Sometimes things just speak to you right where you’re at. Perhaps this blog will do that for someone today as the following words did for me.
Psalm 51:12 is a well-loved verse that usually reads something like this: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (ESV)
Even though I’m still a level-A German speaker, I love entering the text of the Luther Bible into Google Translate. I’m often blessed. In English word order, here’s what it says: “Comfort me again with Your help, and equip me with a joyful spirit.” Another way it can be translated (and imagine me saying this a little louder for those in the back) is: “Comfort me again with Your help, and arm me with a joyful spirit.”
I really needed to hear that today. Our lives are a battle, aren’t they? I’m not even talking about spiritual warfare, although I could and this can definitely apply there! I’m just talking about some of the stuff we have to fight through day to day, or season by season. I’ve been in an ugly season, a season which I go through from time to time. Those who know me know I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression and toxic thought patterns my whole life. I could also talk about maturing spiritually. It’s an uphill climb as we are stretched and taken out of our comfort zone.
I’ve been listening to Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen on Audible. She talks about how beautiful things make us stop what we’re doing, leave our self-centered thoughts for a moment, and stand in awe. It also makes us open up and want to share the beauty with other people. Beauty brings us to other people. Hold that thought for a moment as I go back to the scripture.
Not content with German, I headed to Blue Letter Bible and decided to look up the word that Luther translated “joyful,” which in English versions is usually translated “willing.” God continued to open this scripture to me and connected everything in the most beautiful way.
I’ll summarize what I got from Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon when I arrived at BLB: the Hebrew word our English Bible translates as “willing” can mean spontaneous, ready, or voluntary. It can also refer to giving spontaneously or being generous. It is connected with the idea of liberality in giving. It can also refer to readiness and liberality of mind, and can be used to apply to nobility, “from the original idea of a leader and ruler… applied to those virtues which become a prince.”
Some translations use this verse to talk about God’s generous and free Spirit, rather than our own spirit. That too is something to hold onto as I come back to our role in all this. Beautiful things make us stop what we’re doing, get out of our self-centered thoughts, and stand in awe. It opens us up, makes us look outward and suddenly we want to share the beauty with other people.
As we experience more of the beauty, kindness, and love of God, it begins to equip or arm us with that joy Luther was talking about. My prayer is that anyone who reads this will begin to experience God this way. I’ll be honest and speak from personal experience, a lot of us don’t see God in that light. We see God as someone who wants to micromanage us, hurt us, or who can’t be trusted. Someone who demands performance in exchange for His love. Even though I’ve walked with Him for many years, I will confess that I am only now truly learning that none of these things are true.
In closing, there are a number of “un-” words that Dr. David Jeremiah uses to describe God’s love for us. I may have added a few, I can’t tell, my notes are a mess!
uncaused, unprompted, uninfluenced (not performance based), unreasonable (in a good way — think of the song “Reckless Love”), unending, unlimited, unchanging, uncomplicated
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