Touched, Tested and Won Over by Love

Absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

The sayings of my mouth.

Expressions that expose what I perceive to be truth and wisdom.

The meditation of my heart.

To earnestly, deeply think and to murmur with tenderness, evoking a strong emotional response.

My soul.
My soul is cast down. My soul is in turmoil within me. Why?
The oppression of my enemy [hating adversary].

Luke 2:34-35 – and Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, ‘Lo, this [one] is set for the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against — (and also thine own soul shall a sword pass through) — that the reasonings of many hearts may be revealed.’ (YLT)

This one is set.
Set. To lie outstretched literally or figuratively. To place in a passive or horizontal posture; utterly prostrate.
Set. That the reasonings of many hearts may be revealed.
Revealed. To take the cover off; disclose.

The word of God reveals the reasonings of my heart

I find the story of Job fascinating and very revealing of the reasonsings of my own heart.

For years, I could not reconcile what I thought I knew about God with Job’s story. How was I supposed to believe God is love, when it appears that he was behind the unimaginable suffering of a blameless and upright man who feared God and turned away from evil? Pondering the story of Job did not give me a desire to draw near to God, for a very long time.

I’d adopted a formula to live by that related obedience and good works with reward: Be good, do good, believe the right things, and God will be good and do good to me. The formula wasn’t working in my personal life, but I chalked that up to the fact that I was not yet blameless and upright, though I tried hard to be good. Maybe someday. But Job! God himself described Job as blameless and upright, a man who feared God and turned away from evil.

Yet Job suffered terribly. Clearly, my formula tying obedience and good works with reward of not suffering didn’t work for Job, either. That conclusion caused me to fear God, not the reverential kind of fear, but a distrustful dread that made me turn away and run from God, rather than to him.

Still, the relationship between Job and the Lord God puzzled me and kept drawing me back to examine it. The Lord God appeared to be well pleased with Job. I wanted the Lord God to feel that way about me. But if he was pleased with Job, why would he turn him over to such a cruel, deceitful being? I didn’t want any part of that! Yet, might experiencing God’s pleasure with me be worth such suffering? Could I ever experience God being pleased with me? Round and round the conflicting questions relentlessly spun through my mind.

Job’s experience in having the reasonings of his heart disclosed

Though declared to be righteous and blameless and fearing God and turning away from evil by God himself, still Job experienced the pain associated with having the reasonings of his heart disclosed:

Job 1:6-12 – Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. (ESV)

What is this relationship between the Lord God and Satan, the deceitful one who opposed the Lord God from the beginning? In the Garden of Eden, Satan interacted with Eve, contradicted the Lord God’s words, deceiving and beguiling her. Though not deceived as Eve was, Adam went along with Eve in taking and eating the fruit that the Lord God warned them against. Had Satan first gotten permission from God to mess with Eve and Adam?

In Job’s story, we see Satan conversing directly with the Lord God. “Stretch out your hand and touch all that he has…,” Satan said.

Reach out, stretch out, touch

Reach out
Touch

The Lord God does this by turning Job over to Satan, at least temporarily, to do as he pleased, within specific limits. How am I supposed to trust one who claims that his very nature is love, and that love is seen in the actions it prompts, when he does something like this, turning the servant he’s clearly pleased with, over to the enemy to harm him, for no apparent reason?

Is that my ego-consciousness judging and condemning? Is that the vessel of wrath’s perspective, unaware of the bigger, more glorious picture of what the Lord God is really doing?

Ps 145:17 – The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. (ESV)

So, Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Satan stretched out his hand and touched all that Job had.

A servant came to report to Job that his oxen and donkeys were stolen, and all the other servants in charge of them had been killed by sword. Before he’d finished speaking, a second servant came to report that he alone escaped a fire that came down from heaven and consumed all the sheep and the servants caring for them. Quickly following, a third servant reported that he alone escaped from enemies who took the camels and slayed all the servants by sword. Then a fourth servant came reporting that a great wind struck the four corners of the house where all of Job’s children were partying, killing all of them.

