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Bible Words You Need to Know- “To Be” (hayah)

March 22nd, 2012 | Posted by J. Brent Eaton in Bible words
"Now the word of Yahweh came to me, saying," Jeremiah 1:4 WEB

The majority of translations render  the Hebrew word hayah in this verse as "came." This is unfortunate. The root meaning of hayah is "to be," not "to come." The reason for the us of the word "came" is that it makes sense in a sentence. If this were translated literally, it would read: "Now the word of Yahweh was to me, saying." It doesn't flow well, but it has a lot of meaning packed in it.When you look at Jeremiah's call to ministry, you will notice how different it is than Isaiah's. We find no winged creatures, smoke, or shaking thresholds in Jeremiah's recollection of God's call to him. Just because it was not flashy does not mean it was not significant.

Jeremiah recognized God's word in his heart over time. How do we know? The word hayah tells us so. It appears in verses 2, 3, 4, 11, and 13. It's not until verse 6 that we find the word "said" attributed to God.God worked in Jeremiah's life over the course of time to bring the young man to the realization a calling and purpose for life. It was not an instantaneous vision; it was a process.

Most of us can identify more with Jeremiah than with Isaiah. God works in and through people, circumstances, prayer, scripture reading, and any number of other influences to teach us what His will is for us. The goal for us is this: are we alert and sensitive to God's word as it comes (is) to us? Are we willing to respond positively when we understand Him?Jeremiah had a long and challenging ministry, but he fulfilled it with great vigor. Will you?

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