It’s back to school time in my neck of the woods. Hooray! I’ve had a great summer and I’m ready to head back to the classroom. So in the spirit of the new school year, I thought I’d give everyone a little vocabulary lesson that just might give you a whole new outlook on the way you read God’s Word.
In ancient Hebrew, like Chinese and ancient Egyptian, every word was formed by adding “pictures” together to “paint” or illustrate the meaning of a word. Therefore, a word picture is a word that is described by pictures (duh). Anyway. Being a language person, I’m probably more interested in wordy kinds of things than most people, but I have become intrigued with the idea of word pictures in the Bible. This is partly because they are super cool, but mostly because I love the thought that there are layers upon layers of meaning and instruction in God’s Word.
My newest discovery is the word amen. Now, the dictionary defines amen as “an exclamation uttered at the end of a prayer or hymn spoken to express solemn ratification or agreement.” It also means “so be it”. These are the definitions I’ve heard all my life, and you probably have, too.
So imagine my delight recently when I discovered the Hebrew word picture for amen. I learned that amen is not simply a word of assent or agreement. In its fullest sense, the word amen means “Our God can be trusted”.
In its fullest sense, the word amen means “Our God can be trusted”.
Isn’t that cool? Think about this. You pray for your child’s safety as he leaves for school, finishing off with an automatic amen. Up until now, the amen probably meant nothing more to you than the period at the end of the prayer. But now, when you say amen, you are consciously affirming that you trust God with what you just prayed.
God, I thank you for this food. Amen. God can be trusted to provide.
God, I praise you for forgiving me and giving me a new beginning. Amen. God can be trusted to forgive.
God, I’m so afraid. I don’t know how you’re going to fix this situation, but I leave it in Your hands. Amen. God can be trusted to make a way where there seems to be no way.
God encourages us to trust Him. He designed us to trust Him. He is honored when we trust Him. He works on our behalf when we trust Him.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NKJV
Can I get an amen?
P.S. If you’re interested in Hebrew word pictures, here’s a really cool book to get you started.