Jeshurun. A poetic Hebrew name given to the land of Israel. Although not fully understood, several different possibilities exist for what the word means. Some scholars believed it was related to the term “yeshiram,” which meant “upright” or “the noblest and best among you.” Others believed it was derived from the root “shir,” which meant “song” or “ring,” suggesting a dancing melody. Jeshurun was a beautiful nickname, a term of endearment speaking of tender affection for the land of Israel. The Lord’s beloved.
Jeshurun was also the name of my childhood best friend. She was a beautiful Harlequin Great Dane, and I absolutely adored her. True to her name, she was the noblest and best of dogs. My parents got her when she was a very young puppy and I was four, and the two of us grew up together. She was my security and the one constant source of love I knew would never be quenched. She often crawled onto my bed with me or curled up on the tops of my feet while we sat in the living room together. She loved to be touched, so if I was standing somewhere, she’d come up and lean her massive body into my legs. I had to brace myself to keep from falling over. She was always such a puppy at heart. She never outgrew the lap-dog syndrome, although she quickly outgrew every lap in the house. She was always standing very near, which got really uncomfortable if she became excited; her tail was alike a thick whip. It hurt! But she loved me and my family deeply, and we loved her the same.
I was listening to a sermon the other day, and the speaker mentioned that the word worship was originally used to describe the way a dog is with her owner. I immediately thought about Jeshurun. I spent ten years being fulfilled in many ways by the love of this dog, and I remember it very well. I remember the way her eyes looked when she would come up and search my face, nuzzling her nose under my arm or licking my face so that I’d hug her tightly. I remember the way she’d meet us at the door when we came home, tail swishing dangerously behind her, her muzzle seeming to smile with joy at our coming home. This is a dog that figured out how to unlock a deadbolt with her teeth because she wanted so badly to follow us. She was very confident of her place in our hearts, and she pursued us as hard as she could. She worshipped her family.
We use this word to describe the act of seeking the heart of God, but I wonder if our pursuit of Him looks anything like the way a dog loves her owner? I am very challenged by this word. Are we just giving God lip-service, or are we truly in love with Him? Do we adore Him? Do we wait for Him, unsatisfied until He shows up, and unable to contain ourselves when He does? Do we curl up at His feet or crawl up in His lap just to be near Him? Do we lean up against Him, allowing Him to bear our weight because we are comfortable enough with Him that we forget ourselves? Does a smile overcome us when He looks at us? My dog captured a special place in me because of the way she abandoned herself to love me best. It was like the greatest desire of her heart was to fill my heart to overflowing with joy. Can this be said of us? Is His delight our greatest ambition, or are we using His delight simply to get things from Him? Are we loving Him with all of ourselves, pouring into Him all the love He pours into us? Do we truly worship Him? Do we long for His touch, searching for it and pressing in to it?
Father, May we worship you with reckless abandon. May we adore you with all of our hearts. May we lavish on you all that you lavish on us. May we love you with every fiber of life. You are so much more than wonderful.