“Well that just blew my mind!” Slang. Slang has so crept into our vocabulary that we really are not aware of it. Much of our culture’s speech is informal. Some of what we deem casual has robbed the formal vault of Biblical language.
Amen is such a word. Hebrew in origin. We throw it around too freely (in my opinion) and even haphazardly without understanding its true weighted meaning. In biblical times when someone responded with “Amen” they were in essence binding themselves to fulfill certain conditions or conditions were now bound to them. In Deuteronomy 27, on the verge of crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land, the covenant is being reviewed and renewed. Moses offers a list of twelve curses. These statements provide the punishment for disobedience. As each statement is read, it is to be followed by the “Amen” of the people. Their response expresses their affirmation and acceptance of the justice and judgment of God. They were confirming and invoking fulfillment. “We know the terms and we will obey and continue to do so, knowing our violation brings consequences.”
Amen literally means, “so be it.” It is as if slamming the gavel down in a court of law, declaring “TRUTH!” Multiple times when Jesus was speaking, He would declare “For truly…” Or “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5, emphasis mine). This “truly” (or verily) is indeed “amen.” Truth is being declared.
Paul as well used the strong gavel declaring amen – “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36, NLT). This statement is boxed up and labeled – Truth!
Do we really want all that we free and easily declare “Amen” … to be and made binding? What are we committing to? What are we stating as truth? May our speech not be so casual that we inadvertently attach ourselves to something we really do not want to. “Father, ‘set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips.’” (Psalm 141:3)
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrew 10:24)