Thursday, March 7, 2013


The Hebrew verb, אָבָה ('abah), means “to be willing, to consent, to desire, to wish.” It is an interesting verb because it is always used with a negative particle except for two places (Isa. 1:19 and Job 39:9). With the negative it means “to be unwilling, to refuse.” For example, in Exodus 10:27 it is used of Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal to let the children of Israel go (“he would not,” he refused!). This word is also illustrated in 2 Samuel 23:16 where David refused to drink the water (“he would not”) even though he was terribly thirsty. This word is also used in Isaiah 42:24 (Israel’s refusal to walk in God’s ways) and in Ezekiel 3:7 and 20:8 (Israel’s refusal to listen to God). The following passage contains this verb:   “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Isa. 1:19).  This is one of those rare places where the verb is used without the negative. God’s desire was that they would be clean (v.16). God wanted them to learn to do well (v.17). God was willing to reason with them and to offer them the forgiveness of sins (v.18). God was willing. Would they be willing (v.19) or would they refuse (v.20)?

(from Mt. 23:37; Lk. 19:41).

                               Alas! for thee, Jerusalem,  How cold thy heart to me!

How often in these arms of love, Would I have gathered thee!

My sheltering wing had been your shield, My love your happy lot:

I would it had been thus with thee -- I would, but ye would not."

He wept alone, and men passed on, The men whose sins He bore;

They saw the Man of sorrows weep, They had seen Him weep before;

They ask'd not whom those tears were for, They ask'd not whence they flowed;

Those tears were for rebellious man; Their source, the heart of God.

They fell upon this desert earth, Like drops from heaven on high,

Struck from an ocean-tide of love That fills eternity.

With love and tenderness divine, Those crystal cells o'erflow,

'Tis God that weeps, through human eyes, For human guilt and woe.

That hour has fled, those tears are told; The agony is past;

The Lord has wept, the Lord has bled, But has not loved His last,

His eye of love is downward bent, Still ranging to and fro,

Where'er in this wide wilderness There roams the child of woe;

Nor His alone--the Three in One, Who looked through Jesu's eye,

Could still the harps of angel bands, To hear the suppliant sigh;

And when the rebel chooses wrath, God mourns his hapless lot,

Deep breathing from His heart of love, "I would, but ye would not."

 --A.Miller, Brethren writer (The Serious Christian, Series II, Vol. V, pp. 85-87).

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