What does it mean to love God “with all of your strength”? In this week’s Bible study, we will explore the Hebrew word underneath this phrase. And spoiler alert: “strength” is only one of many ways this rich word could be translated!
How did the video expand your understanding of the word me’od?
What do we have much of? Our “muchness,” or how much we have, can easily become what we love. But God calls us instead to use all that we are and have to love him and others. When we use our muchness in this way, it receives the joy and security of God’s own muchness and becomes even more valuable.
What did you observe as you read the passage? What beliefs and responses do you think this passage is inviting you to?
Think of all the experiences, challenges, talents, relationships, possessions, time, and health that you have. This is what you can think of as your muchness. List three to five specific examples of your muchness.
Sometimes we think our muchness is not very much, so we anxiously hoard it. Next to each of the things you listed in the above question, write one way you might be prone to worry.
How do these worries hinder you from using your muchness to love God and others?
Take some time now to admit your worries to God in prayer.
There’s a word used only in the opening pair of lines and in the last pair of lines. It’s the word “strength.” In the opening lines, the spiritual world is being called to recognize Yahweh is more powerful, and to acknowledge that He has strength. Actually, look at these closing lines. “Yahweh sits enthroned over the flood.”
Why are we talking about the flood? Well, the storm began in the poem over the waters. We see the thunderstorm as this image of the Creator’s power; He’s obviously even more powerful. These final lines are drawing theological implications for us: if the storm is powerful over water and land, how much more powerful is Yahweh? But it uses the precise word that’s used in the book of Genesis to describe the flood. Now, as we think back to floods, our mind is drawn to the chaos waters of Genesis 1, and we’re reminded that God is the King over chaos.
Chaos is powerful, but Yahweh is more powerful. He also is enthroned as King. Kings aren’t just powerful. They’re powerful over a people. And then that’s the next line. “The Lord gives strength to his people.” The opening line is spiritual beings recognizing the strength of Yahweh. But now Yahweh’s power and strength over all chaotic forces applies directly to the people over which He rules and Yahweh gives His strength to them.
Jesus’s teachings remind us of our value and also of God’s generous provision to help us in times of distress or worry.
Next to each item on your list, write one way God has expressed his care and provision towards you.
Take time now to thank God in prayer.
Consider your list again. What would it practically look like to use your muchness to love God and others? What is one step you can take today? Remember that God is with you, strengthening you to carry it out.
He blesses them with shalom. And that comes out of nowhere, too, because everything’s so chaotic and destructive, and unruly. Then the last line is “Blessing with shalom.”
It’s calming, isn’t it? After all the thunder, He gives strength to His people blessing them with shalom, with peace. In fact, that last line, “the Lord blesses His people with peace” is drawn from the blessing of Aaron in Numbers Chapter 6.
But “May He bless you and keep you, cause His face shine on you,” and then it ends as “May He give you shalom.”