Saturday, May 20, 2017


By Jason Fizer - Used by permission

When I think of “forming”, I think of forming a material that is pliable, that can be molded into a particular shape. I think of forming or sculpting a material like clay. In Scripture, the Hebrew word for form is “yatsar” and is used to describe what a potter does or what a potter makes. In these cases it is translated as “potter” or “earthen vessel”. Sometimes the Bible refers to God as a “Potter” who forms things or people, or people groups, such as the nation of Israel. Also, formed (yatsar) can mean "to ordain".
Consider some of the following things that God forms. Many times they are immaterial and things that we wouldn’t think could be formed, but still the same word “yatsar” is used.
PSALM 33:15 – God forms (yatsar) hearts.
This is not referring to the physical heart that pumps blood. This is referring to God’s various ways of communicating with humans, in order to shape the inclinations of the “heart” and will.
ZECHARIAH 12:1 – God forms (yatsar) the spirit of man within him.
The spirit is immaterial but can be formed in various ways. Inadvertently, life will form one’s spirit. Based on the life one has encountered (people, circumstances etc.) whether good or bad, along with personal decisions, the spirit will form accordingly. For us all, our spirit has to be re-shaped by God .
ISAIAH 45:7 – God forms (yatsar) the light, God creates (bara) the darkness
Light was not understood to be material. The original audience wouldn’t have thought about objects in the distance outer space that burn or reflect. Just before this verse it spoke of the movement of the Sun from the east to the west. He forms the Day and the Night. God forms light and creates darkness in such a way as to order our world with time.
PSALM 74:17 – God formed (yatsar) summer and winter
Summer and winter are not material things. God forms the conditions which cause summer and winter. As in Day 4, in Genesis 1, Day and Night establish time, and also seasons. The day and the night belong to God, and He has established the light and the Sun (Psalm 74:16).
PSALM 94:9 – God formed the eye
There is much more connected to the “eye” than just the physical structure. It is also about looking, considering and paying attention. The verse says: since God formed the eye, shall He not see? The accusation was that God doesn’t pay attention, that He doesn’t hear or see the injustices of our world. Since God formed the eye, He would be the One to know what seeing is really about. The One who formed the ears and eyes is listening and watching very closely.
PSALM 139:16 – God formed (yatsar) the days for me, which are recorded in His book. “Formed” takes on the meaning of “ordained” or “purposed.” The days were formed in advance, i.e. it was considered a completed action on God’s part. The days which are formed/purposed are written about in His book before one of them takes place. This is much more than numbering the days God will give us. Despite all that we experience, God is in control and has purposed good for us. The Psalmist prays that he might be led in the way of everlasting, that he might live in a way that transcends days/time.
God forms (yatsar) events before they happen. “Formed” again takes on the meaning of “ordained.” In 2 Kings 19:25 (also Isaiah 37:26), God had formed (yatsar) Assyria’s success in battle. It was considered a completed action long ago before it happened. He planned it from ancient times. Then He brought it to pass. He formed it before He brought it to pass.(see also Is 22:11)
ISAIAH 43:21 – God has formed (yatsar) a people for Himself that they shall show forth His praise
GENESIS 2:7 The Lord God formed (yatsar) man (adam) from the dust of the ground
‘Adam was formed (yatsar) from the dust of the 'adamah.
GENESIS 3:19 “For dust you are and to dust you will return”
PSALM 103:14 “For He knows how we were formed (yetser –comes from yatsar). He remembers that we are dust.”
This Psalm is referring to everyone. We are all dust and we are all formed. We are all formed from the dust. Interestingly, dust is not a material that one would consider forming.
ISAIAH 64:8 – God is the Potter (yatsar), we are the work of his hand
JEREMIAH – 1:5 – God formed (yatsar) Jeremiah in the womb. God forms us in the womb.
JEREMIAH 10:16 – God forms (yatsar) all things

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