A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


May 18, 2014

Hebrews 13:5-6

Let your manner of life be without love of money, 
being satisfied with your present circumstances.
For He Himself has said, and the statement is on record,
"I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you.
I will not, I will not, I will not let you down."
So that, being of good courage, we are saying,
The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What shall man do to me?


Joshua 1:5
     
     If you go to your NIV or any other modern translation of the Bible, you will not find these exact words.  What I have presented is from a translation of the Greek New Testament, a translation in which the earliest and original Greek manuscripts of the Bible are interpreted in modern language.  As you can imagine, down through the years of extensive translations, it is understandable that the original meaning of what was written by God's appointed messengers might be slightly different.  
     I am NOT saying that the Bible was written by man, or that it is no longer God's Holy Word!  It is simply that the Greek New Testament sometimes helps me discern God's Word in a clearer, more precise manner.  I am a firm believer that "all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching."  I think that you will find that the Greek translation of these New Testament verses gives us an amazing picture of God's heart in this particular passage.
     Here's why I wanted to bring this to your attention ... When God says "I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you.  I will not, I will not, I will not let you down," it is often translated in later versions of the Bible as "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  And it is this exact phraseology that is referred to when our passage says, "For He Himself has said, and it is on record."  In fact, the Greek translation in the Septuagint (translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek by Jewish scholars in the 2nd Century BC) uses that particular phrasing when God speaks to Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Joshua 1:5 -- See photo above).
     I find it fascinating to read what the writer of Hebrews says were God's exact words.  Notice that at first He says I will not just twice.  Is that to get Joshua's (and our) attention?  To make us sit up and take notice because He has something important that He wants us to know?  And what is it that is so important that He repeats His declaration?  THAT HE WILL NOT CEASE TO SUSTAIN AND UPHOLD US!  That He will not fail to support Joshua or help him as he had hoped or expected.  And He will never stop providing that unfailing assistance.  The same holds true for us!
     But then there's that triple use of the promise .... I will not, I will not, I will not ... what might that mean?  If saying it twice imparts God's impression that this is important to Him, then saying it three times must mean that whatever follows is absolute, certain, and not to be doubted.  He means what He says!  And what is this specific promise?  THAT HE WILL NOT LET US DOWN!  He is our foundation; our life boat; our fortress in times of trouble.  God wants us to know without any uncertainty, hesitation, or insecurity that He will never abandon us or cease to support us or look after us.  
     Now we must take a look at these blessed promises within the context of the entire passage.  What is the bigger picture God is trying to portray?  That this world's preoccupation and worry about money and possessions (and the lack thereof) should not concern us.  We should be content with what we have; not coveting material things or worrying about how we will provide for our needs.  He is telling us that He is our Provider; our Sustainer; our Helper.  
     God concludes by saying that when we recognize the depth of His promise (that's what the repetition of His words convey) we will have no fear.  We take courage from His pledge and know in our hearts that this world cannot overcome us.  What a merciful gift! 
     I have been immensely blessed by the Greek translation of this Hebrew passage.  The added emphasis and passion of God's promise brings me such comfort and peace.  Abide in it!
      


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