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Friday, May 25, 2007
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"Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
When I was little the only time the word "Amen" was used in the type of church I attended was at the end of a prayer. Thus for many years I took it to mean the prayer is over and you can open your eyes. I suppose I am not the only one to make that assumption!
Of course many of us are familiar with "amen" also being a spontaneous response to a statement in a sermon, essentially expressing agreement. I've been around a few folks though who I suspect use it more out of religious habit, since I've heard some "amens" in rather inappropriate places! I recall the story of the preacher who woke a rather sleepy member with a loud "How many of you really want to go to hell?" to which the now awakened and startled member shouted "AMEN".
I enjoy the study of words and their background which is known as etymology. Today I want to consider the word "Amen", one of the most frequently used words in a church setting. It's interesting to me that traditionally its use is pretty much limited to church and spiritual.
Our daily verse is full of wonderful material for those with an interest in etymology. R.C. Sproul, one of my favorite theologians, asserts that this is his very favorite Bible verse. "Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness."
Three key theological words are found here for the very first time in the entire Bible: "believed", "credited" and "righteousness." That's significant due to a basic principle of Bible interpretation known as "the law of first usage", which asserts that the first time a word is used in Scripture is very important in determining its meaning throughout the rest of the Bible.
Today, let's just consider the word "believe". It translates the Hebrew word "Aman" which is the basic root of "Amen" and is merely transliterated in the Greek, English and probably many other languages as well. Again this is the very first time it's found in the Scripture and it lays a foundation for all subsequent uses.
"Abram believed the Lord." This is a fundamental description of the man known as the father of faith. He believed the Lord. The background of "amen" is foundationally belief, faith or trust. It's absolutely significant that the object of Abram's faith was the Lord. It's not just belief but belief in "the Lord."
Consider that the next time you end a prayer with the word or express agreement to a sermon point by saying "Amen.". You're saying "I believe." Do you really believe the Lord today? I sure do. Praise God! He continues to credit His righteousness to them that believe (Hebrews 11:6).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Today's prayer: Amen!
Brooksyne made 175 jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam for my niece's wedding reception next week. For years Brooksyne has been rather famous among our family and friends by often giving away small jars of home-made jam. My niece made a special request to her Aunt to make small jars of jam as a favor at the reception for each guest!
Today's suggested song: Come Home Running
In today's message I referred to R.C. Sproul. I have been greatly blessed by his perspective on "The Holiness of God."
The Holiness of God By R.C. Sproul / Tyndale House
Good news! Sproul's classic has been expanded and updated for today's readers. Sproul takes you on a journey into the awesome presence of God, and helps you wrestle with the tension that exists between God's terrifying holiness and his inexplicable grace. This edition includes two new chapters and challenging end-of-chapter study questions. 226 pages, softcover from Tyndale.
The Holiness of God - audiobook on CD
By R. C. Sproul / Hovel Audio Inc.
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