Why is the fear of the LORD—the worship of the LORD—the beginning of the Wisdom that overcomes the angst of the human condition? (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Because the Joy of the LORD is our strength! (Nehemiah 8:10). Because Jesus proclaims that he came so that Humanity can have life and enjoy life to the full. (John 10:10). No wonder that, on the night Jesus was born, an angel of the LORD proclaimed: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:9-10 KJV).
My friends who follow the teachings of Buddha will speak of “suffering” as inherent in the human condition. But I think the term is better translated into English as “frustration.”
One of the difficulties that missionaries face is how to translate words and concepts into other languages, cultures and religions.
For example, when people use the English word “god” or “God”, it automatically is associated with beliefs of Greeks and Romans about “gods” and with beliefs of Jews and Christians about “God”.
When I hear the English word “suffering”, I think about the pain I felt when I slipped and fell on ice, breaking my ankle bones in three places. The white light from the pain exploded in my brain like it was the Death Star blowing up in Star Wars.
Similarly, my scar left from the surgery to fix my ankle would re-open periodically off and on for many years. With each step, it felt as if a knife was being thrust into my scar.
Only then did I understand the truth behind the saying, “Don’t open old wounds!”.
I simply don’t believe that the wisdom found in many intellectual, philosophical or theological traditions means “suffering” in this sense of intense pain.
In contrast, I think the English word “frustration” captures the angst about the human condition expressed by the wisdom found in many intellectual, philosophical and theological traditions.
In the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes writes about this kind of “suffering”—this kind of frustration. The author wrote:
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless”
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
What is the answer to this kind of “suffering”—these kinds of intellectual, philosophical and theological frustrations?
Why is the fear of the LORD—the worship of the LORD—the beginning of the Wisdom that overcomes the angst of the human condition? (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Because the Joy of the LORD is our strength! (Nehemiah 8:10).
Because the LORD God created everything, including Humanity, and it was good, it was very good! (Genesis, chapters 1 and 2).
Because the LORD proclaims through Moses and the Prophets—and through his hesed for Israel and Jews—that God is:
“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands [of generations], and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7).
Because Jesus proclaims that he embodies hesed—these ideals of the Law of Moses and the Prophets. (Matthew 5:17; John 10:30,37-38).
Because Jesus proclaims that he came so that Humanity can have life and enjoy life to the full. (John 10:10).
Because the Spirit of the LORD, who the Father sends in the name of Jesus, teaches us all things—including all Wisdom—by reminding us of everything Jesus said and did. (John 14:6-17,26; 15:26; 16:13-15).
No wonder that, on the night Jesus was born, an angel of the LORD proclaimed:
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:9-10 KJV).
No wonder that, on the night Jesus was born, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
goodwill to [everyone]. (Luke 2:13-14 KJV)
The word hesed in Hebrew is translated a number of ways in English:
—Faithfulness. (Psalm 117:2 NIV).
—Love. (Psalm 136 NIV).
—Mercy. (Psalm 136 KJV).
—Steadfast love. (Psalm 136 ESV; Exodus 34:6-7).
—Lovingkindness. (Psalm 136 NASB).
—Kindness. (Micah 6:8).
Since no one English word captures the richness of the Hebrew word hesed, I used the word hesed in this blog, and in my other blogs listed below.
For more of my thoughts about the hesed of the LORD God, please read my blogs “The Hesed of the LORD Endures Forever”, “Hesed Saves and Nurtures Baby Moses”, “Hesed Saves Israel—Passover”, “Hesed Nurtures Israel—From the Red Sea to Mount Sinai”, “Hesed Nurtures Israel—Mount Sinai”, “Hesed Establishes the Work of Moses’s Hands—Mount Nebo”, “Hesed Blesses Forever—David”, “Walking Humbly With Hesed—Micah”, “Hoping in Hesed—Jeremiah”, “Hesed Returns Israel to Jerusalem”, “Jesus Embodies Hesed—The Vision of Isaiah”, “Jesus Embodies Hesed—Fulfilling the Law of Moses and the Prophets”, and “Jesus Embodies Hesed—Saving Lost Sheep, Lost Coins, and Lost Sons”.