Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today you receive the fifteenth letter during these unprecedented times, and in a small way, it has a role to replace a smile, a warm handshake or some comforting words towards you. As restrictions were released step by step, we were very happy. For the last three Sabbaths we could meet at church with 20 people, with a plan for the next Sabbath to raise it to 50 people, but again we have had the sudden spike from this virus in the wider community. Such information creates in us sadness and uncertainty. What can we expect this time? How long will it last?
We live in a time that really tests our faith. So how can we comfort each other now?
It was recently that my attention was drawn to Psalm 112. The editors of NKJV Bible entitled it “The Blessed State of the Righteous”. It starts with a nice and well known verse: “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments”. The next verses of this song are beautiful, but my attention was drawn especially by verse 8 that continues the description of a happy man.
“His heart is established; he will not be afraid.”
It is interesting that in other translations the heart is “steady” (ESV), “secure” (NIV), but in Hebrew the original word used is samuch which means “upheld”. This Psalm tells us about the secret of his confidence and courage, so the Psalmist says “his heart is upheld”. It is also interesting that the original word as a verb (samach) literally means “to sustain”, “to help”, “to support” and “to lean on”. Only „supporting” someone and “leaning on” someone brings such peace.
The Jewish sages in the 3rd century used the similar word to describe the ordination of rabbis. In this case it meant literally “leaning” and referred to the ritual laying on of hands. In this way of thinking “to be ordained” meant that others “laid their hands on you” and now they could “lean on you”. This idea implied mutual support. But in the Psalm the verb is passive, and God is the one who extends his help. It is The Almighty who “lays His hand” on His child and with His touch “upholds” the man’s heart. So his heart is upheld, strengthened, supported by the Lord in any time of stress.
Beautiful, isn’t it? I am so grateful to my Lord, I praise Him for this upholding and wish you, my dear church family, such support and upholding, steadiness and just peace. We can call it as a special blessing, so let’s experience it more and more.
pastor Roman Chalupka