What is true freedom? Some people would say it is the absence of rules, restrictions, other people telling you what to do, and other such ideas. Is that really true freedom? Many things that lead to freedom that fall into those categories ultimately can lead you into captivity instead.
For example, we all need food for survival and be healthy. But food over done and misused can lead to health problems and disease. Other substances, some legal and some not, if misused or abused can become both addictive and many times deadly. People often fight for years trying to kick the habit (captivity); proving that freedom isn’t always a positive for us.
We have a Constitutional right in the USA to keep and bear arms, and freedom of speech. We also have freedom of worship, religion, the press or media according to the Bill of Rights. Each of these are great freedoms when used for good and can be absolutely devastating when they are misused. When used appropriately as intended, they can be healthy; protective; informative; and life-changing for all people. When used inappropriately, they can be deceptive; disruptive ; abusive; and devastating. This is especially true for those who choose to use it to either report lies as truth or misrepresenting opinions as truth which can cause confusion, ambiguity, arguments, offense and much more.
So what is freedom?
How is it achieved?
Is it true freedom if others lose theirs at at the expense of you gaining yours?
For example, if I attempt to explain my belief to another for the purpose of understanding each other and accepting another; it shouldn’t be offensive. But if I attempt to coerce or force that belief on them; it impinges upon their freedom to believe what they choose. Sharing your thoughts on something is considerably different; it presents an alternative thought or belief and should not be threatening. However, forcing it, insisting as the only correct answer, is divisive, threatening, intimidating and offensive. The first example frees the hearer to consider the differences and makeup their own mind. The second examples stirs up offence, implies the hearer is wrong, less than for thinking differently, and possibly less intelligent. Perhaps the worst side effect is closing that person off entirely causing loss of credibility and/or the relationship all together.
This has become a very popular reaction in recent years in the American culture and has led to the current culture of cancelling out anyone and everyone that is different than you. We once proclaimed multiculturalism; now a considerable number want to cancel all who hold to a different political ideal, different belief, world view, religion or denomination and not just cancelling their speech or belief but total denial as if they didn’t exist. That doesn’t seem very freeing to anyone!
What is it we truly long for?
In our deepest depths of our heart, what is it we truly want?
I would suggest perhaps it’s not the freedom we desire although it is a good thing and we enjoy it. I would also suggest it’s not happiness we search out; for it is fleeting. I would ask you to consider what we really need and desire; and I would submit to you that perhaps the answer is wholeness and peace. Yes, I think these serve and fulfill a greater need in life than we realize we need.
Those who have read my blog before know and it is only fair to disclose that my postings are predominantly from a Biblical world view but are never intended to offend; only share. I often will dig into the original languages and context when sharing my thoughts on a verse or topic. Last week I ran across a scripture quoted in fictional literature and it captivated me for some reason. Let me share it with you and I’ll explain more.
“Abundant peace belongs to those who love your instruction; nothing makes them stumble. Psalms 119:165 CSB
“Great peace have they which love thy law And nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165 KJV
At first glance, this verse seems pretty straightforward and clear whether you agree with its meaning and context or not. As I dug into the words in the original languages and their meanings, The verse seemed to open up and bloom into a deeper meaning.
Let’s take the first word great to start
Great. English – as of an extent intensity amount above what is considered normal or average. Hebrew – the word rab which according to Strong’s Concordance H7227 means: abundant, enough, exceedingly, manifest, multiply, plenteous, Process of time, sufficient.
Peace. English – freedom from disturbance, quiet, tranquil. Hebrew: Strong’s H7965 Peace, safe, well, happy, welfare, health, prosperity, whole, sound. I found this expanded meaning of peace comforting and completely descriptive of what many of us desire out of our life. I have also heard it said peace (Shalom) means nothing broken, nothing missing. What a blessing that would be!
Love. English – the word love has many different definitions ranging from a deep affection to affectionate greetings. It may include the ending of a letter, a great interest, something you find pleasure in. The original word used for love is Strong’s H157 ahab (a-hav) in this instance only has one meaning; an affection for.
Law. English– system of rules in a country or community regulating actions of its members and enforced by penalties. Original – word used is Strong’s H8451- tora meaning precept, statute, Decalogue, Pentateuch, or Torah (first 5 books Genesis-Deuteronomy).
Nothing. English- not anything, not a single thing, zero, no value. Strong’s H369 – ‘in (een) meaning: no thing, not existent, less, be gone, naught, without.
Offend. English – Cost to feel upset resentful or annoyed; A person who commits and then legal act; a person or thing that offends, does something wrong or causes problems. Original – miksole (mik-shole’) Strong’s H4383 stumbling block, obstacle, enticement, cause of fall, offence, thing offered, ruin.
In summary, is it possible that this verse with its deepest meaning could technically be understood to mean:
Abundant (abundant, manifold, plenteous) peace
(wellness/wholeness, happiness, health, prosperity
and soundness) have those who love (have great
affection for) the law (God’s precepts, Word, statutes,
Torah) and nothing (no thing, nothing that exists,
be gone, naught) shall offend (be a stumbling block,
caused to fall, be an obstacle, entice, offend, ruin)
Just something to ponder. Is there anything that doesn’t describe what most of us want out of our life contained here?
What if rules and laws are boundaries for our good and protection rather than a set up to manipulate and control us?
If so, this verse tells us exactly how to achieve our hearts desire.
What is God’s law?
When ask about the greatest commandment (Law), Jesus answered:“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:46-40
Proverbs 3:1-2; 3:23
Isaiah 26:3; 32:17; 63:13
May you enjoy grace and peace along your journey!