Biblical Hebrew, like most languages, is sprinkled with idioms, when specific words are used to mean something different from what they actually say. One idiom in the Old Testament is “Mi-yitten.” “Mi” is the question “who?” and “yitten” means “will give.” So, literally, “Mi-yitten” is “Who will give?”
In the Old Testament, however, the phrase expresses the idea of a wish, of a desire, of someone wanting something badly.
For instance, after their escape from Egypt, the children of Israel, facing challenges in the wilderness, exclaimed, “If only we had died by the LORD’S hand in Egypt!” (Exodus 16:3). The phrase “if only” came from “mi-yitten.”
In Psalm 14:7 David utters, “Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!” The Hebrew doesn’t say “Oh”; it says “mi-yitten.”
In Job 6:8, when he exclaims, “Oh, that I might have my request” — “Oh” is, again, from “mi-yitten.”
Read Deuteronomy 5:22-29, focusing especially on verse 29. What does it mean that the word translated as “Oh” comes from “mi-yitten”?
Here is the Lord — the Creator God, the One who made space, time, and matter, the One who spoke our world into existence, the One who breathed into Adam the breath of life — uttering a phrase generally associated with the weaknesses and limitations of humanity. What an example of the reality of free will! Here we see that there are limits to what God can do in the midst of the great controversy. This use of “mi-yitten” reveals that even God can’t trample on free will; for the moment He did, it would no longer be free.
And just as we humans are free to sin, we are also free to choose the Lord, to choose to be open to His leading, to choose, by responding to His Spirit, to repent from our sins and to follow Him. Ultimately the choice is ours, and ours alone, and it is a choice that we have to make day by day, moment by moment.
|What are some of the choices that you are going to face in the next few hours or few days? How can you learn to surrender your will to God so that, in His strength, you can make the right choices?|