Truth: Emet (Strong’s 571)
Root: אֱמֶ֑ת (aleph, mem, tav). [Sounds like e’MET]
Truth is what you know in your heart to be right and good… and so the best source for truth is God- who is all good, all knowing, and all loving. Deep down, when you are being honest with yourself, your truth and your essence lies within your heart. You can put a facade on for other people but it is not truly you. You can act a part, like your life is a play, but at the curtain’s close who are you left with?
The heart of who you are is your truth. The heart of who God is, is His.
For this reason truth and heart are strongly connected in the Tenakh as it is our source for good living:
1 Samuel 12:24
Samuel: “Only fear YHWH and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
So serving God in truth, means to serve Him with the purest essence of who you are… and it’s okay if the truth of you is not perfect, if it’s struggling with life… as long as you are sincere in your heart, that is all God is asking for:
O YHWH, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
Success in life shouldn’t be bound to things such as money, or fame, or knowledge. Ultimately, truth and kindness are key components to a successful life in the eyes of God:
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Truth and lovingkindness comes from God, and as His children we should reflect these things and share them with others:
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
You, O YHWH, will not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
One of the most Godly Jewish kings was King Hezekiah. At hearing of his prophesied death, Hezekiah calls out to God:
2 Kings 20:2-3
Then he [Hezekiah] turned his face to the wall and prayed to YHWH, saying, “Remember now, O YHWH, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
At this YHWH hears his cry, sees his tears, and heals Hezekiah. Why? Because Hezekiah’s heart was sincere. You see, God knows your heart. He reads your sincerity, or lack of it. So things like going to church out of habit only, putting your time in to be seen by the right people, acting righteously but living dishonestly… that’s hypocritical living and God sees it from miles away.
Lead Me in Truth
Of course it’s not always easy to live in truth, especially when who you are doesn’t reflect how others see you or want to see you. Praying for YHWH to lead you in truth will help:
Make me know Your ways, O YHWH; Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Chapter 8 of Zechariah has a strong emphasis on truth. YHWH announces He will return to Jerusalem and then it will be called the City of Truth (Zech 8:3); He will reign over the people in truth and righteousness (Zech 8:7,8) and turn fasting to feasting. For these reasons we are to love truth and peace (Zech 8:19). In the same chapter YHWH gives these instructions to us:
YHWH: “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.”
Truth & Life: Emet & Chayim
Truth and life are fundamentally linked. Jeremiah describes YHWH as the true, living, everlasting King:
And YHWH is the God true; He is the God living and King everlasting.
Yeshua takes this well known statement in Jeremiah and applies it to Himself as the way to the Father:
Yeshua: “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
“Lord,” said Thomas, “we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Truth vs Death: Emet vs Met
Just as Truth and Life are linked, so to are Truth and Death.
The Hebrew word for truth is emet and it is made up of three Hebrew letters: aleph, mem, tav…
…which is also the first letter, middle letter, and the last letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet. Essentially truth is the beginning and the end and everything in between. What becomes significantly interesting is that if you remove the first letter (an aleph) from the word emet, you are left with the Hebrew root word met (mem, tav)…
…and met means to die. The letter aleph in the pictographic aleph-bet was the symbol of an ox, indicating the strong one or the first one. It was also the first letter of God in Hebrew, Elohim… also indicating the First One or the Strong One. Removing the aleph out of truth is like removing God from it… leaving you with death. In other words there is no truth without God, only death. King Hezekiah knew it and highlighted it in his song to God:
“O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life of my spirit;
O restore me to health and let me live!
Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness;
It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness,
For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today;
A father tells his sons about Your truth.”
Life, death, and truth are all wrapped up together. When Rahab saves Joshua and his people she asks only for a pledge of truth that her family would be spared from death:
Rahab: “Now therefore, please swear to me by YHWH, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when YHWH gives us the land that we will deal kindly and truthfully with you.” Then she let them down by a rope through the window…
Joshua’s men promise to spare them and deal with them in kindness and truth. Why? Because God, the Aleph, the First & Strong One was with Joshua and his people… and YHWH’s truth always triumphs over death.
Spirit of Truth
Thanks to God we do not have to rely on our own understanding, or the knowledge of others, to experience truth. Yeshua (Jesus) promised each of His followers an internal voice that would be a guide to the truth that comes from YHWH:
Yeshua: “But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send that [Helper/Spirit] to you… However, when the Spirit of truth comes, It will guide you into all truth. For It will not speak on Its own, but It will speak what It hears, and It will declare to you what is to come. It will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.”
Be open to your Spirit of Truth. Let it permeate your heart. Be who God meant you to be… a sincere, shining, example of His Truth!
Next week: Thoughts