LAVISH… What Does It Mean?

For many years I have been intrigued by the word lavish. It is not a word that is widely used, yet it has a beautiful meaning.

As an adjective it means: sumptuously rich, elaborate, or luxurious.
As a verb it means: bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities

I even found the meaning of the word as it relates to the Bible on www.definitions.net
Verb: To expend or bestow with profusion; to use with prodigality; to squander
Adjective: Superabundant; excessive

In I John 3:1 the apostle John writes “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
-NIV

Say it out loud with me right now… “LAVISH”
Doesn’t it rather gush out? It is a bit of a messy word when spoken, producing a lot of spit between the “v” and the “ish”.

And that is exactly what it should do, because these definitions could be translated “to gush” and in the verse, “to gush with LOVE”.

Doesn’t that give new meaning to the way in which God has loved us? It is excessive, extravagant, even to the point of squandering it on us because oft-times we don’t appreciate the level and depth of this love He gushes on us.

I find it interesting that the words “prodigality” and “squander” are used in the definition, considering these are the very words used by Jesus in the parable of the Prodigal Son. The younger son asked for his inheritance early and leaves home where he frivolously squanders away his inheritance on the things in life that do not satisfy nor last. He soon finds himself with nothing and, in desperation, decides to return home to beg his father to allow him to work alongside the other hired servants in order to earn room and board. However, upon returning home his father sees him from “afar off” and comes running to meet him. The son doesn’t even get to his plea to be able to work as a hired hand. As he begins asking for forgiveness, his father refuses anything less than that his son be completely restored to his former place in the family.

The son who lavishly spent everything receives his father’s lavish love upon returning home!

And, that is what the Lord does ongoing for us. He lavishes His love upon us, as children of God. …in generous and extravagant quantities, that are sumptuously and luxuriously rich!

Remember – this word gushes. It continuously spills out completely covering what it gushes onto. That is us, you and me. We are soaked in the love God lavishes upon us!

What a beautiful word indeed. LAVISH!

You Take My Breath Away!

I was reading in Psalm 104 last week and had a beautiful insight when I read verse 29 that I want to share with you. The end of this verse says “when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.” – ESV

Now, before you decide this is going to be a real downer post, please stay with me for a few moments. I believe you will be smiling and humming a tune in your spirit by the time you finish reading.

When we describe something of great beauty or grandeur, be it another person or something in nature, we often use the phrase “they/it took my breath away”. To describe this phrase as a word picture, see this in your mind’s eye: as you looked intently upon the person, or thing, you literally could not take another breath because the beauty/grandeur of who or what you were beholding had caused you to gasp – sucking all your breath in suddenly.

That is exactly what God should do to me moment after moment, day after day! …take my breath away. As I gaze upon His glory, His power, His love, His redemption – my breath should literally be sucked in as I BEHOLD Him! Of course, it takes time to behold God in your moments and days. I have written a lot about time – or the lack thereof – but I can think of no better way to spend my time. I pray that I can carve out more moments to behold Jesus my Lord and Savior and Almighty God of the Universe.

As I reflect on the true meaning of this verse – it is the reality that physical death is the permanent loss of breath. When God takes our breath away, life ends.

But, if in those last moments of life, as I behold God…knowing soon I will no longer be beholding from afar, but rather face to face…I cannot help but think of it in terms of “you take my breath away” My hope is that I will be gasping one last time from this earth, in this human body, at His beauty and grandeur! And when I cannot catch another breath, I will shed this human body for a heavenly one. One that never feels pain, or is sick, or grows old – and one that never dies. I will be forever in the presence of God, “then face-to-face” I Corth 13:12

“Lord Jesus, may you take my breath away in the moments and days immediately before me as I behold you. And as the years progress may your beauty and grandeur never cease to take my breath away, till on my final day I gasped one last time as I come into your presence. Amen.”

 

Encouragement and Enrichment from Hymns of Old – Part 3

old hymnal

…a series on words/phrases from old hymns to encourage and enrich. 

“The Love of God”
is a beautiful word picture of how vast and great His love is for us!

The verse below – which is the one I want to focus on – was written by a Jewish Rabbi, Meir Ben Issac  Mehoria, around the year 1000 in a poem titled “Hadamut”.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

The melody, along with the first and second verses and the chorus of this song were written by Frederick M Lehman in 1917.  He was a California businessman who, after losing everything through business reverses, found himself doing manual labor to make enough money to feed himself.  He was inspired to write a song about the love of God after a particularly moving sermon.  However, he was unable to come up with words for more than two verses, and in those days, you simply didn’t write a hymn that had less than three verses.  That sounds very odd to us now – but, that is how it was.   One evening he remembered a poem someone had given him which he had used as a bookmark.  Lehman went to the piano and began to voice the words with the melody he had just written. The words and melody fit together perfectly and soon the song was published.

This last verse has always been my favorite.   Rabbi Mehoria so graphically and beautifully painted a picture of God’s love in words.  There really isn’t anything I can write that will add to these words for they say it ALL!

Take a few minutes out of your busy day and re-read this verse slowly, visualizing each line.  I pray that these word pictures will change your day and perhaps your life as you truly understand how much God loves YOU!