Scriptural gem for April 2014

In Ezekiel 14:6 we read 'Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.'

We often read in the Old Testament how repentance among the Israelites was accompanied by a tearing down of idols and high places as in 2 Kings 11:18: 'Then all the people of the land went to the house of Baal and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces...'

The original Hebrew word for 'repent' is 'Shuv'. The word is made up of two letters of the Hebrew alphabet - a 'Shin' and a 'Bet'. But the Hebrew language has several layers of meaning. One of these layers is connected with the fact that each letter of the Hebrew alphabet originally comes from a picture (think hieroglyphics). So every letter has a 'pictograph' associated with it which adds another level of meaning to every word. In the case of 'Shuv' above, we find that the pictograph of 'Shin' is 'teeth', with the meaning of 'To Destroy'. The 'Bet' pictograph is one of a 'Shelter'.

That is quite extraordinary. Apart from the linguistic meaning of the word 'Shuv' being 'to turn', in its pictures the word also means 'To Destroy the Shelter'. Wow...that explains a lot. How many times have we 'turned away' from some idol only to return to it again. We are sorry, we ask God's forgiveness and we resolve never to trust in or do that something again; but soon enough we're back... Could it be that we keep a little of that 'shelter' intact? What would happen if we completely destroyed that 'shelter' as the pictographs describe? That would be authentic repentance for the first time as there would be nothing to turn back to. Instead, we turn away and turn to God but in the back of our minds we know that our 'shelter' is still intact if we need it... This type of 'repentance' is no repentance at all and it is an insult to the living God who can see everything in any case.

Dear Lord, please convict us by your Holy Spirit of all the 'shelters' in our lives that are still standing. Please help us Lord to demolish them once and for all and turn to you with all our hearts, as you desire. Amen.

See all the Hebrew pictographs by clicking on this link: