February 17, Sunday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“AMEN!”

Exodus 4:29-31

Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Though I did not grow up in a religious household, as a young child, I often felt an urge to pray almost every night. Usually, I would pray for trivial things like good grades or so that I won’t have nightmares. Though I had limited knowledge of prayer, I knew you had to end the prayer with the word “amen,” thinking that not ending that way would be like not saying goodbye and not hanging up the phone after a conversation – you’d be leaving the other person hanging!

So, why do we say amen after we pray? Most of us have probably heard that amen basically means “yes” or “I agree.” However, I want to dig into this word a bit more, as it’s important in our passage. In today’s passage, Moses and Aaron tell the elders of Israel about God’s rescue mission for their people: about how Moses encountered the Lord in the wilderness and how He is going to bring Israel up from Egypt to the Promised Land. After hearing this testimony, verse 31 says that “the people believed.” What does this mean?

The Hebrew word (sorry, nerding again) here for “believed” is vayyamen (ignore that vayy part, it’s just a prefix for past tense). Basically, the people heard the testimony and they amen-ed it. We think of belief as merely cognitive, but for the ancient Hebrews, belief was about agreeing with the Lord’s plan—really, it was about trusting in God’s ways over their own. Belief is saying, “Amen, may Your will be done.” This is what Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane when He said, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Despite His fear, Jesus said amen to God’s plan. Jesus believed in God.

Today, let’s say amen to the Lord! When we pray and say “amen” at the end a prayer, let’s remember that we are saying yes to God, not just a formality to end the prayer. It’s our soul saying, “Lord, Your will and not mine be done in my life. Have Your way.” Then, when the Israelite elders had said “amen,” this resulted in worship (see the end of verse 31). May our trust in God’s way lead us to worship Him more and more, the God who is trustworthy. Let’s all say our amens to Him!

Prayer: Lord, may my soul always say amen to You. May my belief be more than just intellectual; rather, may my whole being agree with You and Your ways. Help me to trust You over myself. May Your will be done in my life, always. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 5

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