So I just got back from a tour with the William Jessup University Choir and Orchestra, and I wanted to take some time to fill you in on some impactful words that I came across during tour. You see, we were on a bus most of the time, which gave me ample time to spend with God in His Word and He was faithful to speak to me! There were two main passages that spoke to me during this time.
“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.” — Psalm 119: 37
This verse particularly fascinated me because of the words “turn away.” When you look up “turn away” in the original Hebrew, you find that it comes from the word “‘Âvar” which, among other things means not only to “turn away” but also “to cross over, pass over, go over, to go through, penetrate.”
So then, the lesson I learned from this is that ‘Âvar means to not avoid seeing evil necessarily by “turn[ing] away” but perhaps also by seeing through vanity, to cross through, even to penetrate it, and to see the way of God in the midst of it.
The next passage that spoke to me was this one:
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” — Jeremiah 33:3
I was particularly fascinated by the word “show” in this verse which is translated from the Hebrew word “Nagad.” Nagad can mean, among other things, “to bring forward, be in front; to bring to the light; to declare; to explain an enigma (Judg. 14:19) or a dream (Gen. 41:24); to announce; to confess (Ps. 38:18; Is. 48:5); to profess openly (Is. 3:9); to celebrate with praise (Ps. 9:11; 71:17; 92:2); to make known, to betray (Job 17:5); to be announced, be shown, be told (Josh. 9:24; Ruth 2:11). The word can denote the messenger, the message, or the one to whom the message was told. The receptor was usually separated spatially from the original source of the information. It can mean to reveal something which one would not know without revelation (Gen. 3:11; 41:24).”
So then, from this I realized that not only is God faithful to answer us when we call on Him, but He is willing to reveal so much that we do not know; He will open our eyes to “great and mighty [or hidden] things.” These things can range from concepts about God, things in our own lives that we have not noticed that will enable us to grow more mature in our walk with God, or words of encouragement or exhortation for other people. These things that God will show us can come to light by enigmas, dreams, confession, celebration with praise, and of course, through His Word.
So there you have it—that’s what I learned on choir tour. I hope you’re blessed by it.
*I obtained the definitions of these Hebrews words from the lexical aids to the Old Testament found in the back of my Greek/Hebrew study bible. You can look up the definitions for the words I mentioned by searching Strong’s A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible for ‘Âvar (5674) and Nagad (5046).