“If only my people would listen to me
and Israel would follow my ways,
I would quickly subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.”
Those who hate the Lord
would cower to him;
their doom would last forever.
But he would feed Israel with the best wheat.
“I would satisfy you with honey from the rock.”
The allusion to Moses striking the rock and water flowing from it cannot be ignored. The honey provides an image of something beyond mere necessity, but the sign of success and bounty.
The Land of Milk and Honey was long a dream of the Hebrews. It “spoke” to them of blessings beyond understanding. During their long stay in the desert, water was life. The story of Moses with the water from the rock would have been very much part of a cultural religious understanding. The psalmist takes the narrative that the Hebrews would have been familiar with and says, “Do you not understand? God doesn’t want you just have water (subsistence). God wants you to be overflowing with blessing!”
God doesn’t want any of his children to just exist. God wants them to thrive.
“They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.” (Nehemiah 8:8)
The people needed to understand the Word of the Lord in their language, which obviously wasn’t
Hebrew. Translation is nothing new. It is getting God’s Word to people that matters. So that they
understand implies to me that there is a vernacular piece to this as well, not just the base
Then it concludes with:
“Then all the people began to eat and drink, send portions, and have a great celebration, because they had understood the words that were explained to them.” (Nehemiah 8:12)
I see so many discussions (and arguments) over translations (which I participate in, too). Both Hebrew and Greek use figures of speech that just don’t convert to English. I will note that we miss so many plays on words in our translations. English is a constantly changing language. What a word means at one point changes over time. Think “thong” in the 70’s versus 2000’s. It’s a very different article of clothing.
Far beyond the scope of this post, but very much part of the fabric of Wesleyan (thus Nazarene) theology is “perfection.” Scholars tell us that our understanding of “perfection” today, is quite different from King James English. The word has changed. New and fresh translations are always needed.
Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.