My dogwood tree this year is abounding in blossoms. I stand on my patio gazing in wonder at the perfection of each blossom as pure in colour and shape as the one crowded beside it.
I wonder at how every blossom has exactly 4 petals, always has, always will. My pansies also insist on their allotment of 4 petals, even though they have their own peculiar arrangement.
Other flowers differ. I recognize the familiar wild flowers blooming beside our roadways and in the fields . The buttercups have five petals, the chicory flower has 21 ALWAYS - season after season, year after year.
Numbers..... God's creation is built on the unwavering consistency of numbers as any scientist will tell you. So numbers are important to God -- and if you stop and think for a minute you will realize how important they are to us as well.
How would you keep track of your wealth (or lack of it, smile) if there were no numbers with which to count it ? How could you cook/bake your food without numbers to measure the ingredients ?
How would a carpenter build a house if he could not measure for accuracy to make sure the structure he was building would stand solid?
Take away numbers and the order of our life and that of the universe itself would collapse.
God, being a God of numbers, also built His chosen language - Hebrew - on numbers. Each Hebrew letter doubles as a number. Because of this we sometimes find what could be 'hidden treasure' in scripture - hidden at least to those of us who are not familiar with Hebrew as our mother tongue.
I am so thankful that today with information so readily at our fingertips there is not much that we cannot learn something about if we wish to do so.
This morning, I opened my bible to Psalm 136. It is a Psalm I have read many times before and I had already noted the repeated phrase "For His mercy endures forever" at the end of every verse.
This morning, however, I was suddenly curious about why God repeated it 26 times and not 25 or 27 times. God is a God of detail, right ? so ... I thought God perhaps repeated it 26 times on purpose !
Knowing the importance of numbers in the Tanakh ( Jewish name for the canon of the Hebrew Bible) I wondered if the number 26 had a given significance.
I found something very interesting - that the number 26 is indeed a number with special meaning.
The name of God to Jews was/is considered to be so holy that it is never completely written out -- only the consonants were ever written. In the Old Testament the name for God is Yahweh - written in the Tanakh as YHVH. (still today)
Taking the numerical value of each letter Yod = 10 , Hey = 5, Vav = 6, Hey = 5 , they make a total of 26.
Because 26 is the numerical sum value of the letters in the name of God , in Hebrew the number 26 is referred to as Total.
Now looking back at Psalm 136 , where the repeat of "For His mercy endures forever!" is 26 times, it takes on a deeper significance of meaning. If God says something once it is true, if He says it twice He is telling us to take note .... if He says it 26 times it is TOTAL.
How wonderful is it that God wants us to know that His mercy enduring forever is TOTAL .. we can trust that His mercy will never be withheld from us .... If we come to Him needing His mercy. yet one more time, we will never find a sign hung on the throne room door .. "Sold out"
"Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever !"