This week I am continuing to look at the Hebrew letters that comprise the word asah which is the word translated “make” in Isaiah 45:7: “I make peace”. The second or middle letter is the Shin. I’ve already touched on Shin as it also appears in the Hebrew word for darkness. Shin is an interesting letter and, the more I look at it, the more interesting I find it.
I’ve already shared how the word Shin (spelled Shin Yod Nun) means urine and dropping the Yod gives Sen (Shin Nun) which means chew, tooth, or claw. A resource I found online likened the three arms of Shin (ש) to teeth and Mr. Haralick writes, “With the chewing of the teeth the breakdown and digestion of the food we eat begins. This food when digested and metabolized is the energy source enabling us to think, speak, and do. The waste products of the metabolization process are released by breathing and in urine. This tells us that Shin represents the totality of an overall process, one that is Shalem, whole, entire, intact, complete, integral, full, and perfect, by which we have the energy to do.”
I won’t repeat everything I wrote about Shin during my study of darkness. Suffice for this post, the idea of completeness I saw during that portion of the study can, I think, be summed up in Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light and His light and life in us will consume all the ways of darkness-thought processes, identities, false ideas of who God is, etc-that once held us captive.
I am focused on the idea of consuming I see in Shin. I’ve found resources that liken its shape to teeth but also found resources that say its shape is that of flames and that Shin is a letter of fire. Shin is found in esh (spelled Aleph Shin) which is the Hebrew word for fire. Mr. Bentorah writes, “The three upraised arms are flames of holy fire. The word for sun in Hebrew is Shemesh which begins and ends with a Shin. The Shin kindles a fire Sh’viv, the Shin brings heat Sharav. The Shin represents the kindling, flame, and heat of a fire. A fire is considered a passion, a fiery passion and thus the Shin reminds us of the fiery passion of God.”
Mr. Bentorah goes on to speak of the components of Shin. He writes that the right arm of the Shin is a Yod, the left side is a Zayin and the middle arm is a Vav. He says the Shin brings the Zayin, Vav, and Yod into balance and harmony and this thus representative of the balance and harmony we can have with God. I found two other resources which differ and tell me all three arms are Vav’s topped by Yod’s and each Vav arm attaches to the base of Shin which is also a Yod. The 3 Vav’s and 4 Yod’s make the 7 components of Shin and 7 is the number of Spiritual Perfection. Who is correct? To me, it doesn’t matter. I find both harmonious. Our God makes peace and the Shin in the middle of asah reveals how that peace is made a reality in us through His Holy Spirit.
In John 14 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (verse 27). Jesus speaks these words directly after saying, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (verse 26). Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16 declare Jesus as the One who will baptize us “with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. Peace is listed as a component of the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. Christ loves us, gives Himself for us, and we are sanctified and cleaned by the water and the word (Ephesians 5:25-26). God declared to Jeremiah His word was like fire (Jer. 23:29).
Deuteronomy 4:24 describes God as a “consuming fire”. This is quoted by the Writer to the Hebrews in Chapter 12: “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Verses 25-29).
The Epistle to the Hebrews opens with, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His son…” and then the Writer admonishes “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.” Jesus Christ, The Word come to us from the Father, the Word like Fire. Everything He is He is in us by the indwelling of His Spirit. Every Word He spoke from before time is brought to our remembrance by His Spirit. His Spirit opens our ears to hear every word He continues to speak. He is a consuming fire and He baptizes us with His Spirit and that same fire.
The Writer to the Hebrews also says “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God” (Heb. 10:31). Reading this within its context and then considering the chastening described in Chapter 12 can leave us with the idea that we ought to be scared of this God who is a consuming fire. But, as I carefully look through the passage I’ve already quoted, I see that the things being shaken and removed are done so in order that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. The chastening is the correcting of ideas and the behaviors that result from them so that I think and behave in harmony with the life of Christ within me.
Malachi 3:2-3 says, “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver…” Our God is a consuming fire and that fire does burn through our lives purging the dross. The experience isn’t pleasant at times and yet our God is good. He doesn’t burn us to the ground in order to make us up new. His life is formed in us and we are being changed from glory to glory. He is a consuming fire but that fire is the intense passion of agape love. It is a consuming love that woos and restores and, when the Spirit opens our eyes to Him, we long to be consumed and our cry is “Purge me that I might be clean”!
It is an awesome thing to fall into the hands of the living God and my security and confidence comes from knowing that He will not leave me helpless nor forsake me nor relax His hold upon me. Assuredly not! (Hebrews 13:5, Amplified) The Shin reveals to me my identity as one who lives in harmony with Father and Son through the Spirit. His fiery passion burns within me and I know that when He has tried me I shall come forth as gold.
Unless noted otherwise, all scriptures are quoted from The New King James Version of The Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
Bentorah, Chaim, Hebrew Word Study: Beyond the Lexicon, Trafford Publishing, 2014, Pages 130-134
Haralick, Robert M., The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters, Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale, New Jersey, 1995, Pages 229-240