Sunday, May 29, 2022

Hebrew Word Study: qûṣ Awaken, Waking Up to God's New Thing

What is it like to be lost? Have you ever been lost, maybe out in the woods, or lost while driving, or maybe when you were a child you lost your mom or dad at the store, and you couldn’t find them?

It’s scary right? As you realize you may be lost, you start to get a little bit nervous but you think, no big deal I’m sure I’m not really lost. But more and more you’re fighting back this worried feeling. You try to sort of put a manhole cover of it, but it keeps bursting out, and pretty soon your whole mind is panicked, and confused, and you start wondering, what am I going to do? You start to see scenarios where you are in danger. It’s terrifying, and eventually we can go to full blown panic attack.

I can only imagine that sort of feeling when a woman is walking alone and a scary van pulls up and they try to yank her off and pull her into the van, for who knows what sort of tortures, probably rape, and murder, or being pressed into sex slavery. It’s scary stuff, being lost, being taken away, being helpless.

What about when we’ve woken up from a nightmare, late at night, and we’re covered in sweat, cold, scared, and complete darkness surrounds us, we panic, and reach for the lamp, and how much colder it feels when we pull the lamp cord and the light doesn’t work! Ugh. Then we rush up in frustration and turn on the overhead light.

We go from darkness, to light. We awake from one empty dark reality to a full bright reality where we can see and are safe. And that brings us to our study for today.

Today we’re talking about a Hebrew word that is particularly powerful and deep, it’s qûṣ (pronounced: koots) and it means to “awaken.”

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, “koots; a primitive root (identical with the idea of abruptness in starting up from sleep (compare H3364)); to awake (literally or figuratively):—arise, (be) (a-) wake, watch.”

So the Old Testament often makes use of this word to describe waking up from being sleep, or also waking up after dying, to the next life, sometimes in a negative sense.

But in our scripture today, it’s used in the psalm, psalm 17, verse 15, “But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.”

The song writer is David, and he’s praying a prayer for protection here. And we says at the end of the psalm, this is the last verse of the psalm that though his enemies receive good things in this life, which often the wicked receive good things in this life, David writes, I will see your face in righteousness, when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.

Now what we’re thinking here is that David is probably talking about after he dies, he will awake from death to be satisfied with God’s presence. This is 100% true and it’s the first meaning I want you to see in this Hebrew word.

Firstly, awakening, 
qûṣ (koots) is to indicate to us as believers today, that our reward is not in this life, our reward is in the next life. Don’t wave that off please. When preachers say that, we often think well here we go pie in the sky after I die. I want you to see that the next life, is very real, and practical and physical. It’s real. You should really be spending this life preparing for the next. That’s when life really starts. This is just a temporary journey through a broken land.

Our enemies, the rich the powerful, the elites of our society, the academics and stockbrokers and all them, they have their reward in this land, fancy cars, beautiful houses, beautiful women, men, to choose from, drugs, alcohol, parties, all that, but it’s so incredibly temporary. And in the next life, they will awake, to surprise, to a dark room, with no lamp to light. And it’s a tragedy, because they are blind to spiritual truth.

So yes, we know, gloriously, and I work my whole life to this point, when we will see God face to face and behold His glory, and we’ll receive our reward for faith in Christ and our good works on the Earth. That’s wonderful.

But I also want you to see in awaken 
qûṣ (koots) that this is something that happens in our lives today, time and again. The biggest awakening moment for me, was when I became a Christian.

And in preparing this message I was racking my brain trying to figure out, just how do I describe what it feels like to not have Christ as savior. When I think back to those times, when I wandered about the city at night, did drugs, smoked cigarettes, did everything for me, me, me, it seems like a dream, like something far away. Do you remember what it felt like before you knew Christ?

I think I do remember. It was a growing depression in my life. Also a desperation. Quiet desperation. A cloud of anxiety around me. A constant question mark about everything in life, from politics to houses, social norms, people, family, just wondering, what does this all mean? A yearning to know what was wrong with the world. And also a wonder at the beauty of the world. And that cloud of confusion and despair brought me to Christ.

It was to awaken, 
qûṣ (koots), I did not see, but I saw far off in the deep recesses of a broken universe, for a moment I saw Jesus, Jesus could help me, if I just believed that he would, so I did, I believed that Jesus would, and I verbally called out on His name, believing he would help me if he was out there, and I did believe he was really out there… and at that moment, it was like I had woken from a terrible nightmare. The nightmare had been my life. And I woke in the dark room, and someone turned on the lights. And I could see, for the first time in my life, I could see. And now I walk around every day since then, with that light glowing in my heart, and I’m able to see so many thousands of things from philosophy to politics to reason to nature to human relationships, lostness, spiritual warfare all because of that light that glows within me, the light of Holy Spirit, given by Jesus Christ my savior, who turned on the lights so I could see.

qûṣ (koots), awaken, in the context of God’s presence, is something we can experience in this life. Yes, ultimately in the next life after we die, we will see God face to face in complete glory, 24/7 we will be filled fully with the divine joyous presence of God which will make us sing and dance with pleasure and happiness.

But right now, we can “take hold” of that. In the context of Psalm 17:15 David is telling us that he will “take hold” of and cling to God. Chaim Bentorah the author of Hebrew Word Study indicates that given the context of the verse the Hebrew words in use, it might better be translated as: “As for me, while I live on this Earth, I am going to hold on to the presence of God.” And it continues, “When I awake into heaven, I will be satisfied to see His likeness.” The Hebrew word there for “satisfied” is “sava” which is also the word for “seven” or “completeness.” So it won’t be complete until we reach heaven.

When we pray, we will also begin our prayer time not sensing God, he almost feels far off, but after 5 minutes or 10 minutes or 20 minutes of praying and seeking God, something will shift in the spiritual environment around me, and suddenly I sense the presence of God in the room, and I continue praying in great joy. Maybe that’s just one picture of what it’s like to cling to the presence of God, and seek God’s presence in our lives.

So in conclusion today, I just want to read some of the psalm for you, and let it speak to you, about 
qûṣ (koots), to awaken. And as I read it, make it your prayer, that God’s presence would invade this place and take hold of our hearts, as we earnestly seek Him.

Psalm 17 A Prayer for Protection A Davidic prayer.
1 Lord, hear a just cause;
pay attention to my cry;
listen to my prayer—
from lips free of deceit.
2 Let my vindication come from You,
for You see what is right.
3 You have tested my heart;
You have examined me at night.
You have tried me and found nothing evil;
I have determined that my mouth will not sin.
4 Concerning what people do:
by the word of Your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 My steps are on Your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
6 I call on You, God,
because You will answer me;
listen closely to me; hear what I say.
7 Display the wonders of Your faithful love,
Savior of all who seek refuge
from those who rebel against Your right hand.
8 Protect me as the pupil of Your eye;
hide me in the shadow of Your wings
9 from[d] the wicked who treat me violently,
my deadly enemies who surround me.

10 They have become hardened;
their mouths speak arrogantly.
11 They advance against me; now they surround me.
They are determined
to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.

13 Rise up, Lord!
Confront him; bring him down.
With Your sword, save me from the wicked.
14 With Your hand, Lord, save me from men,
from men of the world
whose portion is in this life:
You fill their bellies with what You have in store;
their sons are satisfied,
and they leave their surplus to their children.
15 But I will see Your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.