Can you identify with Job’s loss and grief?
What is your first reaction when you receive devastating news?

Responding to grief

Job responded very differently than Satan had predicted:

Job 1:20-22 – Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (ESV)

How often I have charged God with wrong! I can’t count the times.

But Job!
Deep in shock and grief, Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, fell on the ground and worshiped.
Worshiped!
Worshiped: to depress, i.e. prostrate.1
Prostrate, in allegiance, reverence, honor, respect, humbly, earnestly, eagerly begging.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Blessed: to kneel; to bless God as an act of adoration. Praise, salute, still, thank.2

How could Job respond that way to God, naturally, honestly, reverently even in the darkness of such grievous, undeserved heartbreak? How did he not feel abandoned by God? How could he experience all this without questioning God’s steadfast love and faithfulness? What made Job so different from me?

Perhaps it’s because Job did not go out from the presence of the Lord. Are you familiar with the presence of the Lord God?

Perhaps Job was familiar with the presence of the Lord God, acquainted with his constant companions. Perhaps he was intimately familiar with the deep and constant love and interest of the perfect Being towards an entirely unworthy object. And his awareness of Love produced and fostered a reverential love in him towards God, along with a practical love towards others, a desire to help them seek God.

Job knew the Lord God in a way that I didn’t. Surely, Job’s relationship with the Lord God was not based on a simple formula, like an arms length business transaction: “I do this, and you will do that, and we’ll get along famously.” Living by my formula would never let me know God the way that Job seemed to know him.

Unlike Job, I had always responded to pain, loss, and failure just like Satan expected Job to respond. Rather than blessing God, I was treasonous, unbelieving, distrusting, unmoved toward reverential love. I experienced a very different kind of fear. How did Job develop that kind of relationship with the Lord God?

Was it as Satan said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.”

Can one who isn’t aware of the deep and constant love and interest of the perfect Being towards her, an entirely unworthy object, develop such reverent trust? Was I too tied to my emotions and unmet expectations, my self-interest and ego-consciousness? I tended to think I deserved better than what I was getting.

Grief

Grief. Today the word grief is usually used to express what a person feels in periods of intense sadness, as in times of death. But the Bible uses the word more freely…a response to the trouble one’s enemies cause, or the foolishness of a child. The Bible also tends to emphasize the cause of grief rather than the emotion itself. To the Hebrew writers the importance of grief was not its psychological effect upon the individual. Grief was important to them because it is a response to the troubles of a fallen world.3

Grief.
A response to the trouble that one’s enemies or a foolish child cause.
Grief.
Not its psychological effect upon the individual.
Grief.
Not a response of accusation, failure and blame when life hurts.
Grief.
Not a response of self-doubt, withdrawal, distrust, self-destruction.
Grief.
A response to the troubles of a fallen world.
Worship.
Prostrate, in allegiance, reverence, honor, respect, humbly, earnestly, eagerly begging.
Blessed be the name of the Lord. An act of adoration. Praise, homage, silence, acknowledgment.

Testing

Job 2:1-8 – Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. (ESV)

Again, we see conversation between the Lord God and Satan. Touching all that Job had didn’t get the response that Satan looked for. It feels as if the Lord God taunts Satan, “Job still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”

And Satan countered, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. Stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”

Stretch out your hand
Touch his bone
Touch his flesh

Again, the Lord God turned Job over to Satan, giving him permission to do as he pleased, with the one restriction that he must spare Job’s life.

What is this relationship between the Lord God and Satan? How can God be incited against a person – that he himself described as blameless and upright, who feared God and turned away from evil – to destroy him without reason? How am I supposed to trust and revere one who will do such a thing?

It seems that the process Satan, our accuser, used to test Job is universal. Take away the stuff and the people that we delight in; take away our bodily health, comfort, well-being that we delight in; and we’ll doubt or maybe even forsake and curse Love.

