Repentance (הבָוּשׁתְ, Teshubah)

“Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”  Isaiah 55:7

The days leading up to a weekend festival where an evangelist and I were to work a witnessing booth, the Lord placed on my heart to study the word repent.  Repentance is a part of the plan of salvation, and sometimes, I assume people know what the word means.  On my Christian journey, the Divine is training me, and I feel he was preparing me for the upcoming encounters.

As I began to study the word repent, I read through all the verses where the word repent is found.  Afterwards, I reviewed the Hebrew word(s) that were translated as repent, learning there are two words used, which help define the Greek word for repent in the New Testament.

The first word is nacham נחם, and has the meaning of comfort, but also to regret or feel sorry.  The second word is shub שׁוּב, which means to return or turn back.  A method of study in Judaism is to rearrange the letters and to form other words.  Sometimes, the words formed will have a relationship.  The first word I rearrange was shub as seen in the following table:


Before I get too far in the study, the question arises, why does one repent?  For the sins we have committed.  The following verse in Isaiah gives us an example of how sin affects us: 

“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”  Isaiah 59:2 NASB

 When we rearrange the letters for shub, we get the word for ashamed.  When one becomes ashamed for the sins they have committed, they are in a place to repent, to turn their back on the sin, and ask a Holy God for forgiveness.

 Rearranging the letters for nacham:


I first questioned why nacham would have two different meanings, but in ancient Hebrew there was only 7,500 words, so it is common for a word to have different meanings.  God bless the translators for getting the Bible to where it is today!  Looking at the words the letters used for nacham form, paints an interesting pictures.  Nacham has the sense of feeling sorry to regret what one has done.  When one repents of their sins, the rearrange words show us what God does.  Our sins are deleted, they become nothing, we become free, He gratuitously forgives us, we leave our sins behind, the sins we have committed become nothing in the eyes of our wonderful and merciful God. We can take comfort knowing we are forgiven.

The following passage of scripture gave me the understanding that God wants to forgive us, and that He delights in the person who comes before him in repentance.  He will abundantly pardon. 

“Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7 

Looking up the word repentance in the Jewish Encyclopedia, I found a beautiful description of what repentance is:

“Repentance is not an outward act, it endeavors to represent an inner cleansing of the heart.  It must be perfectly sincere, true contrition, coupled with shame and self-reproach, and confession, which leads to a frank and sincere confession, a change of heart and conduct.  Repentance is with the intent of never committing the sin again.”

From this study, I have confirmed sin creates a separation between God and us.  We cannot work to bridge that separation, which was completed when Christ went to the cross, died, was buried and rose again.  We come to Christ in repentance, who is the intercessor for us.  He will forgive our sins, and abundantly, if we just repent. 

Working the booth at the festival in Alexandria, we had awesome encounters with people and God.   Each person is special to God, yet  I want to share one event of a woman who came to the booth in sincerity, honesty, and with a mission.  When I asked her if she was 50, 75 or 100% sure she was going to heaven, she gave an emphatic and fearful, “No.”  I then asked if she would like to go to heaven, she replied directly, “Yes.” 

I walked her through the scriptures, and for some reason, I or rather the Spirit in me, told her:

“We cannot physically see Christ on the cross, nor de we physically see him raised from the dead.  The ones who did see this, died in telling others.  They would not relent even when one was dipped in boiling oil.  For over 2,000 years Christians have been brutally killed for their faith and the retelling of Christ crucified and rising again from the dead.  All for this moment, for you, so that you can come to Christ.”

I shared with her repentance, believing, faith, trust, and accepting the free gift of eternal life.  At the closing, I asked, do you want to accept that free gift?  I lead her in prayer, the spirit gave me the words.  Although I cannot see the inside of a person, her outward appearance was one of relief and joy.  The internal battle was over, victory had come.  She had repented of her ways, turned to Christ, and God abundantly pardoned her.  A new creation in Christ.  Hallelu-jah Amen!

I may not have expressed it in this article, but repentance is for the sinner and the Christian, and from what I understand, basically works the same way.  Except with the Christian, I believe we must forgive abundantly as we have been forgiven.   In one Judaist literature, the question was asked, “When should one repent?”  The response, “the day before one dies.”  There arises another question.  “How do I know when I will die?”  The rabbi reveals, “You should repent every day.”

“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”  Ezekiel 18:32 NASB


2 thoughts on “Repentance (הבָוּשׁתְ, Teshubah)

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