Sep23MonSeptember 23, 2019
The Shema: Love the Lord your God with all your SOUL
The Hebrew word for soul is Nephesh and although it has various expressions/examples, it actually entails the whole of a person. A person doesn’t “have” a soul, a person “is” a soul. A living soul.
One of the descriptions of where the soul is known is in the throat. Interesting. The food that brings life passes through the throat. Words pass through the throat. Songs pulse through the throat. The life, the very essence of a person. The totality of all that we are. Romans 12:1 calls us to “offer up your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true worship.”
We have tended to separate ourselves – our bodies seen as separate from our hearts and minds. Influenced by Greek philosophy, we have a history of thinking of the body as evil with our souls longing to escape away to a heaven where we are freed from the body. But this was not the original Hebrew theology. We are one, every part of us integrated. Our bodies, minds, spirits and hearts are all what make up our souls. And God commands us to love Him back with this whole self.
Psalm 42 contains the words of a man whose soul hungered for God, hungered to love Him and drink from Him, to know God in the middle of his sufferings.
Read Psalm 42:1-3 out loud.
I long to drink of you, O God, drinking deeply from the streams of pleasure flowing from Your presence. My longings overwhelm me for more of You! My soul thirsts, pants, and longs for the living God. I want to come and see the face of God. Day and night my tears keep falling and my heart keeps crying for your help.
What imagery do you relate to? The drink from a pure stream flowing from the actual presence of God? Dry from thirst, panting for even a drop of water? Longing to see God’s face – so much so that tears of longing fall down the face?
Read the verses again. Notice your body. Remember which imagery stands out to you. Where do you feel this in your body? In your throat? In your chest? Somewhere else? Allow yourself to sit with an awareness of where the longing is in your body for a bit.
Read the verses one last time. Attach the imagery with a word or phrase from the verses, continuing to be aware of your body. Open yourself to hear the invitation from God as you sit with the word with your whole self – with your soul. In the silence, don’t try and figure it out. Just be open to what God will say, show, or invite you into. It could be that He will tell you that He sees your longing. It could be He may show you where you are blocked from receiving. It could be that He will increase your longing to love Him with your soul. He could simply give you peace in these beautiful moments you spend with Him.