I wish I were Jewish. I think the Jewish people have a wisdom about them unlike any people on earth.
One of my favorite books is written by a Jewish Rabbi. The book is called Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life written by Rabbi Irwin Kula (click on the title for info).
With sage-like wisdom Rabbi Kula does what rabbis (rabbinam) do best. He places more questions in your mind than answers. Jesus did this when He taught too. The next time you read a gospel, watch how He answers so many of the Pharisees’ questions.
On my coffee table (and all around my messy house) are books ranging from devotionals to Bible studies to nonfiction inspirational books to fiction. I’ve fallen in love with the library.
During my quiet time I ask the Lord which one He wants me to read, and I find golden nuggets in the pages He leads me to. The other morning I picked up Yearnings, and this is the paragraph I read:
“In the Jewish tradition there are hundreds of names (for God): Father, Mother, Lover, Creator, Destroyer, Nurturer, Redeemer, Forgiver, Friend, Life-giver, to name just a few. The name used most often in Jewish texts is also the most mysterious and intimate. It is YHWH, which in English is all consonants and no vowels. In Hebrew it’s actually a word with no consonants and all vowels. Either way, it is unpronounceable. When you try to say it, you hear the sound of breath, a simple exhale. What is this teaching? The name of God is not meant to be uttered. YWHW is not meant to be known. YHWH is meant to be breathed” p.18
Only words can be heavy and delicate at the same time.
YHWH is not meant to be known. YHWH is meant to be breathed.
These sentences knocked me off of my couch–delicate like feathers but containing the strength of ten mighty men.
I let them soak through me. YHWH is meant to be breathed….
[tweetability]God desires to fill us as air fills our lungs.[/tweetability](click to tweet)
You might want to argue that God does want to be known. That is His desire. But the point here isn’t whether or not He wants us to know Him; it is the fact that even with all of our study and searching, He will never be fully understood on this side of eternity. Yet He desires to be more than known, He desires to fill us as air fills our lungs.
I love theology, but this statement releases me from any presupposed ideas that I could ever grasp it all. So I’ve decided that when things get hairy, when life starts tumbling out of control, and I began wondering what in the world God is doing, rather than trying to figure it out, I think I’m just going to close my eyes and breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale deeper. Exhale longer. And I’m going to ask Holy Spirit to let me smell Him, breathe Him, taste Him.
I invite you to do this with me. Take a minute today and breathe. He’s waiting.
What good books have you read lately or what is your favorite sentence from a book?
My favorite saying I found in One Light Still Shines by Marie Monville. Her husband did the unthinkable by killing five & shooting five more young girls, then killing himself. She survived by trusting God. She wrote: No matter how tragic your circumstances, your life is not a tragedy. It is a love story. And in your love story, when you think all the lights have gone out, one light still shines.
p.s Everyone should read Think No Evil and One Light Still shines.
Wow. Thanks for sharing that incredible saying and story, Anna. I’ll have to look for that book.
Andy, that sentence impacted me too. I never cared for the name YHWH. It seemed impersonal somehow. Now it doesn’t. We can breath the name in desperation, in awe and in love. Thank you!
So glad it changed your perspective. YHWH is the covenant God. The Jewish people often replaced it with Adonai (Lord). :) I love your words too: “We can breathe the name in desperation, in awe and in love.” Beautiful.
Love this, Andy! Definitely gives new meaning to the exhortation “Breathe!” Did I say I love this???
Thanks Kay! Isn’t it wonderful? I loved Rabbi Kula’s words. Breathing deeper today. :)