Integrity

But Job!
Again, Job responded very differently than Satan predicted he would:

Job 2:9-10 – Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (ESV)

I identified with Job’s wife.
But Job!
He still held fast to his integrity.
Integrity: Completeness, prosperity, innocence, perfection, simplicity, complete Truth.4

It’s as if Job knew a completeness, well-being, comfort, success, innocence, perfection, simplicity, complete Truth that was not dependent upon all the things that we typically identify ourselves and our well-being with; our stuff, people we feel affection for, wealth, good health, strength, a good name, power and influence…

And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.

You incited me: Pricked, stimulated, seduced me to destroy him without reason.5
Destroy: To make away with, specifically by swallowing.6
By swallowing. To engulf. Implying destruction; the violent overwhelm the innocent; an enemy swallows those he conquers; the false prophet and priest are swallowed up [confused with] wine. To drink down. Death swallowed by victory; being overwhelmed by sorrow; the mortal body swallowed by life.7

Vessel of wrath. Vessel of mercy. How the Lord God turns to good what Satan intends for harm!

Stretch out your hand
Touch

Swallowed up by life

2 Cor 5:1-5 – For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (ESV)

We know…
We have…
A house not made with hands…
Eternal…
We know…
We have…
Longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.
In this tent,
Which is our earthly home,
We groan, being burdened
That we would be further clothed
So that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
He who has prepared us for this very thing is God
We know…
We have…
The Lord God has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

Regardless of what Satan, our accuser, does to destroy us, our earthly home, he cannot defeat Christ, our defender. Satan cannot override the Lord God’s purposes for us.

I walk in the midst of trouble

Ps 138:7-8 – Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (ESV)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble…
How profoundly that statement describes all of our lives here in this present world, in our earthly homes!

Though I walk in the midst of trouble
You, Lord God, preserve my life;
It isn’t me that you stretch out your hand against, Lord God.
It isn’t me that is your enemy.
You stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies [the adversary opposed to you, Lord God].
And your right hand delivers me.
You, Lord God, will fulfill your purpose for me.
Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Do not forsake us, do not forsake me, the work of your hands, Lord God.
We know…
We have…
A house not made with hands…
Eternal…

Sifted

Maybe Job’s experience in having the reasonings of his heart revealed is like Peter’s experience:

Luke 22:31-34 – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” (ESV)

Ego-consciousness or God-consciousness. Which boasted that he’d die with Jesus? Which denied Jesus? What does it take to be aware of and reconciled to the Lord God’s purpose as Jesus was?

I can’t help but wonder at the use of Peter’s two names in this text. Is one name, Simon, attributed to his identity prior to his awareness and confession of Jesus’ real identity? The old man, the mortal, the flesh, ego-consciousness? And Peter, the new man, God-consciusness that begins to emerge as what is mortal begins to be swallowed up by life, by understanding, knowing, having relationship with the one who will fulfill his purpose for us?

Simon: the name of nine Israelites.8

Swallowed up

How does this “swallowing up” occur?

Matt 16:13-18 – Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (ESV)

You are Peter. Upon the revelation that you received from my Father, upon your belief and dependence upon this revelation, upon this rock, I will build my church.

You are. You exist.9
Peter. A piece of rock. Larger than a stone. A hollow rock. To curve. Bow down self.10

Do you know who you are? Not only your mortal self (your Simon), but also the self that swallows up your mortal self, the self that is a hollow rock who bows herself down and is filled with Life (your Peter)?

Simon, Simon, behold Satan demanded to have you [for trial]
That he might sift you like wheat
But I
But I have prayed
To beg as binding oneself, i.e. petition. Be in bonds, knit, tie, wind.11
But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail (cease, die)
Your faith, that I AM the Christ. I AM the Son of the Living God.
Trust me and not yourself, Simon Peter
I have bound myself to you, Simon Peter.
I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, Simon Peter
And when
And when you have turned again
To revert, reverse, superimposition of time, place, order, etc; a relation of distribution; a relation of rest12
And when you have turned again
Strengthen your brothers.
Set fast. Turn resolutely in a certain direction. Confirm. Establish. Stand. Solid. Stable. Strong. Sure.13
Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.

