My favorite word in all the Bible is repentance. It took me far to many years to understand this word and the fullness of it’s meaning. When I finally got it, I was floored beyond measure! I was so shocked to realize “repentance” is muli-faceted and more powerful than I ever knew!
Repentance is actually one of the most wonderful and beautiful gifts God has given His children. The Hebrew word for “repent” is so fascinating. Literally, it means “to turn” or “to turn about.” Most of us have heard this by now. What we don’t see is the even deeper meaning of the language that just makes that simple meaning explode! There are actually 2 words that translate as “repent, repentance”, shuwb and nachum. The first one, shuwb, is the one we usually refer to when we talk about “turning”. It is made up of two letters: Beyt and Sheen. Sheen is literally (pictorially) represented by teeth and means “to consume, press, destroy.” Beyt is pictorially shown as a house or a tent. Sheen Beyt (shuwb) points to the picture of “destroying or burning of the house or tent” It can be transliterated as literally meaning “burn or destroy the place you are living in then turn around and leave.”
Just think about that for a moment in the context of what we know about repentance already. Not just turning around but torching the place first! That kinda takes it in a more intense direction does it not? The idea being we purposely destroy the comforts and security our house/tent provided so that we can’t return there to live! It is possible to return to the ashes of destruction, living in waste and want but the better idea is to leave the place and never return.
Step back a second with me and view this scene in the context of your life. Where are you living? When we are honest, we will admit many of us have built houses or pitched tents in areas we do not need to be in! Think past the “obvious” sins most people come up with and get to the heart of it: idolatry/false refuge, judgementalness, critical spirit, self-righteousness, PRIDE, unrighteous anger, offense, unforgiveness (a BIG one!), hardness of heart, accusation/slander…we all have these tents and more. We all have built these houses. Some of our houses and tents are passed on to us unknowingly. Our ancestors were so comfortable there they forgot they were camped out in sin and we picked up their habits and beliefs and kept them.
Pride stops us and wants us to think we are not really living in the filthy desecration of sin. But the truth is we have not only built our houses and pitched out tents, we have filled them with all the latest comforts to make our stay more palatable. We excuse and justify our sin. We point to others and never evaluate our own selves through the Truth of God’s Word.
“ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
The Lord cries out from His mercy seat, “Resist the lies! They are sent to keep you ensnared and in bondage!” For the sake of Jesus Who was whipped and pierced, Who shed his very own blood to set us free, open your eyes and see! We all need a Savior. We all need Jesus. Not one of us is exempt. We desperately need to be rescued from our own (and our family’s) sinful rubbish and that is where the miracle of repentance comes in.
This beautiful, beautiful gift is so amazing! We acknowledge the truth, burn down our “house”, turn away from it and BAM we are back in the arms of the most loving, compassionate, gracious Father ever! It truly is the most beautiful gift! The enemy would like to scare us away from repentance with shame or condemnation, but instead it is a time of gratitude and joy! It is us going from death to life; from bondage to freedom! But the beauty of repentance isn’t finished yet; not only does it set us free, it’s a war cry! When we repent, we take away the enemy’s right to accuse us. Immediately, that right is stripped and we are set free from whatever he had on us!
Repentance is the key to freedom from all that ensnares you!
Jesus did the hard work of making the way for us through the cross. When He presses us to repent – to burn that comfortable house we’ve constructed – and turn to Him, He is really setting us up for deliverance and freedom from the death and destruction that very house was built on! Even more, we need to understand He wants to set us free from that desecration and slavery and bring us into true life with Him! He is a good and loving Father who is calling us to repent so He can undo all the mess satan has set up for us. We just have to do that simple (but oh so hard) part of resisting the devil, stepping back, looking at our lives rightly and lighting the match. Then, beloved child, turn away from the fire and run to Jesus!
Celebrate the kindness of God because it always leads us to repentance! (Romans 2:4).
God is on the mercy seat looking for every way possible to show us mercy. He points out our sin to tell us, “Look at this with Me. If you will only repent I can remove that from you and set you free!”
What amazing love! What amazing grace!
Follow this link to see a video that explains repent (shuwb) in Hebrew!