What does a Shekinah taste like?

I have a strange tick. Every time I see a species of animal, my first thought is not: “oh how beautiful!”, but “how would it taste?”. I’m really curious about it. That’s right, strange tick, but hold this thought for a moment…

This week I encountered the Shekinah. And my first thought was once again: “how would it taste”?

But here it comes… the Shekinah was not a fish … no, the Shekinah appeared in a semon:

And then his eyes were opened to a fresh vision of the praise of Jesus. The angels gathered together, in verse 3, and they were calling to each other, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was f illed with smoke” (vv. 3–4). And that smoke is not smoke from a fire. That’s the glory of God come down. That’s the shekinah glory that came down. When we praise Jesus— never mind if He answers our prayer or not, never mind if anybody ever responds to our message or not, never mind if He ever heals our disease or not, never mind if He never gives us our money or if He solves us ourproblem or reconciles that person—we just praise Jesus for who He is. And when we praise Jesus, things happen! The church moves. We can shake things. And the glory of God comes down.

Sounds good, right? Only that Shekinah… what would it taste like? What is it anyway? Anyone has any ideas without launching google? Why does someone in a sermon suddenly shout a word that really none of the listeners does understand? Why? “Look at me with all my knowledge”?

Now, in the middle of a (quite reasonable) sermon, I got distracted and googled that fish on my phone. How would it taste? And it wasn’t a fish, here it goes:

Shekhinah, also spelled Shechinah (Hebrew: שְׁכִינָה Šəḵīnā, Tiberian: Šăḵīnā)[1] is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” or “settling” and denotes the presence of God, as it were, in a place. This concept is found in Judaism.

The Hebrew Bible mentions several places where the presence of God was felt and experienced as a Shekhinah, including the burning bush and the cloud that rested on Mount Sinai. The Shekhinah was often pictured as a cloud or as a pillar of fire and was referred to as the glory of God. The Shekhinah was also understood to be present in the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, and to be seated at the right hand of God.

The word shekhinah is not found in the Bible. It appears in the Mishnah, the Talmud, and in midrash.

And there you have it, it’s not a fish. Why launch such a word in the middle of a sermon, without explanation, without anything? I do not get it.

It could be even worse, though…. If I hear someone utter a “fish word” in a sermon or songs… I drop out. Completely. I figuratively put on my sneakers and run. What is that speaker or singer doing? Done with it, figuratively putting on the sneakers and away i go.

And the rest of the message, as good as it may be… it doesn’t get through to me at all anymore. Too bad about the time invested in the sermon, right?

And if you find that kind of words interesting to tell other people: explain what it is, give a good Bible study about it, but stop raving about names of fish, in my honest opinion. The room is full of people who really have no idea what it is… and yes, some might find the language extremely interesting and think you’re a tough guy… but some… put on the sneakers… and they are gone, or worse. And you shouldn’t want that to happen…

Dear people, stop it. Exalt God, do not exalt yourself and know who your listeners are in the sermon… carpenters, tax collectors, or…..you name it.

Anyone has any idea what a Ruach fish tastes like, by the way?

In Dutch, there is a praise song that goes like this:

Ruach, Ruach, Ruach
Ruach, Ruach, Ruach
Not by force or violence (Ruach, Ruach)
But by My Spirit, saith the Lord (Ruach)
Not by force or violence (Ruach, Ruach)
But by My Spirit, saith the Lord (Ruach)

Do you see the problem? Not once anybody explained what a Ruach fish was before we sang it, but everybody sings along… I think that’s weird…

And yes, maybe you don’t have weird songs like this in your language. But let’s take a look at these words:

What does Hallelujah mean? No, don’t look it up on Google, what does it mean? We say it so often, perhaps automatically, but do we really know what it means?

The word hallelujah first appeared in the book of Psalms in the Old Testament, a combination of two Hebrew words, “hallel” meaning praise and “jah” meaning God.

Or what about the Amen fish? Does it taste good? How often do we use it, and do we really understand what it means? When the preachers days: good to see you, amen to that?! What do you do? Shout amen? Just like that?

Amen is derived from the Hebrew āmēn, which means “certainty,” “truth,” and “verily.” It is found in the Hebrew Bible, and in both the Old and New Testament.

Know what you say or sing, praise God,… He is the only one worthy of all praise…

And when you’re a preacher… maybe it’s time to explain to people what Amen, Hallelujah, Ruach, or Shekinah mean? You might be surprised how many people don’t know… or just partially know. Please explain. Make a true and in-depth bible study out of it for your audience, so they know what you are saying and what they are saying / singing themselves… give them real food, not fish and chips…

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