Saturday, July 22, 2006

Be Goooood.

law' jatlh, " 'Iv DichDaq cha' maH vay' QaQ?"
Many say, "Who will show us any good?" Psalm 4:6a

(click for podcast version)

David reports a proper question - one worth thinking about in any time - from Biblical times down to the departure of ET with his admonition to "be gooooood." Just what do we mean by "good?"

Now, "Good" - is a rich word in any language. Webster's lists over 40 meanings for "good" - from not weak or defective, valid, complete,having moral qualities, to conformable to the moral law or proper, among others.

The Hebrew word here, tobe, comes from a root meaning to "be good" - and itself is translated in the KJV in many ways - favour, fine, glad, good, graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, loving, and merry - to name only a few.

In the KLV I've used QaQ, tlhIngan Hol for "be good" to be the word "good" - but it gets stretched across a variety of meanings as well - currently forms of it are used to represent the English terms good, goodness, well, righteous, righteousness and soundness.

All of this range of meaning is worth reflecting on when he hear the Psalmist present the question:

law' jatlh, " 'Iv DichDaq cha' maH vay' QaQ?"
Many say, "Who will show us any good?" Psalm 4:6a

What is the definition, what are we asking for, when we ask for "the good?"

Considering the phrase "one man's meat is another man's poison," it must be granted there is ambiquity between cultures, some variety in subjective assessments of "the good."

My idea of a "good day" doesn't (usually) encompass the Klingon phrase:

Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam.
It is a good day to die.

Yes, this may be "good" in the sense of proper - but few would consider such a day a "good one."

The answer I find is one Jesus offers - but it's not an easy answer. When confronted by a questioner who says to him "Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" Jesus offers the non sequiter "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God." (Mt 19)

This puzzling response points us back to the definition, the standard by which to judge what is good: God.

I say it isn't an easy answer because it forces believers to think about things, not from their limited, time-bound perspective, but by reflecting on God and His Word in order to measure and guide our lives.

His questioner certainly got no easy answer, as Jesus continued,

"But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

When he defended as a "commandment keeper," himself Jesus drove the point further -

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.

law' jatlh, " 'Iv DichDaq cha' maH vay' QaQ?"
Many say, "Who will show us any good?" Psalm 4:6a

To point the rich young man to what was truly good and lasting, Jesus had to point him away from his temporal treasures. He needed to make a choice between his goods and what is truly good. And so must I, so must we all.

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