Part 8: Make Straight the Crooked Paths

Letters on Spiritual Formation #8

Make Straight the Crooked Paths

This is article is part of a series of letters on spiritual growth and maturity. To read the previous letter in the series, click here.

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My frame was not hid from you, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes did see my substance, being yet unformed; and in your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
— Psalm 139:15-16

Now we are getting to the crux of the matter. Interior light will dictate exterior actions. As Jesus says, “The type of light you hold inside will heal you or hurt you (Matthew 6:22-23, paraphrased).” So what does this look like? Ancient Hebrew is a pictograph based language. Each letter is represented by an image that has specific meaning. For instance, the letter Dal is the pictograph of a door and the word dal means door. Words in ancient Hebrew are made of a series of images that convey an idea. Why is this important to understand? Because, written right into the Hebrew language is the understanding of what happened to mankind, and from this understanding flows Jesus' purpose.

In the ancient Hebrew language the word translated “evil” in Genesis 2:9 is “ra”:

...In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (ra).

hebrew letter resh

hebrew letter resh

hebrew letter quph

hebrew letter quph

hebrew letter ghah

hebrew letter ghah

hebrew letter resh

hebrew letter resh

The ancient pictograph of the word ra consists of the letter resh, and the letter ghah. The ancient Hebrew letter resh is the image of a man's head and looks like this: 

The letter itself can mean many different things, but in essence it means head. Ghah is an interesting Hebrew letter. It is the pictograph of a twisted rope, and its original meaning was most likely “twisted.” It looked like this:

Right here we find the picture language of what happened to mankind. The word for evil, ra is then  . Just as the word implies, man’s head, or his perception, became twisted. His thoughts became twisted. His soul became twisted.

Ghah is also in the Hebrew word for iniquity, or avon. The word avon basically means to twist, or actions that are twisted. Most words in Hebrew that describe actions associated with darkness include this idea of being bent or twisted.

When mankind ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and subjected creation to darkness, his perceptions became twisted. God did not intend for mankind to be twisted. When he originally conceived of you there was no twistedness in his conception.

tsad

tsad

hebrew letter dal

hebrew letter dal

hebrew letter quph

hebrew letter quph

The Hebrew word for righteous is the word tsadaq. As a pictograph, it utilizes three images that depict straightness; the side of a man (tsad,  ), the door of a tent (dal,  ), and the horizon (quph,  ). Under all the meaning that righteousness and justice have accrued over the years, the base word means to be straight. When God's eyes saw your substance being yet unformed (as David says), that substance was straight.  There was no twistedness within you.

Behold, his soul which is proud is not upright (straight) in him: but the just (tsadaq) shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

The man that determines his own life (the proud soul) is not upright (in other words he is twisted). The just (straight) shall live by faith, his identity is that which is affirmed by God.

What is the clarion call for Jesus' ministry? It is first sounded by John the baptizer; make the crooked paths straight. And in Jesus' own words:

For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few be they that find it. Matthew 7:14 (ASV)

This is the essence of truth. Truth is that which straightens what is twisted. It makes our ways straight. The light within you will either twist or straighten. It will lead to righteousness or licentiousness. It will hurt or heal you. Jesus takes all that is twisted up and begins to make some sense of it. He is the truth. He straightens what is twisted, us. This is why he says the truth will set us free, as well as calling his words spirit and life. As we approach Jesus, and he comes to us, we ought to expect him to define his truth in us.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17

There is nothing twisted within God. He is straight, He is righteousness. As His Spirit becomes entwined with your spirit, you are pulled back into the original “straightness” you were created to express.

This takes growing in relationship with him. What does he say about you? Who does he say you are? Paul's truth, Moses' truth, David's truth, Daniel's truth, and Abraham's truth were all relative to who they were created to be. Paul was the least of sinners, Moses knew God face to face, David was a man after God's heart, Daniel was an interpreter of the mysteries of God, and Abraham was a friend of God. All are true, yet all different.

As you begin to experience God, his truth will un-form you and re-form you. As Isaiah said during an encounter with God, “Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Each of these men thought of themselves differently after God came to them. Moses was a shepherd before experiencing the God whose truth untwists. What did Moses do as his identity began to form around what God had said about him? He led the entire nation out of slavery and stood up to the very people he was terrified of earlier in his life. This formation by truth changed something at the core of who he was. This is the power of the words of Jesus.

Continue Reading Part 9…


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