His Name Is Wonderful (Part 2)

(Read Part 1)

Human language being what it is, we tend to overstate the obvious and understate the incredible. We throw words like great, super, wonderful and incredible around too easily. There’s a huge gap between a winter wonderland and a wonderful savior. To understand this word, we must look to the original languages for insight.

In Hebrew, the word wonderful is “pala.” It comes from the root word for miracle. King James translates the word marvelous, wonder, and wonderful. It is something extraordinary. The word is often used of God’s acts of judgment and redemption. Referring to the verb form “pala,” Vines writes, “As can be seen from the suggested meanings, this verb is not easy to define. As a verb, it is based on the noun for ‘wonder, marvel,’ so it expresses the idea of doing or making a wondrous thing.” Found in both biblical and modern Hebrew, “pala” occurs some 70 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The verb is found for the first time in Genesis 18:14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Vines continues,

“’Pala’ is used primarily with God as its subject, expressing actions that are beyond the bounds of human powers or expectations. This idea is well expressed by the psalmist: ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes…’ Ps. 118:23. Deliverance from Egypt was the result of God’s wondrous acts: ‘And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in [it]…’ Exod. 3:20. Praise is constantly due God for all His wonderful deeds (Ps. 9:1). At the same time, God does not require anything of His people that is too hard for them (Deut. 30:11). Although something may appear impossible to man, it still is within God’s power: ‘If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts.’ Zech. 8:6.

In the noun form, ‘pala’ is translated, ‘wonder; marvel.’ This noun frequently expresses the ‘wonder,’ the ‘extraordinary aspects,’ of God’s dealings with His people (Exod. 15:11; Ps. 77:11; Isa. 29:14). The messianic title, ‘marvel of a counselor’ Isa. 9:6; points toward God’s Anointed continuing the marvelous acts of God.” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985)

Even a casual reading of the use of this word will reveal the wonder of God and His plan for man.

Exodus 15:11
“Who is like Thee among the gods, O LORD? Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?”

Psalm 77:11
“I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; surely I will remember Thy wonders of old.”

Psalm 77:14
“Thou art the God who workest wonders; Thou hast made known Thy strength among the peoples.”

Psalm 78:12
“He wrought wonders before their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.”

Psalm 88:10
“Wilt Thou perform wonders for the dead? Will the departed spirits rise {and} praise Thee? Selah.”

Psalm 88:12
“Will Thy wonders be made known in the darkness? And Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?”

Psalm 89:5
“And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O LORD; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.”

Psalm 119:129
“Thy testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul observes them.”

Isaiah 25:1
“O LORD, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will give thanks to Thy name; for Thou hast worked wonders, plans {formed} long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”

Isaiah 29:14
“Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”

It is obvious the word carries with it a sense of awe, reverence, and astonishment. The Greek word “ethaumasan” is picked up in Luke’s Gospel to describe the coming of the Messiah. Luke 2:18, “And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.” Again, in the Greek, the word means “to marvel.” The word is used of the person of Christ is 2 Thessalonians at the time of the shining forth of His Parousia (the Second Coming).

Before we look further at Luke’s account of the birth of Messiah, I want to note a few instances where the word is translated “marveled” or “wondered” so you can get the picture in your mind of the significance of this word.

In Matthew 8:10 Jesus marveled at a man’s faith. In the same chapter, verse 27, the men marveled that the wind and sea obeyed Jesus. Matthew also reveals that upon seeing “the dumb speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing…” the multitude marveled and glorified God.

2 thoughts on “His Name Is Wonderful (Part 2)

  1. This just affirms what God has been teaching me as I claim these verses for my sister in her battle with cancer. The Lord led me to many of these verse one by one and I began studying the Hebrew word for wonderful it just spoke volumes to my spirit!

  2. Very good research into the hebrew.on thing I learned is that God calls His testimonies (Word) pala, miraculous!

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