The Word of God is alive and at work

Heb 4:12-13 – See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account [of our reasoning and motive]. (CJB)

Jesus warned Simon what was coming and assured Peter that Satan’s testing could not separate Simon Peter from him or from his Father’s love. You are bound to me. I have bound myself to you. You will turn away from your confidence in your flesh and ego-consciousness. You will turn back to trusting me, to trusting Love, to God-consciousness.

I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail
See!
The Word of God is alive!
The Word of God is at work.
The Word cuts right through to where soul meets spirit.
The Word judges the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart.
Before God, nothing created is hidden.
All things are naked and open to his eyes.
To him we must render an account of our reasoning and motive.
Open to his eyes,
For testing, for correction, for perfecting, for intimate knowing
For knowing both, the Lord God and ourselves.

Ps 119:37 – Turn my eyes away from worthless things; with your ways, give me life. (CJB)

With your ways, Lord God,
Give me life.

Though the ways of the Lord God, the process of having the reasoning of our hearts revealed, may be painful, almost beyond endurance, the Lord God’s purpose is always for our good, always to draw us ever deeper into knowing, experiencing the deep and constant love and interest that he has in us, that produces and fosters in us an ever greater awakening of awe and reverence toward him.

Jesus our Master has embraced us

Rom 8:35-39 – Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing — nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable — absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (MSG)

Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love for us.
Absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love
Because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Are you familiar with this love? Are you confident in Love?

Intense love

Eph 2:4-10 – But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love that, even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience, he brought us to life along with the Messiah — it is by grace that you have been delivered. That is, God raised us up with the Messiah Yeshua and seated us with him in heaven, in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is his grace, how great is his kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. (CJB)

Have you come to terms with the fact that mercy, love, trust, and life is not the result of your effort and accomplishment, but the Lord God’s gift to you?

Have you been touched, tested and won over by the intensity of Love?
Have you begun, even now, to experience union with your Messiah?

Interact with the words of Scripture through deep, careful study.

Then move beyond logic and reason; move from head to heart to spirit. Anticipate unifying of body, mind and spirit to mirror and imitate the mind and life of Jesus.

Meditate. Experience the word of Scripture bodily by moaning, growling, uttering, speaking aloud each word, syllable by syllable. Experience the words of Scripture expressing the longing and desire and hope in the depth of your own soul. Become acquainted with your longing. Anticipate that your soul’s longing will be satisfied, its hunger will be filled with good things, and it will be healed and made complete again. Let the inspired word of God arouse feelings of awe.

2 Cor 13:14 – the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen. (YLT)

Contemplate. Sit quietly without thinking, without murmuring. Simply be. Become conscious of your companions. Relinquish all that you have and all that you are to Holy Spirit’s convicting, enlightening, restorative ministrations.

Stay in this place of rest and fellowship for as long as you can.

When finished, select just one word or phrase and carry it with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Let it soak deep into your soul. Tomorrow meditate on the entire text again. Select the same word or phrase or a different one to carry with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Do this practice every day. Let God’s Word begin to fill your soul with good things.

I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Ps 119:15-16 MSG)

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8)

I encourage you to look for ways and practices to help you become aware of Holy Spirit and to relinquish all that you have and all that you are to Holy Spirit’s convicting, enlightening, restorative ministrations.

Intentionally watch for causes of grief all around you. Note how you automatically respond to them. Then purposefuly respond as Job did to the troubles of a fallen world.

Worship.
Prostrate, in allegiance, reverence, honor, respect, humbly, earnestly, eagerly begging,
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
With an attitude, thought, word, act of adoration,
Of praise, homage, silence, acknowledgment
Being touched, tested, won over by the intensity of love
That draws you into union
Because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced you and me and all.

Be still.
It’s a paradox.
Be still.
It’s a state of being. Am. Is. Stay, remain as in was, were.
Be still.
It’s a process of letting go in order to rediscover Life that was forfeited through neglect of the soul.

