“Hark! The herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king”. I know, these are lyrics to a Christmas song - do not worry, I have not lost my mind (yet -😊). I am well aware that we are about to crossover into springtime. Plus, this is not an old holiday post from my blog that I pulled from my computer files because I am running out of topics either (thankfully, the Holy Spirit keeps my fingers tapping on this keyboard with His ideas). This is a post about words. I love words; especially words that have powerful meanings. For example, in the lyrics above, I am sure you know “Hark” means: to listen/to pay close attention; however, there is another word that has a similar meaning and even sounds close to it, but its meaning entails so much more: it is Hearken.
To clarify, recently, while reading Isaiah, I came across this word in both Chapter 48:18 and Chapter 51:1.
“Oh, that you had hearkened to My commandments! Then your peace and prosperity would have been like a flowing river, and your righteousness [the holiness and purity of the nation] like the [abundant] waves of the sea”. (Amplified Bible Classic Edition).
“Hearken to Me, you who follow after rightness and justice, you who seek and inquire of [and require] the Lord [claiming Him by necessity and by right]: look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the hole in the quarry from which you were dug”.
When I first read this word, I wondered why it did not say, “Hark, listen, or pay attention”. Why did this version choose the word Hearken? Well, I think the answer is found in its 3 meanings.
2. To give respectful attention
3. To bring to mind something in the past.
God is the Creator of words and the Creator of the Bible. However, sometimes translations are lost when certain Biblical versions insert/replace words for a better understanding. Reread the scripture verses above and imagine God’s powerful plea:
1. Listen, give respect attention, and recall from the past My commandments.
2. Listen, give attention, and recall to Me, you who follow after rightness and justice.
All three meanings added to these verses bring them alive, and you feel them reach down into your heart. It creates a heart-to-heart connection with God.
Moreover, when I look at the word Hearken, I see the word, “heart”. God’s heart has such a deep love for us that it is so much more than we can even fathom. It is an Agape love: a sacrificial love that binds (another word lost in translation-which you may see in a future post 😊). It was Christ’s Agape (love) for humankind that brought Him to the cross. Therefore, when we listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, give respectful attention to God’s Holy Bible, and bring to mind Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, we can be confident in knowing that our eternal future is guarenteed.
Now that is worth singing: “Heark, the hopeful people sing-glory to the eternal king!”
(Heark is spelled incorrectly for effect!)
* Hearken | Definition of Hearken by Merriam-Webster (merriam-webster.com)