TODAY’S MEDITATION – Be careful when you say “AMEN!” (Numbers 5:11-22)

My brother, my sister, it is worth taking time to seek the Word of God to understand what the word “AMEN” means, because we sometimes use this word as we say “hi” ignoring the spiritual impact of it. How many people, just by saying “AMEN” have condemned themselves without knowing they have? Let’s go into the Word of God straight. The Hebrew word “AMEN” is found both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and it has a variety of uses, depending upon the context in which it is used. But its meaning does not change from being “surely, indeed, truly” for it comes from a root form, aman, which means “to be firm, steady, trustworthy, faithful”, depending on its context. Now, let’s look at some examples in the Bible to understand that it is a serious word, and we should think before using it.

One day God told Abraham this: “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be””(Genesis 15:5). At that time Abraham didn’t have a child, but he believed the Lord (Genesis 15:6). The word ‘believe’, in the original Hebrew is “AMAN”, from which we get the English word “AMEN” which means “I believe that it will be so!” In other words, when God told Abraham that his seed would be like the stars of heaven, Abraham just said, “Amen=I believe it will be so.” That’s it. And it was fulfilled! Today, the children of Abraham (physically and spiritually) number in millions. This bring us to our first point. Saying “AMEN” is agreeing with the Word of God that we have heard, asserting the truthfulness and the faithfulness of God… as that Word shall be true to our lives!

The very first uses of this Word explains this perfectly: it is applied to a woman allegedly committing adultery. The priest warned the woman that if she had committed adultery “may the Lord cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries”. Now, the accused woman then had to answer: “Amen. So be it” (Numbers 5:22). Here, the woman accepts her own judgment, she is condemning herself by the word “Amen”. We also see this word used many times in the Old Testament as a response of all the people of God to a national statement. And it is in this context that we hear people generally say “AMEN” in our churches today. For example when the Levites warned the nation not to make idols: “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret. Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!'” (Deuteronomy 27:15). Following that warning came a number of others in the Old Testament, all requiring the same general response: “Amen”. The same answer of ‘So be it’ is also found in 1 Kings 1:36, when a man confirms and accepts the king’s decision. Each use in the Old Testament is usually linked with the whole nation complying with God’s command. This brings us to our second point: when you say “AMEN”, you are actually acknowledging that you are agreeing to what God says He will do, even if it is His curse!

Let’s look into the New Testament and give one example that many people quote every day, while taking it for granted: the Lord’s Prayer ends with “AMEN”. Now, when you say forgive as I forgive and you end up saying “AMEN”, do you know what you have just said? Imagine you have not forgiven someone, you yourself have then condemened yourself before God! In reality, many believers do not understand the implication of saying ‘AMEN’. By saying this word, you do not just acknowledge what has been said in a prayer or statement, but you are also promising to faithfully perform it in your life. More than that, you are promising to be bound by the penalties for disobedience. This takes us back to the first use of the word by the woman allegedly found of adultery, who agreed to accept any penalty from God.

On one occasion “AMEN” is used to describe Christ, because everything God wishes to happen in us and through us is bound in His being (Revelation 3:14). Obviously, because JESUS is the truth anyway! He Himself gives a new meaning to this word by saying “VERILY’ or ‘of a truth’ (Matthew and Mark say ‘Amen’, but Luke says ‘of a truth’) when referring to the same events, because both mean the same thing! This exactly follows the Hebrew use, which can also mean ‘truly’ or ‘verily’, as well as ‘so be it’.

So, my friend, “AMEN” is not just any word. It is a word that binds you to the Word of God! It is a confirmation or endorsement of what God says. Yes, it can be used to express hope, to confirm a blessing, prayer, curse or oath. The sad truth is that many people often say it in a very superficial way or just because it is expected of them. It is a serious word, so please know what you are saying, next time you say “AMEN”. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.