Be still.
It’s a process of ceasing, stopping, to be destroyed, dying in order to experience Abundant Life.
Be still.
It’s a process of abandoning and neglecting in order to be healed and made whole.
Be still.
It’s a process of opposing, contending, and striving to give up, renounce, leave, and abandon self-interest that is death, forfeiture of Life.
Be still.
It’s a process of becoming weak, feeble, to be wept over to return to the original Life that was forfeited but is bought back by the only One who has Life in himself.

Be still, consequently
Know

Know, not in the sense of accumulating and agreeing with facts and figures, receiving answers about what to do to get a good life, but know as in relationship. Love. Know as in Being. Awareness, consciousness, discernment, recognition, acquaintance, familiar friend, feel, perceive, have respect, have understanding, instruction, presence, fellowship.

Be still.
It’s a process of letting the vessel of wrath prepared for destruction go in order to know the riches of God’s glory for vessels of mercy.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

Go to Meditative – Touched, Tested and Won Over by Love

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Worshiped: OT:7812 <START HEBREW>hj*v*<END HEBREW> shachah (shaw-khaw’); a primitive root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God): KJV – bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

2Blessed: OT:1288 <START HEBREW>Er^B*<END HEBREW> barak (baw-rak’); a primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): KJV – abundantly, altogether, at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, greatly, indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, still, thank. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3Grief: An emotion of sorrow; the experience of emotional distress or pain. Today the word grief is usually used to express what a person feels in periods of intense sadness, as in the time of death. But the Bible uses the word more freely and, more often than not, in reference to things other than death. Grief is a response to the trouble one’s enemies cause (Ps 6:7; 31:10) or to the foolishness of a child (Prov 10:1).

The Bible also tends to emphasize the cause of grief rather than the emotion itself. For example, in 1 Sam 25:31, the word translated grief means literally a “stumbling block.” To the Hebrew writers the importance of grief was not its psychological effect upon the individual. Grief was important to them because it is a response to the troubles of a fallen world.

The grief of Isa 17:10-11 is the result of man forgetting God. God Himself is sometimes grieved, or troubled, at man’s sinfulness (Gen 6:6-7; Isa 63:10). But if God and righteous men feel sorrow or pain about the world, there is hope in Christ, who “surely…has borne our griefs” (Isa 53:4). (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

4Integrity: OT:8537 <START HEBREW><T)<END HEBREW> tom (tome); from OT:8552; completeness; figuratively, prosperity; usually (morally) innocence: KJV – full, integrity, perfect (-ion), simplicity, upright (-ly, -ness), at a venture. See OT:8550.

OT:8550 <START HEBREW><yM!T%<END HEBREW> Tummiym (toom-meem’); plural of OT:8537; perfections, i.e. (techn.) one of the epithets of the objects in the high-priest’s breastplate as an emblem of complete Truth: KJV – Thummim. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5You incited me: OT:5496 <START HEBREW>tWs<END HEBREW> cuwth (sooth); perhaps denominative from OT:7898; properly, to prick, i.e. (figuratively) stimulate; by implication, to seduce: KJV – entice, move, persuade, provoke, remove, set on, stir up, take away.

OT:7898 <START HEBREW>ty!v^<END HEBREW> shayith (shah’-yith); from OT:7896; scrub or trash, i.e. wild growth of weeds or briers (as if put on the field): KJV – thorns. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6Destroy: OT:1104 <START HEBREW>ul^B*<END HEBREW> bala` (baw-lah’); a primitive root; to make away with (specifically by swallowing); generally, to destroy: KJV – cover, destroy, devour, eat up, be at end, spend up, swallow down (up). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

7TO SWALLOW: bala± OT:1104, “to swallow, engulf.” Commonly used throughout the history of the Hebrew language, this word is also found in ancient Akkadian, as well as several other Semitic languages. It occurs about 50 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Bala± is first used in Gen 41:7 in Pharaoh’s dream of seven lean ears of grain “swallowing up” the seven plump ears.

