God Reveals Himself
I stood at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the Spirit whispered, “Why do you like to be here?”
I thought about my answer as I sat down on the beach and replied, “Because it shows me how small I am and I must be reminded of it. Being at the edge of the ocean puts life in proper perspective.”
Do you know what I mean about being drawn to the water, whether it’s an ocean or bay, river or lake? What draws us? Is there a greater connection to life in those places? I look through my Instagram and realize the majority of my pictures include water. Does God intentionally wire us to be attracted to water?
Jesus invites the thirsty to His source of water- living water. To partake of His offer of life means to thirst no more. 1 Coming into communion with your Creator satisfies the soul thirst. The quest for something fulfilling ceases, but the search of His riches only begins when we say yes to life in Christ. God wants us to know the fullness granted us in His Son, and I believe its a lifelong adventure. What awaits us on the other side of the temporal life, I’m not sure. I do know that all who have confessed their sins to God and have believed upon Jesus for forgiveness inherit eternal life. Jesus promised us a home in heaven that He Himself is preparing. So, I imagine there will be much cause for wonder, excitement, and joy in the fullness of God’s presence.
Heaven in Hebrew is Samayim. The “s” makes the sound “sh” in this use, and many words in Hebrew have the “sham” root which carries meanings of presence, watching, hearing and obeying. You know the name, Samuel (Shemuel), which speaks to God’s Name and His hearing. Hannah named her son Samuel because God heard her prayers. 2
Interestingly, the latter part of the Hebrew word for heaven is mayim, which means flowing waters. My Bible reference says, “the term [samayim] is used in reference to the originating point of frost (Job 38:29), snow (Isa. 55:10), dust (Deut. 28:24), hail (Jos. 10:11), rain (Gen. 8:2), dew (Deut. 33:13), thunder (1 Sa.2:10), and fire (Ge. 8:2).”
I haven’t researched it thoroughly, but God’s realm and water are connected. It took me back to Genesis 1 this morning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” God didn’t create the waters as He did the other elements of creation; the waters were present, and He separated them to create sky. I’m not surprised I’m personally drawn to bodies of water, because He truly reveals Himself through everything He created. But, learning the Hebrew word for heaven has me even more fascinated by the way it reveals God’s nature and realm.
The final appearance of water in the written Word of God is found in Revelation 22:1-2.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.
Cover to cover, the Bible speaks to us about life and God being the source of all life for all eternity.
I wanted to put down my thoughts today about God’s realm and water because in my doing a word study of heaven, I encountered many other words in the same part of the Hebrew dictionary that carry meanings of devastation and desolation. For instance, samad means to lay waste. The Old Testament Lexical Aids at the back of my Bible indicates it “usually occurs in the context of a warning of the consequences of forsaking God (Debt. 4:26).”
The paradox of these similar Hebrew terms makes me think about how the same ocean that draws me and refreshes me also can bring utter devastation, as we have seen recently with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Photos of hard hit areas look as though bombs were dropped. There is much suffering as a result of land areas and islands now made desolate. But this suffering, painful as it is, is only temporary.
The same God who has in store for His faithful a heavenly reward where we will enjoy His presence without any limitation, is the One who will mete out justice to those who refused to receive His offer of eternal life in Christ Jesus the Lord. Some people say they hope that on the Day of Judgment they will find favor with God. It is important that we who have received eternal life in Christ share God’s truth with them. If you go before God on Judgment Day in your sin, you will be judged a sinner and punished eternally. If you go before God on Judgment Day in the atonement of Christ, meaning, you already had confessed your sins and received forgiveness through faith in Jesus the Son, you will be saved. 3 The sinner will be separated eternally from God’s presence; the faithful child will be eternally in God’s presence. 4 The former will forever be aware of his thirst and long for a drink of water but never be satisfied; the latter will never thirst again.
The Lord says, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.” 5 The choice is yours: either by faith you will know God’s reward, or by denying Him you will know His denying you in response to your choice.
“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to HIs voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…”(Deut. 30:19-20).
1 See John 7:37-38
2 See 1 Samuel 1:20
3 See Romans 10:9
4 See Matthews 25:26
5 Deuteronomy 30:19