“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.” Psalm 91:14
The Hebrew language is as high and as wide, as deep and as long, as it is old. That is to our advantage. Many of its words and their varied uses are rich portraits of shade and nuance into which we can gaze wonderingly and get drenched well with meaning. To read it is to walk in a story that unfolds on a pathway of color and ideas that beckons one to join in and explore. It calls one to become an active participant in understanding. It is alive.
The translators of the bible know this and provide modern versions of scripture that create handles of meaning onto which we may hold. There are gems, like the verse above that, though correct and complete, hint at deeper meanings to help us in our walk with God.
Here’s what I mean…
In the verse above, the psalmist is speaking from the perspective of God who is pledging his powerful care to those who trust Him.
But, I felt there was more for me to understand and believe, and so I selected five words to study. Using a Strong’s lexicon, I returned to the psalm’s original language to learn more. Here are the five words I chose, and here are the Hebrew terms and the rich meanings underneath each:
- Love – חָשַׁק châshaq; to cling, i.e. join, (figuratively) to love, delight in; to deliver:—have a delight, (have a) desire, long, set (in) love
- Deliver – ט pâlaṭ; to slip out, i.e. escape; causatively, to deliver: carry away safe, deliver, (cause to) escape.
- Protect – שָׂגַב sâgab; to be (causatively, make) lofty, especially inaccessible; by implication, safe, strong; defend, exalt, be excellent, (be, set on) high, lofty, be safe, set up (on high), be too strong.
- Know – יָדַע yâdaʻ; to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing);
- Name – שֵׁם shêm; an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character:—+ base, (in-) fame(-ous), named(-d), renown, report.
As I read through these definitions, I believe God wants me to know that my relationship with Him, our living closely together, can be far more personal than I, at times, will allow it to be.
- I turn away from Him in fear: He wants me to hold fast to Him in love.
- I doubt His willingness to help me: He wants me to believe He is carrying me up and away to a safe place.
- I wonder about His faithfulness: He wants me to look back and remember the reality of His Hand working in my life.
- I wonder if He really is like Jesus: He wants me to know He never changes.
In fact, if I were to put all of this together in one idea, God’s word to me in the verse might look like this paraphrase:
“Because he wraps his arms around me and holds on to me, I will lift him up and carry him away to safety, because he has seen my power and faithfulness, personally knows my reputation and character to be trustworthy.” Psalm 91:14 (my paraphrase)
God wants me to know the depths of His faithful love and to see the future from the safety of His arms. He wants me to remember that His promises have been thoroughly tested and to trust them again and again.
He wants me to get carried away.
What does He want for you?