Talking About God

Use of GOD’s name in conversation. In Anglo-Saxon lands the name of GOD is seldom mentioned in daily conversation except by those who are profane. But among the Arabs of Bible lands, GOD’s name is constantly on the lips of these people. An astonished person will exclaim, “Mashallah,” i.e., “What hath GOD wrought!” which is the very expression used by Balaam centuries ago (Numbers 23:23). If a man is asked if he expects to do a certain thing, he will make answer, “If GOD wills.” And this is the kind of answer recommended by James in his Epistle (James 4:15). If a baby is held up that you may admire it, the grandmother will say, “Behold the gift of GOD,” words which are reminiscent of the Psalmist’s declaration, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). When a farmer greets his workers he says to them, “The LORD be with you.” And they will answer him, “The LORD bless thee.” These are the same greetings used centuries ago when Boaz came to his workers (Ruth 2:4). Such pious expressions, of course, could be used so constantly that they become meaningless, and on the lips of insincere people would soon lose their value. But such conversation is a great contrast to what is heard in the West.18 From the days of the patriarchs to the times of the Apostles, daily conversation among the Jews included many references to Deity. No doubt there were insincere lips that spoke the name of GOD carelessly, but when this custom was carried out by godly people, how beautiful it was! The Book of Ruth has a number of examples of such conversation, as for example, when Naomi’s women friends exclaimed: “Blessed be the Lord!” (Ruth 4:14). It would be well if modern Christians had more of GOD in their daily conversation.

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