Wednesday, 3 August 2016
Psalm 120 - Having a heart for Shalom
Psalm 120:6-7 "My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace. I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war." NKJV
As you can see, the Scriptures for today are the last 2 verses of Psalm 120. The first noun in verse 6 is "Nafshi", which means "my soul". A Nefesh is a soul. Of course, we know that man is 3 in 1 (body, soul and spirit). Actually, many orthodox Jewish people say the human soul has a 3 in 1 itself.
These three are the Neshama (from the Hebrew word "neshama", meaning breath), the Ruach (spirit but literally, "wind"), and the Nefesh (from the Hebrew word "nafash", meaning he rested). Two of these are mentioned in Genesis 2:7
"And the Lord God formed (the Hebrew word translated as formed is a word that means "was inclined to" or "felt the urge to" make) man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (neshama) of life; and man became a living soul (nefesh)." KJV
The third (not mentioned in Genesis 2:7) part of the soul is the "ruach" which is mentioned first in the Bible in Genesis 1:2 as the "spirit" or "ruach" of God. Our soul is our innermost being that is our awareness and intellect. The Psalmist is bemoaning the fact that he is living among a wicked and perverse generation. (Yeshua also acknowledged this in Matthew 16:4.) We are called to live among people of faith.
Galatians 6:10 "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." NKJV
We are called to be a people who are "for peace". Let's get used to using words for "Shalom" other than peace. Some of these better translations are wholeness, completeness, lacking nothing, perfection, and fully satisfied.
Being fully satisfied is exactly the opposite of wanting to devour another. Devouring another is the root meaning of the Hebrew word "Milchama" which is translated as war. So the message of the first Psalm of ascent is to desire or surround ourselves with people who want God's principles and avoid people who lie, stir up strife, and want to fight. The Tree of Life version of the Bible captions Psalm 120 "I Am for Shalom."
Rabbi Michael Weiner,