of this verse: For they will be called the sons of God. We are most like the Son of God when we are a peaceful, encouraging, and loving presence in people’s lives.

We are most like the Son of God when we are a peaceful, encouraging, and loving presence in people’s lives.

My twins were born at twenty-seven weeks, weighing two pounds and unable to breathe without a ventilator. Women from my church provided me with rides to the hospital since the doctor had not cleared me to drive. I remember one particular day clearly. While sitting next to their isolettes, I watched Alexandria’s tiny body struggle to breathe–her lungs collapsed. She was already on a ventilator, but the neonatal staff could not keep her lungs inflated. She was so weak and gray-looking from the lack of oxygen circulating in her fragile body.

My driver, who I met for the first time that day, was eight months pregnant and had three other children at home. I knew she needed to go, but I could not leave Alexandria. I told her to leave me there, but she would not go. She stayed with me until my baby girl was stable. My husband was at our restaurant and since this sister did not want me to be alone at home, she took me there. I don’t see her anymore but will never forget this woman’s kindness and the care she and the other women who took me back and forth to the hospital gave me for six weeks.

They were Jesus to me during my time of need.

Ask the Lord how you can give peace to someone this week.

Here are links to the other Beatitudes in this series…

The Poor in Spirit

Blessed are those who mourn

Blessed are those who are Meek

Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Blessed are those who show Mercy

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Thank you so much for visiting my blog! If it blesses you, please share it with a friend.

Do you Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?

Do you Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Matthew 5:6

We are continuing our series on the Beatitudes. Today, we will examine the fourth Beatitude found in Matthew 5:6. You can go back and read the last three posts if you haven’t already.

We didn’t have much growing up. My father had a stroke that paralyzed him on his right side. With a fairly young family, he could now, no longer work. My mom had five girls to care for at that time, so it was difficult for her to work outside the home.

We had a farm, so we helped plant, water, and weed our large garden and played outside all day in the nice weather.

By the time Mom made dinner, we were all ready to eat. We always seemed to have enough food, though. My dad would never take seconds until he was sure the rest of us were full. I’m sure there were days when he went to bed a bit hungry for our sake.

The hunger mentioned in Matthew 5:6 is not this kind of hunger but means a poor person who works to fend off starvation. The Hebrew word for this kind of hunger is reab and it means famine, dearth (the scarcity of something), and hunger.

I can only hope I seek out God like a person starving for Him. I believe many who are persecuted in their countries probably could teach us about that…but I’m not sure that is the norm here in the U.S.

The word thirst, in Hebrew, is an interesting word. It, as well as the word for righteousness, begins with the Hebrew letter tsade.

צ

It has the sound of the letters Ts, like the end of the word pots. The ancient Hebrew letter looked like this:

In the Hebrew language, the letters have names as you can see, and the names have meanings. So, the meaning of the word tsade is “to hunt, catch, or capture.” However, the letter in ancient Hebrew looks like a man bent in a position as a servant with his hands lifted up to the Lord in humility. https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Tsade/tsade.html

Another scholar describes the tsade as a servant carrying a burden and suggests this letter is most like Christ as we see Him in the scriptures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG7RIw9IJsc

See how this and all the Beatitudes come back to Christ-likeness?

Many years ago, my church had a Bible study that suggested we practice brokenness. I asked the Lord how I could practice something I wasn’t feeling. He spoke to my heart and said, “Get on your knees.” Since that day, I prayed on my knees alone in my room.

How would you practice brokenness?

The word for thirst consists of the letter tsade and the letter mem, meaning water. So, this kind of thirst means to hunt for water, in the pictorial Hebrew.

Within this Beatitude, we have a picture of a person who is desperate for food and water, not just hungry and thirsty. Remember I told you there is a reason the Beatitudes begin with “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

Within this Beatitude, we have a picture of a person who is desperate for food and water, not just hungry and thirsty. #ThisSideofHeaven #Beatitudes #HungerandThirst

Now, for the word righteousness. This was where I started my research, actually.

It is the word, tsedeq. As I said above, it begins with the same Hebrew letter as thirst. And, just like that word, the first letter of tsedeq means, “to hunt, catch, or capture.”

Tsedeq means righteous, but it can also mean justice.

We find this word also used in many Old Testament verses. The bold word is tsedeq.

Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Deuteronomy 20:16

You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Leviticus 19:36

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

Psalm 7:17

So, tsedeq has the idea that desperate people like those starving or dying of thirst will hunt for God’s righteousness or justice as a person would for food and water.

Hebrew4Christians explain it like this: “Hungering and thirsting for righteousness means relying on God alone to meet our need.” https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Brit_Chadashah/Beatitudes/beatitudes.html

But, unlike many who are starving for food and water in this world, the promise from God for those who are truly seeking Him is “They will be satisfied.”

