“Alas!” To “Aha!”

…oh no… (2 Kings 6:5, 15). 

The words “Oh no!” are actually a single word in the Hebrew language (Hebrew: ‘ahahh) that has been transliterated into English as “Aha!” 

But I think the old English translation is better in this context: ALAS! 

ALAS is usually a painful realization of the situation, not a cry of enlightened discovery. Here are the other times that this Hebrew/English word for ALAS! is used: 

  • Joshua said it after his army was defeated at Ai 
  • Gideon said it after realizing he had been face-to-face with God 
  • Jephtha cried it out after he knew that his daughter would have to be sacrificed
  • King Joram uttered this when he realized his troops and animals had no water in the desert 
  • Jeremiah said this to God after he was called to be a prophet, and after he was asked by God to speak countercultural words (he actually said ALAS! four times!) 
  • Ezekiel also cried out ALAS! four times when God asked him to do or to watch difficult things 
  • Joel cried it out when he saw the Day of the Lord quickly approaching 

(check out the above references by clicking here) 

In all of these ALAS! painful moments, these men were at their wits’ end, at the end of their own abilities—they couldn’t do anything to help themselves. 

In all of these ALAS! moments, they came to just one important realization: Only Yahweh can help me. That realization is truly the AHA! of an enlightened discovery! 

Calling on God turns a painful ALAS! moment into a God-glorifying AHA! moment. God alone can provide where no one else can.

Don’t despair in the ALAS! times, but cry it out loud to the only One who can help you, and then watch to see how He alone will turn your situation into a defining, God-glorifying AHA! testimony. 

A Leader’s Broken Heart

My heart will cry out for Moab … Therefore my heart shall resound like a harp for Moab, and my inner being for Kir Heres (Isaiah 15:5; 16:11). 

Judgment from God falls on Israel’s enemy and Moab is inconsolable (Isaiah 15:2-4, 5-9; 16:7-8, 10). And yet Isaiah weeps for them!

No gloating.

No “I told you so.”

No smug self-righteousness.

A mark of a godly leader is one whose heart is broken by what breaks God’s heart.

“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice” (Proverbs 24:17).

Remember—there, but for the grace of God, go I. 

It is actually God’s mercy that His throne is established and judgment can bring an end to the suffering of punishment (Isaiah 16:5). But in the meantime, we should rescue those careening toward God’s punishment, watering our testimony with our tears.

This is part 27 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

An End To Tears

No more tearsI was asked the age-old question: Why is there suffering and pain? This is usually accompanied by the other often-pondered question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

I’m not sure that I can answer that one, because I’m not a “good” person. I’m a sinner. I’ve messed up more time than I can count, and it is only by God’s mercy that His righteous judgment hasn’t consumed me.

Here’s what I do know:

  • God loves me so much that He sent His Son to rescue me—John 3:16-17
  • I am of immeasurable value to my Heavenly Father—Luke 12:6-7
  • Suffering on earth is temporal; rewards in Heaven are eternal—Romans 8:18
  • God develops something in my through suffering that I could learn in no other way—Romans 5:3-4
  • God can be glorified through my suffering if I will let Him—John 9:1-3; 11:3-6

I also know that Jesus is Perfection. If anyone ever deserved to not have anything bad happen to them, it was Him. And yet He was rejected by His family (Mark 3:21), betrayed by one of His companions (John 13:21), abandoned by all His followers (Mark 14:50), and even felt the sting of God forsaking Him (Mark 15:34).

What makes this even more startling to me is that He knew all of this was coming (Isaiah 53:3; Luke 9:22; Matthew 26:54-56). But He went through all of that pain because His suffering meant He could become the prefect Intercessor and Mediator for our suffering (see Hebrews 5:7-9; 4:14-16).

Jesus us told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

And the last book in the Bible promises that eventually God’s children will have every tear wiped away! There will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, and no more pain! (Revelation 21:4)

In the midst of your pain, hold tightly to the One Who loves you so much and is interceding for you!

If you are near Cedar Springs this coming weekend, and you don’t have a home church, I would love for you to join us as we continue to learn about the greatest words ever spoken.

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