While it is used of the normal physical swallowing of something quite frequently, such as Jonah’s “being swallowed” by the great fish Jonah 1:17, the word is used more often in the figurative sense, often implying destruction. Thus, the violent “overwhelm” the innocent Prov 1:11-12; an enemy “swallows” those he conquers “like a dragon” Jer 51:34; and the false prophet and priest “are swallowed up of wine” Isa 28:7; RSV, “confused with”. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

SWALLOW (VERB) katapino (<START GREEK>katapi/nw<END GREEK>, NT:2666), “to drink down” (kata, and pino, “to drink”), “to swallow,” is used with this meaning (a) physically, but figuratively, Matt 23:24; Rev 12:16; (b) metaphorically, in the passive voice, of death (by victory), 1 Cor 15:54; of being overwhelmed by sorrow, 2 Cor 2:7; of the mortal body (by life), 5:4. See DEVOUR, No. 3, DROWN, No. 2.

8Simon: NT:4613 <START GREEK>Si/mwn<END GREEK> Simon (see’-mone); of Hebrew origin [OT:8095]; Simon (i.e. Shimon), the name of nine Israelites: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

9Are: NT:1488 <START GREEK>ei@<END GREEK> ei (i); second person singular present of NT:1510; thou art:

NT:1510 <START GREEK>ei)mi/<END GREEK> eimi (i-mee’); the first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist (used only when emphatic): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

10Peter: NT:4074 <START GREEK>Pe/tro$<END GREEK> Petros (pet’-ros); apparently a primary word; a (piece of) rock (larger than NT:3037); as a name, Petrus, an apostle: KJV – Peter, rock. Compare NT:2786.

NT:3037 <START GREEK>li/qo$<END GREEK> lithos (lee’-thos); apparently a primary word; a stone (literally or figuratively): KJV – (mill-, stumbling-) stone.

NT:2786 <START GREEK>Khfa=$<END GREEK> Kephas (kay-fas’); of Aramaic origin [compare OT:3710]; the Rock; Cephas (i.e. Kepha), a surname of Peter: KJV – Cephas.

OT:3710 <START HEBREW>[K@ <END HEBREW> keph (kafe); from OT:3721; a hollow rock: KJV – rock.

OT:3721 <START HEBREW>[p^K*<END HEBREW> kaphaph (kaw-faf’); a primitive root; to curve: KJV – bow down (self). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

11Have prayed: NT:1189 <START GREEK>de/omai<END GREEK> deomai (deh’-om-ahee); middle voice of NT:1210; to beg (as binding oneself), i.e. petition:

NT:1210 <START GREEK>de/w<END GREEK> deo (deh’-o); a primary verb; to bind (in various applications, literally or figuratively): KJV – bind, be in bonds, knit, tie, wind. See also NT:1163, NT:1189. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The middle voice in grammar: the subject acts as both the agent and the receiver, i.e. the direct object of the action. (from The Free Dictionary: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Middle-Voice.htm)

12Turned: NT:1994 <START GREEK>e)pistre/fw<END GREEK> epistrepho (ep-ee-stref’-o); from NT:1909 and NT:4762; to revert (literally, figuratively or morally):

NT:1909 <START GREEK>e)pi/<END GREEK> epi (ep-ee’); a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dat.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

NT:4762 <START GREEK>stre/fw <END GREEK> strepho (stref’-o); strengthened from the base of NT:5157; to twist, i.e. turn quite around or reverse (literally or figuratively): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

13Strengthen: NT:4741 <START GREEK>sthri/zw<END GREEK> sterizo (stay-rid’-zo); from a presumed derivative of NT:2476 (like NT:4731); to set fast, i.e. (literally) to turn resolutely in a certain direction, or (figuratively) to confirm: KJV – fix, (e-) stablish, stedfastly set, strengthen.

NT:2476 <START GREEK>i%sthmi<END GREEK> histemi (his’-tay-mee); a prolonged form of a primary stao (stah’-o) (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses); to stand (transitively or intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively):

NT:4731 <START GREEK>stereo/$<END GREEK> stereos (ster-eh-os’); from NT:2476; stiff, i.e. solid, stable (literally or figuratively): KJV – stedfast, strong, sure. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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