God wants us to seek Him as our lives depend on it…because they do. We need Him more than He needs us.

But, He. Does. Want. Us. The Creator of all things wants to have a relationship with you and me. The Beatitudes tell us how to do that.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

By the way, you may wonder where I got Hebrew words when the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek. Well, the Gospels were first written in Hebrew. After many years, these manuscripts have finally been published, so you can now purchase the New Testament Gospels written in Hebrew on one page with the English translation on the page facing it. It’s pretty cool, but I like that sort of thing.

I realize I have changed the days I am publishing my blog posts. I am going to stay with Wednesdays since another blog I contribute to (called VineWords, Devotions and More at http://www.VineWords.net) has my posts coming out on Thursdays, so I don’t want both coming out on the same day of the week. Thank you!

O the Blessedness of the Meek

O the Blessedness of the Meek

We are continuing our series on the Beatitudes. You can go here and read about the first Beatitude called The Poor in Spirit and here to read about the second called Joy Comes in the Mourning.

Now, we will look at the third Beatitude found in Matthew 5:5.

O the blessedness of the meek! For they will inherit the earth.

Matt. 5:5

Let me start off by saying, Wow! I found some cool meanings of these words in my research of ancient Hebrew, and I am really excited to show and tell you what God led me to.

I just bought a really cool book called Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible by Jeff A. Benner (Yes, I am a total geek). It doesn’t just explain the Hebrew of the Bible but goes back even further to the early Hebrew when their language looked pictorial or like hieroglyphics.

Strong’s Concordance describes meek as “the idea of looking down or browbeating; to depress literally or figuratively…chasten self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, gentleness, humble (self). https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H6031&t=KJV

The Eye

The Hebrew word for meek/humble is anah and we write it like this: (Remember you read right to left.)

ענה

Ayin (ע) is the first letter in the word anah, but in the early Hebrew language it looked like an eye:

So, the word anah has to do with our eyes and careful watching. In this case, it has to do both with where we place our eyes (on God, not ourselves), but also what we are watching.

What are we to watch?

Our heart.

What are we to watch…our heart. #ThisSideofHeaven #TheBlessednessoftheMeek

Numbers 12:3 uses anah to describe Moses.

Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

Numbers 12:3 ESV

What made Moses so meek? Jennifer Ross explains on The Torah Class website.

G-d requires cleanliness… thus Moses strove to remain clean.  In his heart, he knew that he must be clean in order to approach or to be approached by G-d. Simply put, Moses didn’t want to be called by G-d and be found in an unclean state and therefore unable to answer the call.  Imagine that for a moment.

https://www.torahclass.com/archived-articles/429-anav-by-jennifer-ross

Moses watched his heart. He kept guard over his heart and his thoughts and obeyed the Torah or Law in order to prevent anything (uncleanness) from coming between him and the Father.

Consider this, Deuteronomy 18:15 says,

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among you, from your fellow Israelites.

Deut. 18:5

According to John 5:46, Jesus told the people accusing Him that Moses wrote about Him. He was/is the Prophet like Moses. He came in humility.

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Phil. 2:8

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-Of-Christ

Jesus is our example of humility.

Hebrew4Christians.com is another great website for information on the Hebrew language. In their explanation of this Beatitude, it says,

This word [meek] does not suggest weakness, but rather one’s recognition of one’s proper place in the universe before God. It is not self-effacing, but reality-focused. The meek inherit the earth because they are grounded in the truth of reality…

https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Brit_Chadashah/Beatitudes/beatitudes.html

And what is that reality you might ask?

That answer goes back to my post called The Poor in Spirit based on the first Beatitude in Matthew 5:3.

O the Blessedness of the poor in spirit! For theirs is the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:3 ESV

I explained the poor in spirit recognize their position as beggars who are in absolute dependence on the Father. We need humility to be willing to look at our hearts in comparison to a Holy and Perfect God and see we are nothing more than beggars in need of a compassionate God to take care of us.

This verse tells us the meek will inherit the Earth. What does this mean?

In the Midrash below, one rabbi said:

For it is said: Now the man Moses was very meek (Num. 12:3). Scripture states that whoever is meek ends by having the Shekhinah dwell with him ( the man) on earth

Midrash Mekhilta

The Hebrew word for inherit is yaresh and it means, to occupy (by
driving out previous tenants and possessing in their place);
by implication, to seize, to rob, to inherit; also to expel… http://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=03423

I believe this is suggesting that God gives the meek power in the spiritual realm to drive out and take possession of the things satan has stolen.

This world is under satan’s control right now. Revelation tells us of the war between Jesus and satan while God is sorting it all out. (very simplified).

God desires us to be humble.

There are many verses about humility and what the Lord thinks about those who are proud and those who are humble. But, not only that, many verses include what the humble receive from God.

