And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. – Deuteronomy 6:6-8
Have you ever considered the meaning of the word, dwell or to dwell?
It is used to describe the place where we live. Our home is our dwelling or dwelling place. We don’t use it a lot to describe where we live and we rarely use the verb form to tell someone that we dwell on a certain street or in a certain city or country. When we use it as a verb, we are typically talking about dwelling upon something or thinking a lot about something; often to an extreme obsession. Synonyms of the verb form typically include: brooding, mulling over, linger over and discuss at length.
When we take a closer look at the etymology of dwell, we come to a deeper understanding of the word’s meaning. It originated from Old Norse word, dvelja, which later became the Old English word dwellan and the Middle English word dwellen. Its meaning during its earlier roots included: to lead astray, to stun, to hinder or to abide. Let’s consider its usage in a passage from Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (NASB)
When we go to the original Greek text we discover that the word used is logizomai, which means to reckon, count, decide, reason over, or to think about. Most of the English translations of the verse above use the phrase “think on these things,” which certainly fits the translation as well.
Why did I go into such an extensive examination of the word dwell?
I made an extensive examination of dwell, because of its duel meaning and because of the connotation which is often associated with the word. You have probably been told or told someone else to stop dwelling on something because they are brooding or mulling something over or discussing the same issue at length. In those situations, you could be accused of being led astray or hindered by whatever issue you are preoccupied with. However, when it comes to the truth of scripture, the word abide comes to mind because Jesus repeats the word three times in a single verse:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. – John 15:4
Dwelling and abiding provide both a place and purpose.
Jesus continues to dwell on that same concept throughout the illustration of the Vine and the branches discussion. In fact, within the text of John 15:4-10, He uses abide 10 times over the space of seven verses:
· Abide in Me, and I in you.
· The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine.
· Neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
· He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit
· If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered
· If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
· As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
· If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love
· Just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
Why is Jesus repeating this word over and over and over? Do you think He is trying to get a point across? Is it possible that He is telling us that if we dwell upon and within Him we will know joy and peace? Look at what He says in verse 11:
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Go back to what Paul wrote to the Philippians:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8 (NASB)
Now examine the two verses in front of that one:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Are you troubled or anxious or worried or depressed? As you look at the rapid approach of 2018? Are you eager to make a new start? Have you began to consider what you would like to do differently in the coming year?
Many of us come to the end of the year and do an examination and evaluation of all of the things that transpired in the year that is passing. As we do so, we often think of changes that we would like to make. Many desire more prosperity or success and adjust their lifestyles, their business plans, their budgets, etc. To what end? More security for the future of your family? More joy? More peace?
Brothers and sisters, if you would find more joy and more peace in the coming year, I think it is very clear in the scriptures what goal you ought to have. Let’s look back at Deuteronomy 6:6-8 again.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You are to put God’s Words in your heart and dwell upon them. When are you to dwell upon them?
· When you sit in your house
· When you walk by the way
· When you lie down
· When you rise up
· They should be a sign on your hand
· A frontlet between your eyes
As you examine what you did in 2017, consider how often you dwelt upon the Word of God. Was it constantly on your mind or did you get sidetracked from it? Did you dwell on God’s Word every morning and every evening? Did you teach it to your children? Did your constant dwelling upon the Word of God so saturate everything you did and said that others were to the point of telling you to stop dwelling on that! or was it hardly noticeable at all?
When you abide in Jesus and when you dwell upon His Word, you find joy and peace. Make it a goal to dwell upon the Word of God and upon His truth in 2018. Make a commitment to spend the first hour and last hour of your day dwelling upon and within the Word of God. Let the same exhortation Paul gave to the Philippians be your goal for the coming year and let it be your guide:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9
To Jesus Christ be all glory, honor and praise. Amen.