Saturday, May 04, 2013

Truth - Part 4

0571 tma  ‘emeth eh’- meth

Firmness, faithfulness, truth.

Contracted from 

0539 Nma  ‘aman aw-man’ 

To support, to confirm, to be faithful
To be established, to make firm
To stand firm, to trust, to be certain, to believe in.

In Psalm 30, the psalmist (probably David) reminds Yahweh in prayer that he prefers life to death, since no one who is dead can tell others of God's Word, the truth (verse 9). In prayer, David declares complete confidence in Yahweh, comparing Him to a rock onto which he is pulled out of the mire in which he had been sinking. This brings praise to God for being the foundation of all things true.

Psalm 40:

1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. . . .

11 ¶ Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

Note that the attributes accompanying God's Truth are his compassion and covenant loyalty [chesed, “mercy, lovingkiness] to His people. In Psalm 43, the psalmist speaks of God's tabernacle being upon the “holy hill” to which he wishes to go. It is there that he wants to worship God who gives “light and truth.” This is the first time that light has been paired with truth, but the idea is as old as the creation account. In Genesis 1, the first thing to exist by God's word was light! It is no wonder then that he writes:

3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

Light and darkness cannot exist together. And neither can truth and falsehood. Just as things are harder and harder to see as twilight fades, so the truth becomes more and more obscured each time a liar presents the foolishness of his own imagination.

In Psalm 45, a coronation song, the new king is extolled as God's instrument in bringing righteousness to the land. The king is to rule on principles of truth, humility and righteousness. He is to be taught what to fear by “his right hand.”

2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

Studying the psalm closely, one can see a glimpse of Jesus Christ as the “Son of David” (the psalm is a “song of loves [y'daidim, related to “David/Beloved”]. In these verses the king is praised as “beautiful” and his words are favored. He is blessed by God. As he goes out, he is prepared for battle. The ultimate fulfillment of this is found in Revelation 19. The Word of God is called a sword, and as we have seen it is the Truth. Here the truth is teamed with “meekness,” a word that emphasizes strength under pressure, and righteousness. The King is to be One who stands for what is right, even under extreme pressure, because He knows the truth – that which is sure and unchangeable. That meekness is appropriate, though, in sinners even more, as David himself found out when he faced God after gross sin (Psalm 51):

1 ¶ To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Notice God's “lovingkindness” [chesed] and tender mercy (compassion). David knows he is far from what God wants for him, calling his actions 'transgressions' (breaking God's Law), 'iniquity' (perversity) and sin (falling short of God's requirements). Sinful by nature of being human, he knows that God wants him to be dependable (firm in his convictions) within his “heart.” David truly wants to be righteousness, and he knows that turning to God is the only way to get that way.

In Psalm 54, David prays for deliverance from his enemies, breaking in the middle to speak of God in the third person, then going back to addressing Him directly:

4 ¶ Lo, God is a helper to me, The Lord is with those supporting my soul,
5 Turn back doth the evil thing to mine enemies, In Thy truth cut them off.

He knows that God will help him and his friends. Those who stand against him, though, will find that God's righteous anger will surely bring them to naught.

In Psalm 57, David cries out to God while on the run from Saul. While worshiping Yahweh, he notes that his enemies are no match to the majesty of what God can do. Twice in the psalm David pairs mercy [lovingkindness] with truth. This is a common combination, for God is good and he is dependable.

2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

In Psalm 61, David prays for the dynasty which God has promised to him. In doing so, his words become a prayer for the Messiah:

5 ¶ For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.
7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

It is again “mercy and truth” that god is called on to provide in blessing “the king.” This is the “help from heaven” that David needs. God will be faithful to his promises because in Him is the foundation for all things.

David was in big trouble as his popularity failed. Everywhere he looked he could see those that hated him. He calls out to Adonai Yahweh Sabaoth (the Lord, Yahweh of Armies). He wants a sure victory that he can depend on Yahweh to deliver. He once again sees God's covenant loyalty going along with his firm foundation (truth).

Psalm 69:
13 ¶ But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

David can depend on Yahweh to come to his rescue when his own sinful decisions have failed him, getting him so deep into trouble that no one else has the resources to help.

In the midst of trouble, believers know that God is there to save them. But that does not stop their enemies from attacking from every side. The grace of God, though, is enough to get us through. Instead of complaining, we need to sing praises to God. As the psalmist prays in Psalm 71:

22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

Music is a great way to declare God's truth, be it by a musical instrument or the human voice! Verse 22 mentions “the psaltery” (literally a vessel of 'nebel,' a word that means “to fade away”) and a harp (from a word meaning to pluck). Though the word 'nebel' is used for “harp” in modern Hebrew, the exact nature of the 'nebel' mentioned here is unknown. From “fade away,” though, I tend to think it may have been a percussion instrument! Other uses of the noun “nebel” include both skin and clay vessels. These materials make good percussion instruments, but don't suggest strings to me.

So, in my mind any way, I'd say sing loudly, for the words have to be heard over the drums and the strings!

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