Tea & Truth

The Beautiful Intrigue of Language

Sep 03, 2018

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Foreign languages are like secret codes just waiting to be figured out. There are patterns and hidden meanings and rules to follow. Then, when you learn enough, you can talk to people you couldn’t have before and it makes you feel like a member of the club. And when you greet someone in their native tongue, their face lights up with the realization that you made the effort to learn how to communicate with them. It’s a beautiful thing!

But sometimes, things don’t translate perfectly into other languages – more intrigue. For instance, if you’re trying to say “I’m hungry” in French, you would say “J’ai faim,” but the literal translation means I have hunger. Just a minor difference, but it is a difference. Hey – I’m a writer; I like words. Especially the Word of God.

   “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
   and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
   and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth,
   and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26

My favorite part of this verse is hidden in English – God’s name. We English-speakers only have a couple of names to refer to God, but in the Old Testament Hebrew, there are many, many more. Each one reveals a different facet of His character.

In this case, God’s name is Elohim – Strong Creator God. And not only that, but anytime you see “im” at the end of a Hebrew word, it means it’s plural. So now, Elohim shows that God is a strong creator AND the plurality of His name is evidence for the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – Three Persons in One Being. Isn’t that awesome!?

Like Genesis 1:26 and the verses following describe, Strong Creator God designed humanity with a purpose in mind. Even before the Fall, Adam and Eve had a God-given objective. They didn’t just lounge around eating fruit and petting lions in the Garden of Eden all day. God commanded them to take care of the animals, till the ground for food, and fill the earth with their children. Six days of the week they did this, then on the seventh, they rested from their labor.

So, if you’ve been blaming the Fall for the fact that we have to work for a living, I’m afraid that’s not what the Bible tells us. If we pay attention to the text in Genesis 3:17-19, God simply made work harder for man by cursing the ground. And while avoiding work can be oh-so-tempting in this post-Fall world, I’m convinced that a lifestyle of laziness won’t bring us true satisfaction and joy. It’s outside of God’s plan for us and goes against how we were created to live.

But, in the complexity of our English language, let’s not get the words “laziness” and “rest” mixed up. Laziness is being unwilling to work in the first place, whereas rest is recovering from work that has already been done. Mentally, physically, and spiritually, we need rest to refresh ourselves so we can be reenergized and ready to obey His calling. That’s why God created the Sabbath for us (Mark 2:27).

When we recognize the meaningful beauty and depth of words, our lives are enriched. There are no words more exquisite or fascinating than the ones we find in Scripture. The Holy Spirit helps believers understand the meaning of those words. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (I Corinthians 2:12). What a privilege to study the Word of God!

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Colossians 3:17

Jessie Chamberlain
Family Radio Staff

P.S. Happy Labor Day! Even the federal government is giving us a rest from our labors to thank us.

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