A 365 Day Devotional Journal
Scripture: Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-13; Proverbs 15:30; 13:4; Psalm 36:8-9, 37:4.
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.”1
The word translated in verse two as abundance is one of those Old Testament words that intrigue me. It is the Hebrew word, deshen, דשן [ Strong’s H1880], meaning fat ashes, as in the ashes of victims mixed with the fat (of the sacrifice). It can also mean fatness of fertility or blessing (fig.) Gesenius’s Lexicon says of Isaiah 55:2 that it refers to “fertility, abundance” and mentions that “ashes were also used by the ancients for fattening, manuring the fields. See Plin. Xvii. 9.” The noun derives from the verb root, dashen [Strong’s H1878], meaning “to be fat, grow fat, become fat, become prosperous, anoint.”2
(Remember the earlier devotionals on having a hearing ear? Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this passage states “The invitation is published with an Oyez-Ho, take notice of it. He that has ears to hear let him hear.”3)
Proverbs 15:30 states that “good tidings make the bones fat.”4
Say what? Who wants fat bones?
The ancients obviously had a different meaning attached to “fat” than we do today. Fat is considered a very bad thing today and is associated with gluttony and all sorts of other negative issues. In some circles, “fat” is treated like a cuss word. The obesity epidemic plaguing the United States and which is tied to a multitude of food marketing practices overshadows our ability to understand its original intent, but it was not always so.
Once upon a time, fatness referred to richness, fertility, or abundance.5 Fat in Proverbs 15:30 meant that good tidings fill the bones with marrow and impart strength, hence to anoint, as in Psalm 23:5.
We have all heard of medical and news reports on the positive effects of laughter. It doesn’t take a whole lot to connect the dots: “good tidings” preceeds laughter. On May 10, 2006, ABC News reported on a study done that showed laughing changes blood chemistry and helps to protect against disease and depression. According to the study, the subject group watching a comedy exhibited an increase of 27 percent in their beta-endorphins, and an increase of 87 percent in their human growth hormone when compared to the group not watching the movie. Beta-endorphins are the feel-good runner’s high and have been proven to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and open up airways. Human growth hormone, which elevates during our sleep cycle, is one of those hormones that reset and optimize the immune system.6
When a burnt offering was pronounced “fat”, it meant that it was acceptable to God.7 This is the same word used in Proverbs 13:4 (and 28:25), “the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”8
Perhaps a better way to explain this word is to look at another Scripture using the same Hebrew word:
“They [the children of men] drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”9
It is easier for me to visualize Heaven and God’s Throne room as being a place of extreme abundance. And again, abundance here literally means “fatness.” So what this Psalm is saying is that I can drink my fill in the overflow of provision in God’s house, and that the Lord gives to me to drink in the river of His delights.
What are God’s delights? Is it everything that has to do with Him – His nature, His character, His presence?
It is that and more.
The Hebrew word we translate “delights” here is ‘eden, עֵדֶן [Strong’s H5730]. It appears in the plural in two places – Psalm 36:8 and 2 Samuel 1:24 and means “luxury, dainty, delight, finery.”10 The word is related to ‘Eden [Strong’s H5731], meaning “pleasure” and which is the site of the Garden God planted for Adam and Eve. You may read about it in Genesis 2:10-14.11 Both of these Hebrew words come from the same root word, ‘adan, [Strong’s H5727], meaning “to luxuriate, delight oneself.”12
Returning to Isaiah 55 and applying this knowledge, I can see that lasting abundance is given when I content (delight) myself in the Lord’s pleasures. The Amplified puts it this way:
“WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].”13
How does that delight-in-the-Lord verse go?
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”14
While the Hebrew word here translated as “delight” is not the same, I cannot help but compare the two Psalms. Delight in this verse is ‘anag, ענג [Strong’s H6026], and is a primitive verb root meaning to “take exquisite delight.”15
The English word, exquisite, originates from the early 15th century meaning “carefully selected.” It derived from Latin, exquisitus, meaning “carefully sought out,” therefore “choice.” The modern sense of the word is “of consummate and delightful excellence.”16 The word, delight, refers to “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture.”17
That old praise song from the 1970’s, the one pulled from Song of Solomon 1:4, said
“We will rejoice in You and be glad.
We will extol Your love more than wine.
Draw me after you and let us run together.
We will rejoice in You and be glad.”18
I find it of singular interest that the garden God planted in Eden, a place called pleasure, echoes the desire of God for us to take exquisite delight in Him. Do you see the interplay originally intended by our Creator? And do you find yourself, like me, wondering how in the world we managed to mess up something as beautifully simple as this divine exchange of delight?
When was the last time I took exquisite delight in the Lord?
Read: Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-13; Proverbs 15:30; 13:4; Psalm 36:8-9; Psalm 37:4. Journal your private thoughts.
Abba, Father, I choose to press into more of You, to take exquisite delight in You, not for anything You may choose to give me, but simply because of who You are. You have already freely give me eternal life. I love you, Lord. Amen.
1Isaiah 55:2-3. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for deshen (Strong’s 1880)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1880&t=NASB
3Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible. Isaiah 55:1-2. Public Domain. Bible Gateway. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%2055&version=NASB (accessed June 23, 2011).
4Proverbs 15:30. ASV, public domain.
5fatness. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fatness (accessed: June 23, 2011).
6ABC News: Laughter May Indeed Be the Best Medicine. Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures. May 10, 2006. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/print?id=1942224 (accessed June 23, 2011).
7Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for dashen (Strong’s 1878)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1878&t=NASB
8Proverbs 13:4. ASV, public domain.
9Psalm 36:8-9. Parenthetical insert mine. Scripture quotation taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
10Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `eden (Strong’s 5730)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5730&t=NASB
11Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `Eden (Strong’s 5731)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5731&t=NASB
12Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `adan (Strong’s 5727)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5727&t=NASB
13Isaiah 55:1-2. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
14Psalm 37:4. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org.
15Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `anag (Strong’s 6026)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6026&t=NASB
16exquisite. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/exquisite (accessed: June 23, 2011).
17delight. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/delight (accessed: June 23, 2011).
18”We will Rejoice.” Author of W&M unknown. Copyright unknown.
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise