The God of the Amen


    So that he who blesses himself in the land
        shall bless himself by the God of truth,
    and he who takes an oath in the land
        shall swear by the God of truth;
    because the former troubles are forgotten
        and are hidden from my eyes. —Isaiah 65:16 ESV

Alexander Mclaren:

The full beauty and significance of these remarkable words are only reached when we attend to the literal rendering of a part of them which is obscured in our version. As they stand in the original they have, in both cases, instead of the vague expression, ‘The God of truth,’ the singularly picturesque one, ‘The God of the Amen.’

I. Note the meaning of the name. Now, Amen is an adjective, which means literally firm, true, reliable, or the like. And, as we know, its liturgical use is that, in the olden time, and to some extent in the present time, it was the habit of the listening people to utter it at the close of prayer or praise. But besides this use at the end of some one else’s statement, which the sayer of the ‘Amen’ confirms by its utterance, we also find it used at the beginning of a statement, by the speaker, in order to confirm his own utterance by it.

And these two uses of the expression reposing on its plain meaning, in the first instance signifying, ‘I tell you that it is so’; and in the second instance signifying, ‘So may it be!’ or, ‘So we believe it is,’ underlie this grand title which God takes to Himself here, ‘the God of the Amen,’ both His Amen and ours. So that the thought opens up very beautifully and simply into these two, His truth and our faith…

…Ah! my friend, what a miserable contrast there is between the firm, unshaken, solid security of the divine word upon which we say that we trust, and the poor, feeble, broken trust which we build upon it. ‘Let not that man think that He shall receive anything of the Lord’; but let us expect, as well as ‘ask, in faith, nothing wavering’; and let our ‘Amen!’ ring out in answer to God’s.

The Apostle Paul has a striking echo of the words of my text in the second Epistle to the Corinthians: ‘All the promises of God in Him are yea! and through Him also is the Amen!’ The assent, full, swift, frank —the assent of the believing heart to the great word of God comes through the same channel, and reaches God by the same way, as God’s word on which it builds comes to us. The ‘God of the Amen,’ in both senses of the word, is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the seal as well as the substance of the divine promises, and whose voice in us is the answer to, and the grasp of, the promises of which He is the substance and soul.

 

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