Friday, September 20, 2013

Beekeeping and the Mystery of God

My grandfather was a beekeeper. Now that may seem like an interesting occupation, but it wasn't just that for him. He had a passion for bees. For many reasons, he was enamored with this teddy-bear insect and chose to spend his life tending them. He loved them so much that he didn't wear a bee-suit to protect himself against stings, believing that getting stung was good for the health. I suppose I can't doubt that, since he lived to the ripe, old age of 83 in a life filled with preaching the gospel (he was also a pastor in Communist Romania) and leaving a godly legacy that has impacted, to this date, four generations of Christians.

When asked what he wanted on his grave, he told them to put a bee on it. Recently, I had the honor of visiting, for the first time, his gravesite. As I sat back and thought on his life, I saw engraved into his headstone:

Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name. (Psalm 91)
As I sat down to write this post, I looked for that verse once again. The only version that had what I was looking for in this verse was the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, a translation I had never read. So whether or not this is truly accurate to the original manuscript, I cannot say. What I can say is that the word that is used here is very interesting, and captured my thought.

"Cleave." It's kind of an old word that means, "stick fast to, or adhere strongly to (a particular pursuit or belief)." It's the word that Genesis 2 uses when commanding that a man "leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Pretty simple, right? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Check this definition out. "Cleave: split or sever (something), esp. along a natural line or grain, make a way through (something) forcefully, as if by splitting it apart."

One word. Two exactly opposite meanings. Defined by context.

One God. King of opposites. Experienced in context.

God is love, yet His wrath is just as furious. Christ was king over all of existence, but was born in a feeding trough. He is the God of peace, but is soon to annihilate Satan by the word of His mouth.

Contradictions? No, I don't think so. It think this is one of those things that was told to the prophet Isaiah:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55)
This is a God of mystery, too wonderful to understand. The human heart which longs for the unknown and hidden things of this life, finds its rest in God, where every desire to see something bigger, and more inexplicable is satisfied.

After all, as my pastor once said, "If I could fully understand God, He wouldn't be God."


"cleave" can be interpreted to "he has loved" or all in one word, "chashaq" in Hebrew

Hmmm, seems to give even more meaning to the article. Thanks Caleb!

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