Enlarge our Hearts

I have a real fondness for Psalm 119. Recently when reading it over looking for references to our hearts, I was struck by the wording in verse 32, “thou shalt enlarge my heart.” This is something worth praying for: “Lord, enlarge our hearts. Make us into big-hearted people.”

When left to ourselves, we become fussers and complainers, petty and critical. But when God enlarges our hearts, we “will run the way of thy commandments” (from earlier in vs. 32). This God-given big-heartedness enables us to do our duties (His commandments). And apparently, we won’t merely walk in them, but we’ll run with a glad obedience, with rejoicing hearts. “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicings of my heart” (111) . It seems obvious where we got the notion that big-hearted people are generous, hospitable, cheerful, and love to give. This is how God is.

The psalmist also speaks of serving God with our whole-hearts. We are to seek Him, obey Him, and petition Him whole-heartedly. No half measures. No half-hearted service. “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart” (vs. 2). “With my whole heart have I sought thee” (vs. 10). “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (vs. 34). “I will keep thy thy precepts with my whole heart” (69). “I entreated thy favor with my whole heart” (vs. 58). “I cried with my whole heart” (145).

Christ is our model in these things, like He is in every aspect of the Christian life. He gave Himself whole-heartedly, unreservedly to God and to us, His people. He is the epitome of largeness of heart,ร‚ย  receiving us and welcoming us into fellowship and communion with Him.

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8 thoughts on “Enlarge our Hearts

  1. Amen and Amen.

    In Arabic there is a phrase that is translated as “her eye is open (or enlarged)” or “his eye is open/enlarged” or “the eye is open/enlarged.” It basically means that the person is open handed, very generous, giving, not stingy, does not hold to things tightly, is satisfied themselves and therefore they give freely without stinginess or holding back. As I have been pondering the meaning of hospitality these past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about this phrase that I grew up hearing my parents use.

    In the Psalms there is a warning to watch what you take or eat from a man who is offering food with his eye on you because he is a miser. Jesus warned people not to have a covetous or greedy eye. In Arabic, there’s another phrase that is translated roughly “from the eye” or “the eye” and it is used with regard to people who say one thing but their eye is wicked, greedy, covetous. I may be wrong but I do believe that Jesus may have used the wording of “evil eye.”

    All this to say that if we want to live biblically, we have to be big-hearted, big-eyed, open handed, hospitable people. And we have to do it all to the glory of God.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I was just talking about this with my husband today… We have much to be thankful for and much to give, no matter what our situation!

  3. Luma, I studied Arabic for a while, and those phrases are on the tip of my brain–can’t bring them to the surface, though. Could you offer a transliteration? Shukran Jazilan! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Sure, here let me give this one a try:

    Ayna Maftoha (“her eye is enlarged). This is how I know it in my Masloui dialect (Nenavian dialect).

    El Ayn (“the eye”). Again this is how we spoke at home with our Masloui dialect.

    This is how I know the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic. My father would write it out for me like this and I would memorize. Because I had him there to test me and to hear it correctly, I was able to hear where the accent was on each word, etc.

    Now I only know how to speak. I forgot how to read and write Arabic when I came to America.

    Well done on “Shukran Jazilan.”

  5. That helps tremendously! Thanks! The only lehja I learned came from Egypt, Syria, and only a tiny bit of Iraqi. Which region would Masloui or Nenavian come from? Other than that, I learned Fusha, so when I try to talk to people, they look at me and smile and ask if I know how to speak “real Arabic” or if I always sound like I learned from the Quran! ๐Ÿ™‚ I learned to read and write it, but it has been a while since I studied, and now it is like I’m a kindergartener just learning to read, I’m afraid. At one point in my studies, it was more comfortable for me to read than English. I feel a bit like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon! Naseitu Kathiran!

  6. Wow, you’re good!

    The Masloui dialect is one that is used in Northern Iraq, in Mousil in particular. Mousil was built (I believe) just a stone’s throw (so to speak) from the old city of Ninevah. As in the same Ninevah that Jonah went to preach to, and the same Ninevah that was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Both my parents were born in Mousil and all my ancestors as far as anyone can remember are from there. This is the dialect with which my family spoke Arabic with at home so that is what I grew up speaking.

    Iqhitki bil Masseeh,
    P.S. I am bad at transliteration. I can’t figure out which letters to use for the guttural sounds. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. No, not really that good. It took me a few minutes to figure out “Sister in Christ” and that included going to the dictionary to figure out the root b/c I couldn’t remember “sister”! It’s been about 10 years. Wow, I feel old!

    I think transliteration is just plain hard. That’s why there are about 7 English spellings to some Arabic words! There is a standardized transliteration system, but it doesn’t help pronunciation any–it’s just for taking dictation on a keyboard. Certain punctuation marks stand for letters/sounds that we don’t have in English.

    I suppose we’re hijacking this thread and my husband needs the computer!

    Itha turideen an tetakelameen mae akthur bi e-mail, anwaani dbhallman@nctc.com ๐Ÿ™‚

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