God’s Machashabeth, His Plan for His People
Does God have plans for you? What might that look like? How would anyone know what He really wants for His people? Can the ancient pictograms in the Hebrew word for plans, Machashabeth, reveal anything that would help us understand God’s intentions? Can anything in them point us to Messiah?
Jeremiah relays a verse for us from God in Chapter 29 verse 11 that is often quoted as encouragement. Here God strengthened His people by explaining that even though they had been taken into captivity in Babylon, the time for their release would come. Israel would be disciplined for failing to keep the 70 Shmitas, which were the Sabbath year rests for the land over 490 years that God had commanded in Leviticus Chapter 25 verses 2 through 5. Once the 70 lost years of rest for the land had been completed, God would again bless and restore. Jeremiah wrote:
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
The word thoughts is the Hebrew word Machashabeth which in conventional Hebrew means thoughts or plans, but it especially implies intricately woven plans that infer purpose and meditation. Although these thoughts and plans of God relayed by Jeremiah are good, Machashabeth can also be used of evil plans. In Genesis Chapter 6 verse 5 we read that:
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Again, the word thoughts used here is the word Machashabeth and shows evil intent. What can the ancient pictograms in Machashabeth tell us about our God’s intricately woven plans for His people? Machashabeth is spelled Mem Chet Sheen Beyt Tav.
Mem is the picture of waters and can be chaotic and destructive like a tsunami or gentle like a stream bringing life in a desert. It can mean the Word of God that brings life or the living waters.
Chet is the picture of the fence and means to be cut off, a place of protection, a sanctuary, or a refuge.
Sheen is the picture of teeth and means to press or to destroy and is the one letter God uses to identify Himself, it is His signature.
Beyt is the picture of the floor plan of the tent and means the house, the dwelling place, or the family.
Tav is the picture of crossed sticks and means a sign, to seal, or to covenant.
The Sheen identifies God and tells us this is His plan. The pressing and crushing depicted in Sheen is over. Because God’s intent towards His people is not evil, the Mem doesn’t show destruction like a tsunami, but rather life like the stream in the desert. His Machashabeth is to surround His people with a hedge of protection and bring them into His house and again make them His family. How will this be done? Through the covenant He made with them. The covenant God made with Abram is still in force. Even though Israel had not been faithful, God would still be true to His promises. Israel would be restored.
What we have just discovered is really a shadow and a precursor to an ultimate restoration that is described in the numbers that each of these letters represents. Each of these numbers holds a meaning according to how they are used throughout the entirety of the scriptures. Let’s examine them and produce the rest of the picture.
Mem is the number 40 and indicates trial or testing that results in renewal.
Chet is the number 8 and stands for a new beginning.
Sheen is the number 300 and signifies the final blood sacrifice made by the Perfect Lamb of God.
Beyt is the number 2 and points us to the Son of God.
Tav is the number 400 and refers to a divinely appointed period of time that will bring about deliverance and renewal.
This uncovers the truth only dimly seen in the time of Jeremiah. God’s Machashabeth, His intricately woven plan, will result in the trials and testing of man culminating in a new beginning. This new beginning and renewal will finally be accomplished through the blood sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb of God who is the Son of God. His sacrifice will come at a divinely appointed time and will provide everlasting deliverance from sin.
While the prophet Jeremiah looked forward to this wondrous event, the Rabbi Paul looked back on it and described it for us in his letter to the church in Galicia. Here he explained our predicament and God’s solution. In Chapter 4 verses 3 through 5 Paul writes this:
"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
He continues in verse 7:
"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
This, then, is what God’s plan, His Machashabeth, was to ultimately accomplish: that we could be sons and heirs; we could be part of His family. But, according to His plan, we must enter through the blood of His Son, the Perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. There is no other way.