A black bird perches in a ruined stone window opening as the morning light falls on the stones; in the distance mist covers the hills. Words over the top "The God who ceases (a poem)" Faith in Grey Places

The God who ceases (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

I was feeling particularly groggy this weekend (hence this post is late), so I thought I’d look at the verb to rest. It’s an easy one, being שׁבת / shavat, andsharing the same root as the word ‘Sabbath’.

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Picture of night sky with purple tint, showing stars and galaxies. Words over the top: The God who creates (a poem). Faith in Grey Places.

The God who creates (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

Today the verb I’m looking at is ברא / bara. It means to create, but unlike other Hebrew words for forming, making or doing, bara is a theological term. The subject is invariably God. 

That is, only God creates. 

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Large criss-crossing wooden beams lit up by sunlight. Text over the top: The God who builds. Faith in Grey Places

The God who builds (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

This week I’ve chosen to write on the Hebrew verb בּנה / banah (the ‘a’ vowels are both long). I became curious about this verb because it reminds me of the Hebrew word for son: בֵּן / bein. It was almost as if there was an association between building up one’s house and having sons. 

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Low sunlight in the background lighting up a flower in the foreground. Text over the top: The God who shines (a poem)

The God who shines (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

Today the verb I’m looking at is אוֹר / or (it’s pronounced just like the English words “or” and “awe”). Depending on the stem, it can mean to be/become light/bright, to be illumined, or to give light.

I first came across this word when I heard a song in Hebrew based on Isaiah 60: arise, shine, your light has come. I learned the words, “Kumi, ori” and I couldn’t help but think of the word ‘orient’ and the sun rising in the East. Ironically, the Latin root of the English word, oriri, isn’t to do with shining but rather rising. (And if you’re joining the dots: yes, kumi is the same word Jesus uses when he raises Jairus’ daughter).

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Close up of lots of grain spilling into a basket. Words: the God who provides. Faith in Grey Places

The God who provides (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

One of the texts my class looked at as part of our Hebrew module last month was 1 Kings 17. It’s the story of Elijah pronouncing a time of drought over Israel and then fleeing from King Ahab (and his wife Jezebel). In short, it’s a time of political turmoil; Ahab has been thoroughly corrupt, encouraged the worship of Baal and persecuted the prophets of God. And after delivering the bad news about the drought, Elijah flees.

When I was translating this passage, I came across this word: לְכַלְכֶּלְךָ / l’chalkelcha. Or LKLKLK. In Hebrew, the letters L and K can denote two very common prepositions – and indeed the first L is a preposition. I also knew that the last K was a second person singular suffix – in other words, “you” was the object of the verb. But I could not for the life of me figure out what this word was.

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A woman's bare feet standing on bronze coloured sand with words over the top: "The God who stands (a poem)" Faith in Grey Places

The God who stands (a poem)

I’m back from my break and starting a new series!

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m going to write 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs. 

The first one I’m looking at is עמד a.mad (all the ‘a’ vowels are long). It means ‘to stand’ but can also mean ‘to endure’ and has strong connotations with service and ministry. Essentially, ‘to stand before’ or ‘to stand in the presence of’ was an idiom meaning ‘to serve.’

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