A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 29:23

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-And-Pride

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

James 4:10

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-And-Pride

Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:4

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-And-Pride

I could go on… but I think you get the message.

I hope you’re beginning to see the progression of the Beatitudes: When we know that we are nothing more than beggars who are dependent on our Lord (Matt. 5:3), we will mourn over our sins (Matt. 5:4), and keep our hearts clean so nothing can come between us and God (Matt. 5:5). Then the Kingdom of Heaven (or The Lord) is in us, the Lord will comfort us, and we will inherit (or take possession of) the earth.

And God will call us blessed, happy, and glad.

Is it All Greek to You?

Is it All Greek to You?

Did you see the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

It has been my life. In 1992, I married my Greek husband, Mike (aka Minas). Little did I know what I was getting into.

On our wedding day, An Egyptian friend brought a pan of his famous baklava to our reception as a gift. Watching all the Greek women surround that pan of baklava, smelling it and holding it to the light as they whispered in Greek, “What is this?” “Who brought it… it’s not Greek…” was embarrassing.

Moral of the story? Take nothing but Greek baklava to a Greek wedding or any other Greek get together…They know the difference!

When Mike and I got engaged, we went to a family party for his uncle. I have never had so many people kiss my cheeks in one day. About the time I met everyone, it was time to say our goodbyes and start the entire process again.

Just like the movie, Greeks name their children after someone else in the family, and as a result, you have many of the same names in one family. There is a Louis 1, 2 and 3, and Louis 1’s daughter is Louise, who has a daughter named Mary after Mike’s mom. So, there is Mary, my mother-in-law, Mary, my husband’s cousin, as well as a niece, and our daughter’s middle name is Mary. Mike’s dad was Theodore, then there is Mike Theodore, Anthony Theodore, Teddy, and T.J. (Theodore James.) There are two Michaels and one Mike, too.

And, no doubt, I have missed some!

His family is wonderful! His parents, who have now passed, never made me feel anything less than family. They had big hearts with which to love all their children, in-laws, and grandchildren. They would have done anything for you.

I learned a great deal about the Greek culture and language living in this family. My husband likes to say “Greeks are proud of their pride” or is it, “They take pride in being proud.” Anyway, it’s true. They have a lot to be proud of.

There are many Greek words that can’t be translated into English. Mike’s family owned a restaurant which I helped with every once in a while. Mary spoke both Greek and English. With us she would sometimes start in English and suddenly switch to Greek in the middle of the sentence because there was not a word in English to say what she wanted to say. When I asked her what she said, she would answer in two or more sentences to define the Greek word.

This knowledge helped me appreciate the language and culture of the New Testament. Word studies fascinated me, and they deepened my understanding of scripture.

However, I have learned there is a big difference between the Greek and Hebrew minds and/or thinking. It’s good to understand this when studying scripture.

Greeks are logical thinkers. Their (ancient) language is made up of mostly nouns, and the pronouns used most are “I” and “me.” The Greeks heavily influenced our culture, as well as most of Europe starting with Alexander the Great.

Greek philosophers taught more about the mind than the heart. They believed only the state could teach children, parents were incapable.

The Hebrew mind is quite different. Consisting of more verbs, their language is about doing, not thinking.

The pronouns they use most are, “we,” and “us.” They thought with their hearts, not their heads. In the ancient language there was no word for mind, they included it in the word for heart. They also believed in teaching the child from home. Every son learned the skills of their father, like Jesus.

In Greek, the word believe is pisteuĹŤ, and it means, “to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.” (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g4100)

In Hebrew, a word for believe is aman, it is compared to a tent peg.

“The word, ‘believed’ is the very same Hebrew verb aman.

The picture we have from this is that Abram was firm in his devotion to God. Just as a stake planted in firm ground supports the tent, even in a storm, Abram will support God, even in the storms of life.”

“The Hebrew verb aman means more than just knowing something to be true.”

“The Hebrew in Genesis 15:6 does not say Abram, ‘believed’ God, it says he was ‘firm’ in God. From Genesis 26:5 we see that he was firm in his obedience to God and his Torah.” (https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-interpretation/aman-believe.htm)

The Greek word believe deals with what we think to be true, and where our confidence or persuasion lies, while the Hebrew meaning represents a firm foundation in God and His Word. Hebrew deals with action, not thought.

So, many can say, “I believe in God”, or “I believe in Jesus” without really putting their trust in Him. Unless there is an action, or devotion, and a firm foundation in God and His Word, believe can mean little more than, “I think he is real.”

Do we want to be thinkers or doers when it comes to our belief in Jesus?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 1:22-27

We need to consider whether we want to be like the Greeks or the Jewish people in our thinking. Do we want to be thinkers or doers?