On “Searchdate” 2019.07.07, the Sunday morning message was sponsored by the letter “Shin.” This wonderful Hebrew letter is very special. It looks similar to our letter “W” and it brings the “sh” sound to words. It is also the first letter of two very special Hebrew words; “Shaddai” and “Shema.”
Shaddai means “Almighty.” It is a powerful word that appears in the Old Testament nearly 50 times, and when paired with “El” (God) gives one of the powerful names of the Holy One; El Shaddai (God Almighty). This phrase was one of several that were to be used in place of the holy and unspeakable name “Yahweh” which you see rendered in the scripture below as the all capitalized word “LORD.”
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless… Genesis 17:1
Shema means “Hear” (and act). It is the first word used in a powerful prayer found in Deuteronomy said by the Hebrews twice a day to center their life on God.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” Deut 6:4-6
The last special word of the day is Shalom which also begins with the letter Shin. It means far more than hello, goodbye, or peace. Sholom carries with it the understanding of completeness, wholeness, health, peace, prosperity, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of discord. It is used in many places throughout the Hebrew scriptures in places like Isaiah 9:6 and Deuteronomy 6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is 9:6
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his face upon you and give you peace.” Num 6:24-26
The Isaiah passage is seen as a prophecy of the One who is to come from the line of King David who will bring wise counsel, be a strong God, an everlasting or eternal father to the people, and a prince of Shalom. The One coming is the Messiah, which in Greek is translated Christos (Christ).
The priestly blessing from Numbers says that Yahweh is the one who blesses and protects, shines his glory and provides grace, will look you in the face, and provides Shalom. Once again, this implies the Messiah because no human can look into the face of Yahweh in the Old Testament, yet Yahweh has a way to do this; by becoming one of us. This is the Christ.
One last thing about the blessing from Deuteronomy. When it is delivered over the people at the end of a synagogue service, the representative of the priestly class (of the tribe of Levi) stands with both hands raised with each in the shape of the letter…you guessed it… Shin!
Leonard Nimoy grew up Jewish in Boston, MA, and he saw this blessing in synagogue as a kid. He suggested to the writers of Star Trek that the Vulcan greeting be a combination of a hand in a particular shape while saying the words:
“Live long and prosper.”
Sounds an awful lot like the definition of the word Shalom!
If you wish to view the message from Searchdate 2019.070.07, click on the link below and find the service form July 7, 2019.